There were three ducks in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. The most memorable is the toy duck, a three-dimensional version of Michael Leunig’s cartoon character, a Melbourne favourite.
The toy duck is 75cm high and 75cm from nose to tail, with a 40cm wheel base. It is made from polystyrene and fibreglass, on a timber frame.
Designed by artists from the Ceremonies Team’s prop workshop, the duck went through months of testing to ensure that it looked right and worked properly. The first version was just 10 cm tall.
During the Opening Ceremony, the Toy Duck had to waddle 100 metres in a straight line beside The Boy, while being pulled along by a steel cable.
Its waddling motion was created by mounting the axle of the wheels off-centre, so the duck always leans to one side or the other. To check the waddling action, prop-makers built a test mechanism, loaded it with sand bags and pulled it along.