The River Show
The River Show
Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games
Written by Adrian Reagan,
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In a first for the Commonwealth Games, the Melbourne 2006 Opening Ceremony occurred both inside and outside the stadium.
The Yarra River, a significant part of Melbourne life and fondly known as the ‘upside down river’, provided an ideal path for the final stage of the Queen’s Baton Relay.
The River Show took 14 months to develop. Planning was complex, requiring precise timing and skill to coordinate elements which included pontoons lit up with the flags of the 71 nations of the Commonwealth, barges bearing six-metre sculptures of marine creatures from Commonwealth nations, enhanced by water sprays and spectacular fireworks, and 18 surf lifesaving boats bearing the emblems of the previous 18 Commonwealth Games. The pontoons stretched over 800 metres from the Princes Bridge to the Swan Street Bridge.
During the Ceremony the pontoons had to align perfectly to form a bridge for the last stage of the Queen’s Baton Relay, symbolising the connection between the nations of the Commonwealth.
Construction of the pontoons began in August 2005. Scale models of several of the creatures were made, but most were made from detailed drawings by Mothers Art, a Melbourne-based design and production company. They were built from metal, foam, fabric and found materials on steel frames.
The whole flotilla was ready one month before the Opening Ceremony.