The Australian city of Melbourne, successfully hosted the XVIII Commonwealth Games between the 15 and 26 March 2006.
Melbourne is the capital of the State of Victoria and the second largest city in Australia with a population of nearly 3,500,000 people and was the venue for the 1956 Olympic Games. The city is synonymous as a multicultural one, known for its arts, culture, parks and gardens, restaurants and love of sport.
Whilst Bendigo, the venue for the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games, and Lilydale hosted two of the shooting disciplines the majority of the sports venues were located along the Yarra River and within the city precinct. The Opening and Closing ceremonies as well as the athletics competition took place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), one of the world's largest and most outstanding outdoor sporting grounds. The Athletes Village was located within three kilometres of the city centre.
For the first time in the history of the Games the Queen's Baton visited every single Commonwealth nation and territory taking part in the Games, a journey of 180,000 kms (112,500 miles). The relay ended when the Governor of Victoria, and former Commonwealth Games medallist, John Landy delivered the baton to Her Majesty the Queen at the Melbourne Cricket Ground during the opening ceremony.
The sports on the programme were Aquatics (diving, swimming & synchronised swimming), Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bowls, Boxing, Cycling, Gymnastics, Hockey, Netball, Rugby 7s, Shooting, Squash, Table Tennis, Triathlon and Weightlifting. There were approximately 5,766 athletes and team officials in attendance in Melbourne with the home nation having the largest team with 535 athletes and officials and the volcanic island of Montserrat the smallest with 4 members.
For further information on the Melbourne 2006 Games and to view images from the Queen's Baton Relay follow the link to the official Games website Melbourne 2006.