The Queen’s Baton Relay is coming to Bellingen on Thursday 1 February 2018. This event, which is one of the most exciting events in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games (which are taking place on the Gold Coast in April 2018), will feature 11 baton bearers and a community celebration in Maam Gaduying Park from 12.30pm on the day.
Arriving in Australia on 25 December, the baton will travel 40,000 kilometres over the final 100 days of its 388-day journey, visiting all states and territories of the nation. 180 communities around Australia have been selected to host a leg of the baton relay, including Bellingen.
The Bellingen relay will commence from St Marys Primary School at 13.48 and make its way from here to Bellingen Public School on Lovell Street, via Park Street and Bowra Street where it will pass by Bellingen Burrows Long Day Care Centre. From Bellingen Public School, it will go along William Street, turning left into Oak Street where it will make its way down Hyde Street, arriving in Maam Gaduying Park at 14.11. The baton will stop in the park for 10 minutes where there will be a Welcome to Country from Dylan Kelly and speeches from the Mayor. The baton will leave the park at 14.21 to the didgeridoo played by local student Michael White and will head along the Waterfall Way to complete its Bellingen journey at Bellingen High School at 14.32.
All roads where the baton will be carried will be closed to traffic for the duration of the relay event.
All members of the community are invited to come and support the baton bearers carry the baton around the route and come to the celebration event in the park, which will be MC’d by local identity Ted Greenwood and will include entertainment from Bellingen High School and Bellingen Primary School musicians, Rivers Dance Centre and Kaya Boom drummers and dancers. The Bellingen Museum, the Red Cross room and Bellingen Library will be decorated for the occasion and will feature sporting themed displays. A corridor of sporting teams from the area will be invited to welcome the baton into the park for the official celebration. In addition several shops are decorating their windows with a sporting display in the lead up the relay including Roots Records, Bellingen Hardware, Windsong Travel, Bellingen Kitchen Shop, Bellingen Newsagents, Sweet Bellingen, CHESS Bellingen, Bananacoast Community Credit Union and Megs Op Shop and Boutique.
11 baton bearers will carry the baton including 8 from the Bellingen Shire: Dylan Kelly, Katie Thorn, Patsy Green, Peter Tarran, Sheila Guymer, Stephen Glyde, Gavin Hickey and Tianaha Willson-Baker. Each of our Shire representatives will cover a section of about 200 metres. All are active community members and participate in arts, cultural, sporting, business and emergency services groups and organisations.
Dylan Kelly is a proud Gumbaynggirr, Dunghutti, and Yuin man from Yellow Rock.
He is currently studying a Bachelor of Indigenous Studies at Southern Cross University which he will complete in 2018, and intends to continue through to post – graduate studies. Additionally, he has participated in the AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring) Program for 3 years as a mentor for Indigenous high school students, which he finds very rewarding. His interests include Indigenous Affairs, Indigenous Languages and Genealogy. He feels honoured to represent his Gumbaynggirr heritage by participating in the Commonwealth Games baton relay.
Katie Thorn is 17 year and is from Urunga. She recently completed her HSC at Bellingen High School and has received various university offers to begin tertiary education.
She has been involved in athletics her entire life, with her highest achievement being multiple top 8 finishes at national level. She has received 15 state medals in various disciplines including multi events, sprints, hurdles and jumps. In the last 15 months, she has been the undefeated state champion in her age group for multi events. She has started her coaching career with a level 1 athletics coach accreditation and have helped coach in my local community.
She has achieved national level in futsal qualifying for the final in 3 separate years and has achieved all star status at that level. She has achieved state level representation in football, cross country, swimming and surf life-saving. She has been sportswoman of my school for the past 7 years. She was vice captain of Bellingen High for 2017 as well as house captain for both 2017 and 2016. I play the flute and studied 3 unit music during my HSC as well as performing at eisteddfods and teaching younger students. She is honoured to have the opportunity to carry the queens baton for the Commonwealth games in her local community and looks forward to watching the games live.
Patsy Green was nominated by her daughter, Tianaha Willson-Baker for being a great Mum and a committed community member of Dorrigo.
Born and bred in Dorrigo, Patsy works full time, is a Mum, a grandma and still has time to be on several community committees. She is currently in her third term as President of Dorrigo Chamber of Commerce, is a member of Dorrigo Plateau Community Inc., secretary of Dorrigo Youth Clinic and Youth Room Committees, sits on Bellingen Shire Council S355 Community Hall Committee, is a member of the Bellingen Shire Community Drug Action team and is a part of the very successful Made in Dorrigo Street Market sub-committee, which won the Community Event of the Year award in the Bellingen Shire Australia Day awards.”
Peter Tarran has been an active member of the Dorrigo SES for over 30 years.
Peter is the Senior Rescue Officer and has a calming influence on the other volunteers. He has the type of personality that on jobs when people are at their most vulnerable he is able to put them at ease in that quiet way that lets you know it s going to be ok. He gives his time to the Dorrigo community not only in his role with the SES but also to his family and grandchildren and many other endeavours. Peter inspires those around him to excel. His list of awards include; field_state Emergency Service Long Service Medal of 30 years (he will receive his medal for 35 years later in the year), National Service Medal of 25 years, Royal Humane Society Award for Bravery and Bravery Medal.
Sheila Guymer is a third generation Dorrigo local who was nominated to be a baton bear by her Mum, Sheila Learmonth.
Sheila has been back in Dorrigo for 2 years after spending 25 years away pursuing other endeavours, including performing as a concert pianist internationally. Since returning she has become very active in community life, in particular the arts and music scene on the plateau. She participates in the Arts Council of Dorrigo, is a member of the Dorrigo Community Hall Management Committee and is Secretary of the Dorrigo Chamber of Commerce. She is also the Chamber representative on Destination Coffs Coast. She is most well-known for founding the Dorrigo Plateau Music School which now features a core group of 6 music teachers who deliver musical education in local primary schools as well as offering music lessons from the Dorrigo Waterfall Way Gallery.
Stephen Glyde has been a sportsman all his life as a player, referee and now administrator.
Stephen returned home to Bellingen in the late 1980’s and took up community roles across a number of sports: little athletics, senior athletics, junior rugby league, senior rugby league and bowls. He is a Life Member of Bellingen Rugby League Football Club and has been President for approximately 20 years. Over this time he has kept the club going and has developed a tremendous club culture for male and female members especially those of indigenous heritage. Stephen is also a founding member of Bellingen Connell Park Management Committee.
Gavin Hickey is a well know Urunga identity and was nominated to be a baton bearer by Dianne Knobloch, who is a fellow member of the Urunga Recreation Reserve Management Committee. Gavin has been a member of this committee for the last 10 years and represents the Urunga Cricket Club.
In addition to his sporting commitments, Gavin works tirelessly for the Urunga community in other ways and has helped over many years with the organisation of Toast Urunga and the Fathers’ Day picnic events at the Urunga Recreation Reserve and the Urunga Carols by Candlelight. He is a successful businessman, runs the Hickeys Tyres and Breakdown service in Urunga and is always willing to lend a hand.
Tianaha Willson-Baker was nominated by her Mum Patsy Green, who is also a baton bearer. She has always contributed to the local community in a positive manner.
Tianaha was born and grew up in Dorrigo and was nominated for her range of community activities. She became a Youth Room Supervisor at 17 and has represented youth on Community committees from that time. She has a young family and is active on both Preschool and Primary School committees. She has been President of the Preschool Management Committee several times and Secretary of the P&F of Mt St John’s Primary school. She is co-owner of a local retail business and is a member of the Dorrigo Chamber of Commerce Inc.