Spirit of the Games
A Story about some of the cultural and creative work that helped shape the 2006 Commonwealth Games Ceremony.
My Skin, My Life
‘A lot of the time we talk about the past and about traditions, but this section was saying we are contemporary people: we are here, we are now, we are … powerful.’
‘It was so interesting as a director because you can’t do big capital P political statements. You have to do art, and you’ve got to have stories and images that will be important to people, not just Aboriginal people but all Australians.’ - Wesley Enoch, Director, My Skin, My Life.
This section contains interviews with Wesley Enoch, Vicki Couzens and others, involved in creating the performances and the banners, cloaks and puppets used as part of the 'My Skin, My Life' Indigenous section of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Opening ceremony.
Click Here to view a story about the role of possum skin cloaks in modern Aboriginal communities in Victoria.
CULTURAL WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users are warned that this material may contain images and voices of deceased persons, and images of places that could cause sorrow.
Staging the Ceremony
Preparations for the Ceremony involved a remarkable number of talented people.
The development of key symbols such as the tram, duck and the floating fish on the Yarra were led by experienced artistic directors and teams of creative experts. The Queen’s Baton alone involved 24 Victorian companies.
Each segment in the Ceremony involved producers, production managers, designers, choreographers, sound and light technicians, camera operators, riggers, casting consultants, painters, costumiers, computer programmers, sculptors and engineers.
Thousands of performers were also involved: puppeteers, acrobats, ballet dancers, motorbike riders and a mass cast of ordinary Melburnians, who rehearsed secretly for weeks in temperatures up to 38 degrees Celsius.
The waddling duck puppet coming down the bridge was one of the most striking images from the Opening Ceremony.
Despite its simple appearance, its development took over a year.
The Flying Tram
To keep the centrepiece of the Melbourne 2006 Opening Ceremony a secret, the two tonne Flying W-class tram with huge feathery wings was called the ‘Spring Roll’.
The Queen's Baton
Harnessing the very latest technology, the Melbourne 2006 Queen’s baton contains a global positioning system, cameras, microphones, and a transmitter that sends information to the web via satellite. 200 light emitting diodes are triggered by radio frequency identifiers in runners’ thumb rings, and a digital button contains the Queen’s message.
The River Show
The six-metre sculptures of marine creatures from the 71 Commonwealth nations, built from metal, foam, fabric and found materials on steel frames stretched over 800m along the Yarra River. They were made from a variety of materials - some even had eyes made from vegetable steamers and colanders!