After travelling for 288 days and engaging with all Commonwealth nations and territories, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton has arrived back on Australian soil in Brisbane on Christmas Eve.
GC2018 Ambassador and Longines Friend Cam McEvoy accepted the Queen’s Baton airside from Hugh Graham, Vice President Commonwealth Games Federation for Oceania, following its arrival from New Zealand.
Hundreds of travellers were there to witness the historic arrival as two-time Olympic swimmer McEvoy carried the Queen’s Baton into the arrivals hall on Brisbane International Airport’s busiest morning of the year.
GC2018 mascot Borobi added to the Christmas Eve festivities by celebrating with the crowd. Christmas Day marks a Games milestone, only 100 days until the start of GC2018.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games Kate Jones MP, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) Chairman Peter Beattie AC, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games CEO Mark Peters and Commonwealth Games Australia CEO Craig Phillips were in attendance to welcome the Queen’s Baton back to Australia.
At the last stop on the international journey, the Queen’s Baton was officially handed over to representatives of the Yugambeh Language Group, the traditional custodians of the land on which the majority of the Games will be held, at a special ceremony at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Since starting its journey on Commonwealth Day, 13 March 2017, at Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s Baton has shared the dream of GC2018 with over one third of the world’s population, travelling more than 230,000 kilometres.
The first stop for the Queen’s Baton Relay in Australia is the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Boxing Day. During the summer holidays, the Queen’s Baton will engage with thousands of Australians at popular events, iconic locations and children’s hospitals around the country.
On 25 January 2018, the Queen’s Baton Relay will shift gears to a traditional relay starting in Canberra. It will travel over 40,000 kilometres through every Australian state and territory.
Approximately 3,800 batonbearers will carry the Queen’s Baton in Australia.
GOLDOC Chairman Peter Beattie AC said: ‘Today is a major milestone for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018).
‘After its epic international journey, the Queen’s Baton will now embark on a 100-day voyage around Australia, travelling through every state and territory.
‘As the ultimate symbol of the Commonwealth Games, the Queen’s Baton gives everyday Australians the chance to share the dream of GC2018 in the lead-up to April.’
Added GC2018 Ambassador McEvoy: ‘With the arrival of the Queen’s Baton in Australia, the countdown to GC2018 is on. As a proud Gold Coast athlete, I’m looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in a global sporting event in my own backyard.’