The baton and the fire!

The ceremonial fire comes to life on our mountain

Well April 1 2018 was a great day for those of us lucky enough to live on Tamborine Mountain.  The community turned out in force to welcome the Queen’s baton relay, the end of a worldwide and then Australia-wide journey for the Brisbane-made baton that carries the Queen’s message to the 2018 Commonwealth Games.  From here the baton was carried down the mountain to the Gold Coast below, where the games are being held.

Actually the Commonwealth Games bore me rigid but it was still nice to see such enthusiastic support for our local baton carriers.   And our beloved mountain looked lovely in the aerial shots on TV.

For myself and friends the real highlight of the day was the Shared Fires Celebration  which began at sundown with a welcome to country by Aboriginal Elder Aunty Ruby and some spectacular lighting of the fire circle and adjacent flame trees (to commemorate Judith Wright’s poem, written here on Tamborine and locally much-loved).

The whole event took place on the Geissman Oval, within easy walking distance of my house which was good because all available nearby parking was taken up by the crowds and the workers, with people being bused in from various parts of the mountain.  The oval and its forest backdrop was brought to life with fire pits around which people could sit, craft stalls, food trucks, a bar,  tables and chairs, lights.

Bronwyn Davies who looks after such cultural events for the Scenic Rim Regional Council did us all proud and so did all of her helpers.  But my personal gratitude goes mainly to Andrew Veivers, a lovely man and Brisbane-based musician, musical educator, composer and fine flamenco guitarist (think the acclaimed Flamenco Fire) who pulled the whole musical event together.  This involved the specially-formed Scenic Rim People’s Orchestra featuring musicians from all over the area as well as school orchestras and a guest singer (Kaycee? Casey?) to lead the vocalisation of the song and music composed by Andrew especially for the occasion, Quiet Enough to Hear.

We were all given our scores on-line and had only four rehearsals to pull it all together (though of course we practiced in our various sections with members of our local ukulele group, led by Linda, rehearsing together. Thus we had five ukulele players and the same number of guitarists, all of us friends.  Thanks to sophisticated sound techniques and good micing up we were able to be heard up there on stage with all that brass and woodwind!

The didgeridoo gave the evening a haunting start as the firelighting ceremonies began and then the combined choirs and orchestras played and children  costumed as fireflies and birds and others a-twinkle with lights (as were those of us in the orchestra) paraded and danced.  It was a glittering spectacle in the gathering darkness when the rain clouds, presumably summoned by Aunty Ruby who spoke of the rain spirit in her welcome, began to threaten.  Luckily they waited until we were headed for home.

A great day for Tamborine, a great night for myself and musical friends, and I am just so happy and proud to have been a tiny part of this historic event.  Playing up there with an orchestra!  Who’d have thunk it!

Linda, Brenda and I pose with musical director for the event, Andrew Veivers.

The Queen’s message baton arrives on Tamborine Mountain

It comes with a large support group as well as TV crews

…and a police escort

The baton relay ends in Main Street before heading down to the Gold Coast for the start of the Games

Our fifth and final rehearsal in the Vonda Youngman Hall, Andrew out front as the kids gather below/ We are on stage behind him, before going down to the oval to perform

Barry and Linda dressed up and raring to go – it’s always so much fun to play and sing with them.

The distant stage taken from the audience – and by my friend Pat.

Bob, sitting with friends around one of the fire pits, waits for the entertainment to begin

The fire circle is lit by traditional Aboriginal methods

The fire circle is complete….

…and now the flame trees on either side, commemorating Judith Wright’s famous poem, are lit too.

The flame bearers take the fire through the crowd

The choir and orchestra perform Quiet Enough to Hear, celebrating the natural wonders of our region. I can just be spotted far left behind the keyboard player

The view from the stage, looking over the crowd

Barry and Brenda all smiles once the performance is over and our efforts over the past many weeks have come to a successful outcome

The rain held off until it was time to go home.  Here Sue and Dave perform their version of Singin’ in the Rain, wearing ponchos thoughtfully provided by the organisers, before  a wet walk back to ours for a welcome drink to end the night.



About Tamborine Dreamer

I am a horticulturist, writer and photographer who lives on Tamborine Mountain, one of the world's beautiful places to live with plenty of sunshine, good rainfall, moderate temperatures, lush rainforest, splendid views of both the ocean to the east and the mountains to the west. I love writing about the place in which I live, in all its moods and seasons. Besides gardening I love good literature and poetry, bushwalking, birdwatching, history, Japanese language and culture, and music of several kinds.
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