BATON RELAY: Warwick stops for Comm Games exercise
WARWICK came to a stand-still this morning as the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Queens Baton Relay run-through took over the town.
Roads were closed, police were on high alert and curious crowds turned out at vantage points along the practice route to catch a glimpse of what to expect when it happens for real in March next year.
Also along for the ride were games officials and baton relay organisers from all over the country, to pick some tips for their own leg of the huge relay effort.
The whole event took just over an hour as the baton wound its way from Warwick East State School to Warwick Central State School via Fitzroy, Palmerin, Victoria , Guy and Percy Sts.
In all 17 practice batonbearers took part in the excercise, including members of Southern Downs Regional Council and other relay organisers.
This morning's exercise simulated an actual Queen's Baton Relay day to induct and train crew members, and to work through systems and processes.
The Queen's Baton, which is currently in Papua New Guinea, arrives in Australia in just three weeks' time.
Like the QBR in 2018, the exercise involved a moving convoy, school stops and community celebration stops through the two southeast Queensland communities, following the exact route the Queen's Baton will take next year on March 29, day 94 of the QBR.
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) deputy CEO Brian Nourse said the QBR's exercise had validated the team's confidence in its operational preparedness.
"The outcomes of today's exercise in Warwick and Gatton have reaffirmed our operational assumptions and demonstrated that we are ready for the Queen's Baton Relay in Australia."
While batonbearers were selected specifically for the exercise and are not Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) QBR batonbearers, their excitement was nonetheless real.
"It was so exciting and an awesome opportunity to be part of the Exercise today, it gave us and the people of Warwick and Gatton a sneak preview and an idea of what to expect when the real Queen's Baton makes its way around Australia next year. It's going to be epic," Loren Conlon, Batonbearer said.
After 288 days engaging with all Commonwealth nations and territories, the Queen's Baton will touch down in Australia on Christmas Eve.
Approximately 3,800 local legends will carry the Queen's Baton around the country to the GC2018 Opening Ceremony on 4 April 2018.
The public can go online to gc2018.com/qbr and click on their community to see which streets the Queen's Baton will travel.
Batonbearers will be informed of their street-specific slotting location in mid-December.
The QBR journey around Australia counts down the 100 days until the start of GC2018.