The Olympic Torch Relay finally reached the Sutherland Shire on 11 September, after its long journey around Australia.
Despite being a gold-medal contender for climbing walls after hearing all the Olympic hype, I was curious. The Torch would pass along The Kingsway, only 50 metres from my home, at approximately 6.20 pm.
I left at 6.00 pm to find a good spot so I could take photos. Hundreds had already gathered along The Kingsway. Some children had piled into the back of a nearby ute, waiting in anticipation. Other children made Olympic Torches from cardboard templates in The Daily Telegraph. They waved their ‘torches’ as they waited patiently with their parents. Some waved Australian flags.
“AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE!” one fellow yells during the excitement.
“OY OY OY!” other spectators returned. This went on for a few minutes.
Finally, the moment we were all waiting for arrived. The procession of police cars, motorcycles, Seven Network News and Olympic Vehicles passed the ever-growing crowds. Spectators waved and vehicle occupants waved back.
The Torch passed by. The moment only lasted a minute, before the crowds soon dispersed.
It made its way to Tonkin Park at Cronulla, where a huge celebration took place. Thousands gathered to see marathon swimmer, Susie Maroney, light the cauldron.
At 8.00 pm, fireworks lit up the night sky around Cronulla. I saw them from my front door. They were spectacular.
It was one of these occasions when you felt proud to be an Australian, and a Sutherland Shire resident.
© 2000 Carolyn M Cash
This article was first published on Themestream on 22 September 2000.