2006 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
The Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games was held on 15 March 2006 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The ceremony was conceived and produced by Jack Morton Worldwide, which also produced the ceremonies for the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games.
The ceremony began with the temporary stage on the playing ground of the Melbourne Cricket Ground lighting up with previous host cities. The flags of Australia (current host), England (previous host) and India (next host) were raised. Surf boats which represented each of the past 18 host cities were on the Yarra River as were flags of the participating countries. A W-class Melbourne tram with wings attached was lowered into the stadium. A performance followed based on a poem by Michael Leunig, involving a boy with a duck which was an artificial one at first, and koalas, (people dressed in koala 'suits'). At the end of the display, the boy came into the Stadium with a real white duck. The opening ceremony had many themes, including Melbourne's Wurundjeri Indigenous heritage and Melbourne's fickle weather. The role of the boy was performed by 12-year old (almost 13) Sean Whitford, who had been selected from thousands of candidates. Australian rock band The Church played Under The Milky Way to accompany a performance by the Australian Ballet, with aerial work performed by students of the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA).
Contrary to tradition, the nations did not enter the stadium in alphabetical order, but by regions of the Commonwealth. European nations entered the stadium first, followed by those from Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Caribbean and finally, Oceania. English athletes and officials entered the stadium first (as the host of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester) while the host nation, Australia entered last. The athletes entered with The Cat Empire playing a specially written musical 'set', tailoring music to specific regions.
The final leg of the Queen's Baton Relay included the baton being handed to the 16 captains of the Australian Football League across the floating flags and fish along the Yarra River. After each of the captains had carried the baton, the last of the captains handed the baton to Ron Barassi, who walked on a semi submerged pontoon, giving the effect that he was walking on water (some commentators joked that the stunt "proved what most of us suspected"). Barassi then handed the baton to Herb Elliott.
Harry White, a 13 year old boy, who was youth ambassador, presented a message to Queen Elizabeth II. After a rather controversial furore before the start of the Games regarding the decision by the Organising Committee not to include God Save the Queen , ,  in the Opening Ceremony, a Happy Birthday medley was sung by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in tribute of the Queen's 80th birthday (37 days hence), ending with eight bars from God Save the Queen . Michael Fennel, the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation then spoke.
- Cathy Freeman (who lit the Olympic Flame at the 2000 Sydney Olympics), who brought the Queen's Baton into the stadium, and then handed the baton to
- Ron Clarke (who lit the Olympic Flame at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics), who then handed the baton to
- Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, then-Governor of South Australia, who then handed the baton to
- John Landy, then-Governor of Victoria, who presented the Queen's Baton to The Queen.
The Queen then read the message of greeting which she had placed in the baton (366 days earlier on Commonwealth Day, 14 March 2005), declaring the games open.
Australian singer Delta Goodrem sang Together We Are One, the theme song for the 2006 games while many fireworks were ignited, within the stadium, on the backs on roller-bladers circling the singer, and fireworks were also ignited on the banks of the Yarra, as well as the floating pontoons, and Melbourne's larger skyscrapers.
The ceremonies were conceived and produced by Executive Producer and Creative Director Andrew Walsh with Producers David Proctor (Opening Ceremony), Adam Charles (Closing Ceremony) and Keith Tucker (River).
Order of entry of teams
Then followed the European countries.
Then followed the African countries.
Botswana | Cameroon | The Gambia | Ghana | Kenya | Lesotho | Malaŵi | Mauritius | Mozambique | Namibia | Nigeria | Seychelles | Sierra Leone | South Africa | Swaziland | Uganda | United Republic of Tanzania | Zambia
Then followed the Asian countries.
Then followed the American countries.
Then followed the Caribbean countries.
Anguilla | Antigua and Barbuda | Bahamas | Barbados | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Dominica | Grenada | Jamaica | Montserrat | St Kitts & Nevis | Saint Lucia | St Vincent & the Grenadines | Trinidad & Tobago | Turks & Caicos
Then followed the Oceanian countries.
and finally, the hosts of the 2006 Commonwealth Games
The opening ceremony was broadcast in Australia on the Nine Network. It was one of the highest rating programs of 2006 with 3,561,000 viewers across the five metro areas.
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