OUR SAY: Baton relay shows there’s room for tradition

Tennis legend Rod Laver with the Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton. Photo: AAP
Tennis legend Rod Laver with the Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton. Photo: AAP

In a modern day of Snapchatting, instant Facebook status and even a tweeting American president, it is remarkable to see an ancient form of relaying a monarch message still has an important place in our society.

The Queen’s Baton Relay is currently winding its way through the region as it makes a long journey from Buckingham Palace to the Gold Coast for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Inside its design of macadamia wood and reclaimed plastics lies a message from Queen Elizabeth that will be read out at the opening ceremony of the games on April 4.

The Queen placed the letter in the sealed baton on March 13, 2017 and since then it has embarked on the longest and most ambitious trip in the history of the event. 

It has visited every nation and territory of the Commonwealth on a 388-day, 230,000-kilometre tour.

The baton made its first public appearance in Australia at the Boxing Day Test, allowing cricket fans to get up close and personal at the MCG.

It generated a buzz there and that has continued as it has made its way towards the Central West.

On Monday it arrived in our backyard, winding its way up from West Wyalong to Parkes, then Forbes and Orange.

It will depart on Tuesday to Wellington and then Dubbo, before making its way to the New England region on Wednesday, via Coonabarabran.

There is plenty of excitement for the hundreds of people chosen to be batonbearers.

Some have been picked for their sporting achievements and others for their dedication to their community. It is clear that being chosen to represent their community on the journey means a lot to them.

Unlike the Olympic Torch Relay, which uses a new torch for every runner, the same baton is used for the entire journey, passed between bearers.

The same baton that is now travelling through our region, being held by our friends, family and colleagues previously made its way through more than 50 countries including Kenya, Barbados, Canada, India and the Cook Islands before landing on our shores.

It’s nice to know that in an age when a message can be sent around the globe in the blink of an eye, there is still excitement and meaning around a traditional journey.

It might even be worth a sneaky selfie for Facebook.

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