EDITORIAL: Behold, the baton has arrived and Ballarat should be excited

BEHOLD – the baton has arrived. 

The Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton is introduced to spectators at the fourth Ashes Test between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday.
Picture: AAP

The Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton is introduced to spectators at the fourth Ashes Test between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday. Picture: AAP

In a modern day of Snapchatting, instant Facebook status and even a tweeting American president, this ancient form of relaying a monarch message still has an important place in our society. Ballarat society.

Resplendent in macadamia wood and reclaimed plastics design, the Queen’s Baton made its first public appearance at the Boxing Day Test where cricket fans could get up close and personal in selfies at the MCG.

Essentially for Queen Elizabeth, it is comforting to note her speech for April’s Commonwealth Games opening ceremony has arrived in the host nation after Her Majesty sent it on the way, from Buckingham Palace on March 13.

The baton buzz at the MCG reinforced why it still matters.

This message to the Gold Coast Games is the longest, most accessible baton relay in Commonwealth history. Even republicans could hardly deny the cultural and community diversity the baton celebrates, particularly when globally we need a reminder.

Ballarat gets its chance to celebrate on February 13. The baton will pass from Werribee in the morning and leave our hands for Ararat by that afternoon.

Our batonbearers have been put forward to proudly represent this community for their achievements and dedication to make this city a better place for all.

Steve Moneghetti and Olympic race walk gold medallist Jared Tallent are on the Ballarat leg. Moneghetti is the 1994 Commonwealth Games marathon gold medallist, village mayor for Melbourne 2006 and Australian chef de mission for the 2010 Games in Delhi. Tallent is stepping up his own Games preparations.

They share equal billing with the mentors who urge others of all abilities to achieve their best, including swim coach Morgan Murphy, Olympic basketballer Ray Borner and octogenarian runner Richard Tann.

There are also emerging athletes and those who create community awareness through sport.

And they share billing  with people like Bill Liston, nominated as someone who will go out of his way to help others – mowing lawns and washing windows on the quiet because he believes it will make a difference.

To know that we share this as a community with people across every nation and territory in the Commonwealth is definitely worth being proud about. And maybe worth a cheeky baton selfie, too.