Australian athletes once dominated the Commonwealth Games. Their success at the event, formed a crucial part of our national identity. But is that changing?
Ashleigh Dwan reports.
Australia has been part of the Commonwealth Games since they began in 1930.
For Queenslanders, Matilda, the kangaroo mascot for the 1982 Brisbane games, is arguably its most recognised symbol.
While this memorabilia can be found in households across the state.
The games were a coming of age for Brisbane as the city’s perception changed from a country town to one taken seriously on the global stage.
Barry Gyte, GOLDOC: “I mean there was a big investment in infrastructure for the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane which really assisted. There was new venues created, a lot of transport infrastructure investment. So, all of that came together to really produce a steep change, I think, for Brisbane.”
He believes hosting the games on the Gold Coast will have a similar effect.
Barry Gyte, GOLDOC: “Again, the venues that have been built here are stunning, they’re outstanding world class venues, the villages are just a masterpiece in my view and again we’re had a huge injection in transport infrastructure investments and other infrastructure investments which really is providing that steep change in the upgrading of Gold Coast.”
The State Government agrees the city will evolve, like Brisbane did in 1982.
Kate Jones, Minister for the Commonwealth Games: “If you talk to Gold Coast residents that are probably the most engaged and excited about the Commonwealth Games, they definitely see it as a way of turning their city into a new world class city.”
As Gold Coast residents look forward to the transformation of their city, Brisbane has taken advantage of its hosting 35 years ago.
The Brisbane skyline has changed dramatically since the Commonwealth Games in 1982, as have the Australian attitudes towards the Commonwealth.
The Australian Republic Movement has gathered momentum since then.
Matthew Martyn Jones, Australian Republic Movement: “I think you’ll find that most Australian people still have a degree of affection for the Queen herself, but when it comes to having a foreign monarch being the Head of State of Australia I think most Australians have moved well beyond that.”
While the Queensland Government is excited about April’s royal visit.
Kate Jones, Minister for the Commonwealth Games: “We’ve already had word that Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will be coming to the Commonwealth Games and we’re holding out for Harry.”
Queenslanders hope the upcoming games will be a success and cement the credibility of the state.
Ashleigh Dwan, QUT News.