The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games were held 15-26 March 2006.
The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Collection is the tangible outcome of over two years' collaboration between Museum Victoria and the organisers of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. These objects were collected for the exhibition Spirit of the Games, held at the Melbourne Museum between March and July 2006. Ranging from iconic objects such as the Flying Tram and the Queen's Baton, through to sketches for costumes and props, and including hours of video shot during the of the ceremony's development and final rehearsal, this collection gives a window into the mammoth task of staging the Games's Opening Ceremony.
The Museum's vision was to have an exhibition about the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games open while the Games were still on. The Ceremony finished at 10:46 on Wednesday 15 March and Spirit of the Games opened at 12 pm on Saturday 18, giving staff less than three days to get the costumes and props from the MCG to the Museum and on display.
To accomplish this feat Museum staff began working with the Ceremonies team from the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation in 2004. Over nearly two years Museum Victoria recorded videos, collected samples and models, and chose costumes to display in the exhibition - revealing how the development of the show took place and some of the costumes and props used to stage it.
On the night of 15 March, a team of eight museum staff were at the MCG, gathering props. The stars' costumes, including the winged suit worn by Stella the Fantasy duck woman, the Boy's jeans and t-shirt, and Delta Goodrem's dress, were collected on the night from the performers' dressing rooms. A depot for gathering props and costumes was created in one of the car parks underneath the MCG. Museum staff roamed the ring-road in the bowels of the stadium, grabbing objects as they became available, tagging them and writing receipts.
Trucks took props, including the flying machines used by the Rescue Koalas and the giant eel and fish puppets, to the Museum. The centrepiece of the Ceremony, the Flying Tram, was taken straight off the field and driven up to the Museum, where staff worked until 6am to position it in the Foyer. Ironically enroute to Melbourne Museum the dolly carrying the tram became stuck in tram tracks, providing photo opportunities for Police Officers and passers-by. Work began in the exhibition space at 8am on the next morning. It didn't stop until 11am on 18 March, an hour before the exhibition opened.
Spirit of the Games exhibition opened on 18 March and closed on 23 July 2006.