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Queen's Baton Relay
Tourism Australia
 

3500 runners and more than 500 Australian communities to participate in Queen’s Baton Relay

Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games media release logo

Friday 29 April 2005

The Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton will visit more than 500 Australian communities and be carried by 3500 relay runners in the final 50 days of its epic journey from Buckingham Palace to the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Launching the route for the Australian sector of the relay in Melbourne today, the Hon. Peter Costello, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia, said the Queen’s Baton Relay would bring millions of Australians closer to the excitement of the Games.

The Queen’s Baton arrives at its 71st and final destination, Australia, on 24 January 2006. The baton will then travel more than 21 500 kilometres across Australia, by relay runner and on 45 different modes of transport – approximately 9700 kilometres by road, 9300 by air, 1000 by sea and 1500 by rail.

Telstra, Official Partner of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, will present the Community Runner Program that gives 1925 ‘local heroes’ the chance to carry the baton in their communities.

“Each and every Australian has the opportunity to participate in the relay – be it through nominating someone they know to be a community runner; lining the roadside to cheer as the relay passes through their region; joining in daily community celebrations or having the honour of running with the baton themselves,” said Treasurer Costello.

“With the eyes of the world looking on via the internet and international news media, all Australian communities en route have a chance to showcase their region’s unique cultural and geographic attributes to the world.”

The baton will begin its journey across the nation with a two day relay around Sydney, coinciding with the city’s spectacular Australia Day celebrations. It will then visit every state and territory and every capital city as it concludes its historic one-year-and-one-day journey across the Commonwealth.

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks joined the Treasurer at the announcement in Melbourne.

“The 50 day countdown to the games will be an exciting time for all Australians. As spectators and athletes begin to gather in Victoria, the Queen’s Baton will be travelling across the nation enabling people far and wide to get involved,” Mr Bracks said.
“We are delighted that the Baton will visit much of Victoria before making its way to the redeveloped MCG for the opening ceremony. Schools and community organisations are encouraged to join in the relay celebrations and share this special once-in-a-lifetime moment.”

Along with relays through towns and cities, community festivities will also include daily ‘lunch stop’ visits to local schools and sporting facilities and evening ceremonies to officially welcome the baton’s arrival.

At today’s media conference, Mr David Moffatt, Telstra’s Group Managing Director, Consumer and Marketing, said Telstra was calling on Australians to join in the relay celebrations and “put up their hands for the once in a lifetime opportunity to help carry the Queen’s Baton to the games”.

“Australia has many unsung heroes and these are the people we are looking for to carry the baton across the nation,” Mr Moffatt said. “We encourage all those who know someone who is eligible, including themselves, to nominate for community runner places.

”Telstra is proud to be involved in this important community event. It gives us the opportunity to recognise and reward the achievements and contribution made by those who do so much to help others, by running with the baton in front of their family, friends and local community,” said Mr Moffatt.

Australians and permanent residents over 12 years of age (as at 25 January 2006) are eligible to nominate themselves or others for community runner places. Selection is based on merit, with judges seeking those who have contributed to their community, achieved against the odds or performed acts of considerable generosity or kindness. Nomination forms are available via www.queensbatonrelay.telstra.com, Telstra Shops and Telstra Country Wide Offices across the nation, or by calling the Melbourne 2006 hotline on 1300 00 2006.

Community runners comprise 55 per cent of the 3500 Queen’s Baton Relay runner places in Australia. Other runner places will be allocated to Commonwealth Games athletes, games partners and high profile Australians.

The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay commenced from Buckingham Palace on 14 March 2005, when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth handed the baton to Australian icons Elle Macpherson and Catherine Freeman, the first of many thousands of relay runners to carry the baton across the globe.

When the Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton arrives at the opening ceremony of the XVIII Commonwealth Games on 15 March 2006, it will have travelled more than 180,000 kilometres, across every continent and over every ocean and, for the first time, visited every Commonwealth nation. The baton is currently in Nigeria, its 14th of its 71 Commonwealth destinations.

Today’s event concluded with ‘I am Strong’, the official anthem of the Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton Relay, performed by four-piece Melbourne group, NORTH. A moving tribute to success in the face of adversity, the original power ballad has been recorded especially for the relay.

The Australian leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay is funded by the Australian Government and is a joint initiative of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation, and the relay’s Presenting Partner, Telstra; tourism partner, Tourism Australia; and sponsors, Qantas and National Australia Bank.

Visit www.melbourne2006.com.au for comprehensive information about the relay, the baton and the runner nomination process, and to follow the baton on its epic journey across the globe.

Media enquiries:

Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton Relay
relaymedia@melbourne2006.com.au
Kate Brody
03 9613 2351
0437 247 376

Andria Hutchins
03 9613 2370 0439 042 274

Australian Government
Amanda Kennedy
03 9650 0244

Victorian Government
Brent Hooley
03 9651 5799
0407 138 680

Telstra
Patrick O’Beirne
03 9634 2864
0407 041 836

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