Games Baton Kicks off Mutiny Celebrations
January 13, 2006
Games Baton Kicks off
Mutiny Celebrations for Norfolk
Tiny Norfolk Island becomes the first part of Australasia to welcome the Melbourne Commonwealth Games baton on Sunday, January 15.
With just 1800 residents, Norfolk Island is the smallest of the 71 ‘nations’ competing at the 2006 Games. The external territory of Australia hosts the high-tech baton for four days before the globe-trotting relay moves to Christchurch, New Zealand on January 18 and finally the Australian mainland on January 24.
The arrival of the Queen’s Baton on Norfolk Island, 1,060kms NNW of Auckland, launches a year of celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of settlement by descendants of the Bounty mutineers in 1856.
Islanders dressed in period costumes will row the baton ashore to the historic convict colony in longboats - just as the descendants of the Bounty mutineers did 150 years ago. It will then visit Norfolk’s cemetery, where Bounty descendants and convicts are buried, as well as the island’s school, churches and scenic points around the pine-clad island.
Other events planned for Norfolk’s 150th birthday celebrations in 2006 include:
- Tahitian beach and dance parties, lantern parades and a re-enactment of the mutineers’ burning of the Bounty on January 23
- Longboat races, traditional dinners and a parade on the anniversary of the 1789 mutiny on April 28
- The biggest-ever Bounty Day festivities on June 8 – the day 194 descendants of the mutineers arrived on Norfolk Island after abandoning their ancestors’ hideout on remote Pitcairn Island
- Cooking and dance competitions, island feasts and outrigger canoe races on October 26 to mark the day the Bounty first arrived in Tahiti where the crew were captivated by the islands’ tropical charm
Just 8km long and 6km wide, Norfolk will field a record 25 competitors at the Melbourne Games from March 15 to 26 – 12 lawn bowlers, six squash players and seven shooters.