The Queen's Baton for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games skydived into Wollongong today, to the cheers of more than 1,000 local school children gathered at Stuart Park.
Students from local Catholic schools including St Brigid's, Gwynneville, St Columbkille's, Corrimal and Good Samaritan, Fairy Meadow were in prime position to spot the skydivers descending and landing to safely deliver the Queen’s Baton and continue its journey on land.
The students were excited to see the Queen’s Baton up close and participate in the community celebrations welcoming it to Wollongong.
Spokesperson for the Commonwealth Games, Joel Murray, told the children that this Queen's Baton has undertaken its longest journey ever in the lead up to a Commonwealth Games, visiting all 70 other Commonwealth nations and territories on its way to Australia and the Gold Coast.
A total of 3,800 baton bearers are helping carry the Queen's Baton all around Australia until it eventually arrives on the Gold Coast, where the Queen’s message will be taken from it and read by Prince Charles.
Joel also pointed out some of the distinctive features of the 2018 Baton, including it being made out of macadamia wood, stainless steel and reclaimed plastics - a symbolic nod to the past, present and future.
The Baton Relay then departed Stuart Park and headed for Flagstaff Hill, then on to Crown Street Mall where students from St Francis, Warrawong and St Patrick's, Port Kembla joined other Wollongong students, local pre-schoolers and members of the general public.
Students were thrilled to part of this significant community event and appreciative of the memorable experience.
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) will be held from 4 to 15 April 2018 - the largest sporting event in Australia this decade. This will be the fifth time Australia has staged the Games and the first time it will be held in a regional Australian city.