Queen’s Baton Relay hits Cloncurry

The town of Cloncurry is still smiling and not just because of the bumper rain.

Cloncurry put its best foot forward and cheered on the local baton bearers who carried the baton through town carrying the Queen’s message to the Commonwealth Games next month.

It was Day 71 of the worldwide relay but it was a special day for Cloncurry and the North West.

RFDS senior medical officer Dr Don Bowley accompanied the baton on its early morning flight from Mount Isa and he was welcomed by Mayor Greg Campbell at the airport.

“What a morning, thanks for the rain we’ve had and it’s a great way to celebrate the baton in the North West,” Cr Campbell said.

“It was fitting it arrived in Cloncurry in a Flying Doctors plane in its 90th year with the first ever flight going from Cloncurry in a hangar here at the airport.”

Dr Bowley said the weather was a godsend and made this wet season one to remember with the Chinaman Creek dam 110 percent full.

“It’s great to be back in Cloncurry, it is the birthplace and spiritual heartland of the RFDS and where it all started,” he said. “It’s an honour to represent the organisation.”

Cr Campbell said it was an honour for the bearers carrying the baton around town.

The actual relay started with assembly at Cloncurry State School where one of the bearers Tristin Condon made an inspiration speech to students before Brandee Ferguson followed in her father Col’s footsteps starting the relay – Col took part in the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games relay aged 14, just as his daughter is now.

Brandee was followed by Julia Creek’s Amy Tinning who handed over to Joe Bakhash. Mr Bakhash detoured into St Joseph’s Catholic School and handed over to Harleigh O’Brien.

She handed over to Nerissa O’Brien who handed over to Bessie Smits who brought the baton into the community celebration at the Precinct.

Ray Campbell then took it on handing over to Tristin Condon, then to Darcie-Lee Ashton, Tanya Brown, Haylee Scanlan and Cloncurry’s final baton bearer Storm Crossland.