The text below was originally written as three labels for the Museum Victoria exhibition Spirit of the Games, about the Opening Ceremony of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The Queen's Baton Relay
The Queen's Baton Relay has been the traditional curtain-raiser to the Commonwealth Games since 1958. It symbolises the gathering of people from across the Commonwealth. On 14 March 2005 Her Majesty placed a message in the baton at Buckingham Palace, signalling the start of a journey of almost 180,000 kilometres. The baton's journey to the opening ceremony took exactly one year and one day, arriving at the Melbourne Cricket Ground during the opening ceremony of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games on 15 March 2006. It was the first baton relay to visit all 71 nations of the Commonwealth. Athletes and non-athletes alike shared the privilege of carrying the baton.
The Melbourne 2006 Queen's Baton
The baton had to weigh less than two kilos, so that runners could easily carry it, but the designers wanted to make it big - nearly a metre long. Using a titanium body kept its weight down, and made it possible to pack in the technology that made this baton so special. Through RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and internet technology the baton responds to each runner and sends out its journey to the world.
The baton harnesses the very latest technology. It contains a global positioning system, two tiny cameras and two microphones, and a transmitter that sends information to the web via satellite. 200 light emitting diodes provide visual effects, triggered by radio frequency identifiers in runners' thumb rings and in the baton stand. Her Majesty's message is stored in a digital button. The baton weighs 1.5 kg and is made from magnesium and resin, with a polycarbonate lens. Its curved form was inspired by the shape of an athlete. The baton was designed and manufactured by a Melbourne-based company, Charlwood Design, together with over 23 other Australian companies.
Other Associated Narratives
Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Collection
The Story & Symbolism of the Opening Ceremony, Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games
Boy on the Bay - Opening Ceremony, Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games
My Skin, My Life - Opening Ceremony, Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games
The River Show - Opening Ceremony, Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games