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Mar 05

Stepping into History – Queen’s Baton Relay [Cairns]

Kate Moloney

The Queen’s Baton Relay is a Commonwealth Games tradition, and we are fortunate to have the Queen’s Baton passing through Cairns from Thursday, 15 to Saturday, 17 March on its way to its final destination of the Gold Coast for the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the 4 April.

The Queen’s Baton Relay is a celebration of our Commonwealth’s diversity and inspires community pride. Batonbearers represent the spirit of the Commonwealth and have been selected to be a part of history, a great honour indeed and we congratulate all our ‘local legend’ Batonbearers on their selection.

We were lucky enough to chat with three Cairns ‘local legends’ who have the honour of taking some of many million steps that it will take to deliver the Queen’s Baton to its final destination.


A Cairns local since the age of two, Tayla who adorns this month’s front cover with her beautiful family, is a State Champion in cross country running.
Fourteen-year-old Tayla’s dedication and commitment to her training and her outstanding achievements in cross country running are why she has been nominated her for this very special role.

Tayla was nominated by a few different people in her community which says a lot in itself. Her nominees included her old school and a mother from Pace Project, the running group that she trains with. Tayla would like to take this opportunity to thank these people for nominating her which has given her this amazing opportunity.

Tayla feels truly honoured to be running with the baton along the Cairns Esplanade as her leg of the Commonwealth Games Baton Relay. Make sure you get down to the esplanade and cheer her on as this is an honour that has been earnt through lots of hard work and is one that it is very deserving.

We asked Tayla for one piece of inspirational advice that she would like to share with other kids of Cairns and this is what she said: “It always seems impossible until it’s done. Meaning never give up on your dreams even when it seems hard.”


Although Brendan grew up in Malanda, this successful track and field athlete who has represented Australia on three occasions for the Decathlon, now considers Cairns home.

Brendan is a healthy lifestyle leader and a true agent of change after having taken part in 2014 in the Indigenous Marathon Project, founded by Rob De Castella. Since this, Brendan has completed two full Ironman events (3.8k swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run) and three half-iron distance triathlons or Ironman 70.3 races, with his last race qualifying him for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.

He also pours his heart and soul into coaching and developing track and field athletes. Brendan and his wife, Brooke, have developed ASPIRE Cairns, where their vision is to not only develop athletes but also to
instil values which will lead to them living positive and healthy lifestyles.

It was Brooke, Brendan’s wife who nominated him and it is clear to see here that this is a relationship built on love, respect and shared values and passions. Brendan expressed that he couldn’t do what he does without his wife and he’s grateful is to have her by his side every step of the way.

Brendan will be running from in front of the West Cairns Bowling Club along Gatton Street in Westcourt for his leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay. Make sure you get down and support Brendan and show him the appreciation he deserves for his achievements and for his continued efforts in helping to develop local kids on and off the track.

We asked Brendan for his piece of inspirational advice that he would like to share with the kids of Cairns and this is what he said: “I remember being told when I was quite young, “It’s not what happens in life, but how you react to it” and I still refer back to this on a daily basis. Whatever challenges life throws at you, you cannot control them, but you can control how you react to it and your emotions. Stay positive, keep it social and above all else have fun!”


Gordonvale local, 11-year-old Portia is a BMX superstar who would love to see more girls getting involved in this sport.

Portia was nominated for the Queen’s Baton Relay due to her amazing BMX sporting achievements which include having achieved podium finishes at five BMX World Titles. Her nomination is not only as a result of this wonderful success though, she is also great role model for other girls, proving with dedication that anything is possible for young girls in sport.

It was Portia’s proud grandparents who nominated her. Portia said that her grandparents are her biggest supporters, and she is thankful for their surprise nomination as it has given her this wonderful opportunity. “Nanna and Pop, endless cups of love-filled ‘thank you tea’ are coming your way”, Portia says!

Portia will carry the baton from the intersection of Pease and Anderson Streets for her leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay. She is so excited and cannot wait to high-five everyone as she runs along and says she is running for all the kids out there with disabilities and for all the kids who work hard at the sport they love. What an amazing attitude Portia has, so make sure you get down to Anderson Street to get a high-five in.

We asked Portia for one piece of inspirational advice that she would like to share with other kids of Cairns and this is what she said: “People may think sport is all about winning, but I would love to spread the word that just competing in something and enjoying what you do, is the most important thing of all. Be a good sport first, and you will find you enjoy the wins even more.”

If you want to follow the Queen’s Baton Relay on its journey to the Gold Coast or want to discover who is carrying the Baton and when then go to

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