The Olympic Torch Relay finally reached the Sutherland Shire on 11 September, after its long journey around Australia.

Local children find a good vantage spot in the back of a ute along The Kingsway © Carolyn M Cash
Local children find a good vantage spot in the back of a ute © Carolyn M Cash

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.

The Olympic Torch Relay procession begins © Carolyn M Cash
The Olympic Torch Relay procession begins © Carolyn M Cash

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.

The Olympic Torch approaches © Carolyn M Cash
The Olympic Torch approaches © Carolyn M Cash

“AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE!” one fellow yells during the excitement.

“OY OY OY!” other spectators returned.  This went on for a few minutes.

The Olympic Torch is getting closer © Carolyn M Cash
The Olympic Torch is getting closer © Carolyn M Cash

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 Olympic Torch heads to Cronulla © Carolyn M Cash
The Olympic Torch heads to Cronulla © Carolyn M Cash

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.

The end of the procession © Carolyn M Cash
The end of the procession © Carolyn M Cash

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.

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