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Friday, December 02, 2005

Baton takes the spirit of the Games to Antarctica [

The Mercury: Baton takes the spirit of the Games to Antarctica [03dec05]

THE Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton arrived in Hobart yesterday before beginning its journey to Antarctica.

The baton, which is on a 180,000km round-world, year-long relay in the lead-up to the 2006 Melbourne Games in March, arrived in Hobart by helicopter at 1.30pm yesterday before sailing for Antarctica aboard the Aurora Australis at 5pm.

Governor-General Michael Jeffery came to Tasmania for the event, presenting the hi-tech baton to the Australian Antarctic Division before it began its two-week trip to Casey Station.

Major-General Jeffery said it was fitting the baton went to the icy continent for the first time because in 1930, when the first Games were in progress in Canada, Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson was in the prime of his career and on his way back to Australia after one of his many Antarctic visits.

Australian Antarctic Division director Tony Press said it was a "very exciting time", not only to carry the baton on board but to draw attention to the ice drilling, human-impact studies and airlink preparations that were under way in Antarctic.

He said he was particularly impressed with the unique technology of the baton -- which transmits images of its location direct to the Commonwealth Games website -- and was pleased to help it "go where no baton has been before".


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