The Commonwealth Games baton arrived in December and will be in Sydney this weekend.Rugby union player Shannon Parry has kicked off the Sydney leg of the Queen’s Baton relay as it continues its journey to the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
The baton, a loop-shaped stick, made its way through Newcastle and Gosford before making an appearance at Government House in Sydney on Saturday afternoon.
Retired swimming champion Leisel Jones and cricketer Glenn McGrath are among the high-profile bearers to take part in the relay.
It’s the first time Jones has been involved in the ceremonial side of the event, having previously participated as an athlete.
“It’s amazing,” she told reporters at the Sydney Opera House.
“It’s always nice to be a part of something when you’re retired and maybe a little bit forgotten about, it’s really exciting.”
Both she and McGrath had been given the best part of the relay, underneath the iconic sails, she joked.
“How lucky are we? We got the Sydney Opera House. So stoked.”
McGrath said it was “an honour” to carry the baton.
“The Commonwealth Games was something I nearly was involved in back in ’98 but I got injured … (and) the team went off and left me at home,” he said.
“I got the call up and I didn’t have to think about it for very long – it’s great, a nice honour.”
Thirty baton bearers will take part in the relay in Sydney’s CBD, including a trip to King’s Wharf before it travels by boat to the n Maritime Museum.
Swimmer Ian Thorpe will carry the baton to its final destination in Pyrmont, where it’ll end the day with free public entertainment headlined by n Eurovision singer Dami Im at Pirrama Park.
The relay continues on Sunday morning in Penrith before travelling to Jamieson Park in Sydney’s north, Sydney Olympic Park and ending in La Perouse.
After leaving Buckingham Palace in May last year, the baton has spent 288 days travelling through the other 69 Commonwealth countries and territories.
It arrived in from New Zealand on Christmas Eve and has been on show at iconic landmarks before the relay resumed in Canberra on January 25.
Prince Charles will remove the Queen’s message from the baton and read it at the opening ceremony on April 4, to mark the beginning of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.