Cairns & Barrier Reef Welcomes Queen's Baton

Skyrail News: November 2013

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef's two National Landscapes have been included as the backdrop for the Queen's Baton Relay around Australia.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Rob Giason said the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest was showcased alongside Indigenous culture as the Baton passed through Cairns on Monday, November 4.

"The Baton was taken by Great Adventures to Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef, given a traditional Welcome to Country by Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and travelled on Skyrail Rainforest Cableway through the World Heritage rainforest," he said.

"TTNQ has been working with the Australian Commonwealth Games Association to maximise opportunities for exposure for our region which will be seen by people throughout the Commonwealth as part of the coverage in the lead-up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to highlight Cairns & Great Barrier Reef's dual World Heritage areas and Indigenous culture which are such strong draw cards for our international visitors.

"Our operators were very excited about their role in the Queen's Baton Relay and for some it brought back memories of the Sydney Olympics when they hosted the Olympic Torch on its relay around Australia."

Quicksilver Group Managing Director Tony Baker said Great Adventures diver Craig Hardes took the Queen's Baton to a coral garden at Green Island, an idyllic tropical sand cay on the Great Barrier Reef.

A helicopter transported the Baton to Skyrail Rainforest Cableway where it was be met by Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park performer and Djabugay elder Martha "Cookie" Brim, who had the honour of carrying the Olympic Torch in 2000.

Tjapukai Chief Executive Officer Geoff Olson said Cookie was one of the five Tjapukai performers who had been part of the Gold Coast's final presentation at St Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean as part of the successful bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Skyrail Human Resources Manager Narelle Merritt, who has been with the company since its inception, took the Baton through the rainforest canopy in an open gondola, stopping halfway at Red Peak Station.

Skyrail General Manager Stan Kielbaska said Indigenous ranger Jeremy Richards returned with the Baton to Skyrail's Smithfield station so it could proceed to the airport to be taken to Papua New Guinea.


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