Torch lights up road to history in South Burnett
TUESDAY, 20 JUNE 200 – By Jim Blackwell
History, a combination of people, places and events, was made in the South Burnett over the weekend with the arrival on Saturday of the Olympic torch.
The South Burnett community came out in force to be part of that history, with an estimated 20,000 people lining the torch route, including thousands attending the lighting of the cauldrons at Cherbourg and Kingaroy.
The historic torch journey in the South Burnett covered from Kilkivan to Kingaroy, on the tenth day of its epic 100-day journey around Australia, in the run-up to the Sydney Olympics at Sydney in September.
Crowds lined the roads from Kilkivan, Goomeri, Cherbourg, Murgon, Wondai, Tingoora, Wooroolin and Memerambi and Kingaroy before the full force of Kingaroy welcome was met by spectators who filled Lyle Vidler Oval.
Along the way, pockets of people sat with drinks, deck chairs, flags, balloons, imitation torches and anything they could wave to lend their support.
The flame entered the South Burnett at Kilkivan and stopped at Cherbourg for lunchtime community celebrations where an enthusiastic crowd of more than 2000 welcomed the torch.
Popular Cherbourg teacher and torchbearer Edna Malone had the honour of igniting the cauldron flame before handing her torch to Aboriginal elder Jeffrey Dynevor.
Enthusiastic crowds met the torch after leaving Cherbourg when the torch convoy stopped at Wondai, where it travelled around the main central business district, before heading off to Tingoora.
From Tingoora, its next stop was at dusk at Wooroolin, where Carl Rackemann took over the reignited flame, which was passed from runner to runner as far as Memerambi.
The convoy then set out to the 80 kilometre sign on the approach to Kingaroy, where the flame was to stay overnight.
Milling and enthusiastic crowds lined the entire route of the torch on its way through Kingaroy, along Youngman Street, down albert Street into Haly Street, then left into Kingaroy Street and right into Avoca Street, before turning left into Youngman Street to be greeted y more than 5000 people at the Lyle Vidler Oval.
Kingaroy High School principle David Ballin had the honour of running the last leg with the flame through the milling crowd at the Lyle Vidler oval and up on to the stage to light the cauldron.
Mr Ballin spoke for everyone when he said it has been an unforgettable occasion and a once in a lifetime thing, where everyone had a marvellous time and have been key parts, if small ones in a remarkable relay, which culminates in the Olympic city.