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Magic in Melbourne

Deadly Vibe Issue 110 April 2006 The Commonwealth Games were a huge success, from beginning to end. What kicked it all of was the biggest party the city of Melbourne had ever seen ” the breathtaking opening ceremony. The spectacular opening ceremony of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games had audiences divided and some international viewers scratching their heads in confusion, but overall it was agreed to be a resounding success. Playing a major role in the ceremony were Aboriginal Australians, with the Aboriginal component of the ceremony in particular paying tribute to the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation ” the traditional owners of the Games site. The section began with the Dreaming creator Bunjil appearing as a shadow that darkened the stadium. The beautiful and talented Ursula Yovich then appeared as a Wurundjeri woman in a bark canoe, which soared above the ground as she rowed herself to the centre of the MCG. Her haunting rendition of the welcome song Woi Warrung, which carried the message “bring peace and love to this ancient land”, was both uplifting and heart-rending as it reminded all who heard it of the beauty of Aboriginal culture and their tragic history since white settlement. As the song was performed, the stories and history of the people were celebrated. At this point, Aboriginal elders representing Victorian tribes formed a circle in the middle of the stadium, wearing possum-skin cloaks, which they then turned over to reveal their stories in pictures. The Australian team were greeted with a huge roar when they entered the stadium, with our Aboriginal athletes ” Joshua Ross, Kyle Vander-Kuyp, Patrick Johnson, Ben Austin, Brendan Williams, Brad Hore and Benn Harradine ” proudly marching alongside their teammates. It was then time for the Queen’s baton to enter the stadium. The baton had passed through the hands of thousands of people on its journey across the Commonwealth, and it made its way to the stadium down Melbourne’s Yarra River, passing through the hands of each of the AFL’s team captains. As the baton entered the stadium, curiosity was rife as to who would be carrying it. A roar went up from the crowd as Cathy Freeman emerged, dressed all in white and holding the baton aloft. She was the first of four Olympic greats to deliver the baton to the Queen. Cathy passed it to Australia’s most illustrious long-distance runner Ron Clarke, who delivered it to the waiting hands of former athlete and Governor of South Australia Marjorie Jackson. She then passed it on to former Olympian and Victorian Governor John Landy, who took the baton on its last few steps of its journey of a year and a day. (story 1/4/2006 end)

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