Tenders closed in late November with the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation assessing applications over several months.
The Queen’s baton has become an important feature of the Commonwealth Games and is as much a part of the Games tradition as the torch is for the Olympics.
Introduced at the 1958 Cardiff Games in Wales, the tradition includes a message from Her Majesty, The Queen that is contained inside the specially designed baton.
For each Commonwealth Games, the host country designs a baton which carries a message from the Queen across the Commonwealth, to be read aloud at the Opening Ceremony, greeting athletes and visitors and officially announcing the start of the competitions.
Traditionally, the baton begins its journey on Commonwealth Day, leaving England from Buckingham Palace and travelling around the Commonwealth before returning to the host nation.
For the 1994 games, held in Victoria, British Columbia, the baton was fashioned from sterling silver and was engraved with traditional symbols of the creative artists’ families and cultures.
In 1998, the Games were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the baton design was inspired by a traditional Malay artefact, the ‘Gobek’, which is a unique cylindrical areca nut-pounder widely used and displayed in Malay homes.
The baton for Manchester 2002 had special significance as it marked the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty, The Queen and was designed to symbolise the uniqueness of the individual and the common rhythm of humanity.
The 2002 baton was designed by the global design firm IDEO and was constructed from machined aluminium with the handle plated for conductivity. The Queen’s message was held in an aluminium capsule inserted into the top of the baton.
Sensors inside the baton monitored the runner’s pulse rate. This information was conveyed to a series of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), via a light behaviour module.
The lens then transformed the LEDs into a shaft of bright blue pulsating light, which synchronised with the pulse rate of each new runner. The heart of the runner and the baton beat as one until it was passed on, symbolising the journey of humanity and the essence of life.