Australian cricket supporters with the Queen's Baton during the Fourth Ashes Test at the MCG in Melbourne ©GoldCoast2018

It has taken rather more than 80 days but Jules Verne and his literary creations Phileas Fogg and indomitable assistant Passepartout would surely have approved mightily of the epic journey of the Queen’s Baton (QBR) to Australia.

It has been around the Commonwealth in 288 days by all manner of means and represented the longest relay in Games history. Now at has at last arrived on Queensland soil, in 1982 host city Brisbane.

On Boxing Day it was in Melbourne, which in 2006, was the most recent Australian city to stage the Games.

It was on a glorious March day in London when Australian cycling champion Anna Meares stepped forward to receive the Baton from The Queen. She was soon joined by her great track rival Victoria Pendleton. Both were left open-mouthed by the arrival of a customised campervan complete with surfboard.

"Who wouldn’t want one of those?" they asked.

The Baton had been brought to Buckingham Palace by Para athlete Kurt Fearnley. Gold Coast born environmentalist and singer Cody Simpson helped create the mood by performing I still call Australia Home.

Cody Simpson gets in to a VW Campervan with the Baton as Victoria Pendleton and Anna Meares wave him off at the launch of The Queen's Baton Relay, for the XXI Commonwealth Games at Buckingham Palace on March 13, 2017 in London ©Getty Images
Cody Simpson gets in to a VW Campervan with the Baton as Victoria Pendleton and Anna Meares wave him off at the launch of The Queen's Baton Relay, for the XXI Commonwealth Games at Buckingham Palace on March 13, 2017 in London ©Getty Images

The international QBR itinerary replicates the parade of nations which will take place at the Opening Ceremony when teams enter by continent.

Sierra Leone in Africa was the first destination. Runners took the Baton along the beach and visited Fourah Bay College, the first university in West Africa.

In Ghana, it was carried by Azumah Nelson, the Commonwealth featherweight boxing gold medallist from 1978 who went on to win a world title.

"Do well and bring gold to Ghana", he told the next generation.

Durban had been forced to give up the 2022 Games but the Baton visited South Africa and toured Mpumalanga province. There was time for a spectacular trip to the Kruger National Park. It was also carried by 1996 Olympic marathon champion Josiah Thugwane, only called upon to run two kilometres this time.

After Africa, the Relay headed to the Caribbean.

In Tobago, IPC World javelin and discus champion Akeem Stewart was a popular choice to take part.

Roger Gibbon,Trinidad’s double gold medal winning cyclist from 1966 also carried the Baton with 1998 Long jump gold medallist Wendell Williams.

Jamaica remains the only Caribbean nation to host the Games so far. Kingston staged them in 1966.

Bronze medal winner Hasely Crawford of Trinidad and Tobago congratulates Jamaican athlete Don Quarrie, right, on winning the gold in the 100 Metres at the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada, in August 1978. Allan Wells, of Scotland, finished second ©Getty Images
Bronze medal winner Hasely Crawford of Trinidad and Tobago congratulates Jamaican athlete Don Quarrie, right, on winning the gold in the 100 Metres at the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada, in August 1978. Allan Wells, of Scotland, finished second ©Getty Images

Don Quarrie later achieved the Commonwealth 100m and 200m double at consecutive Games in the seventies. He also became a double Batonbearer following his run in 2014.

At Mystic Mountain the message was in the care of Chris Stokes, a member of the original Cool Runnings Jamaica bobsleigh team from the Calgary Winter Olympics. It travelled even faster than Jamaica’s most famous citizen.

It had been in Hamilton, Ontario, that the Games were established in 1930. Back then they were known as British Empire Games. The Baton was carried at Tim Horton’s field, the site of the stadium used for those first Games.

The Canadians celebrated with a cavalcade of champions to represent every decade of the games. The pipes of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada provided a soundtrack.

The Baton headed to Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium where it arrived during the Edmonton Eskimos victory over the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League.

It was carried by high jump champion Diane Jones–Konihowski. She was an appropriate choice as she had delivered the Baton to the Queen at the opening ceremony of the 1978 Games in Edmonton.

The Empire Fields in Vancouver staged the 1954 Commonwealth Games. IOC member Charmaine Crooks, a relay gold medallist in 1982 and 1986 met the relay here.

Bearers also ran past the statue in honour of the late Harry Jerome , 100 yards gold medallist at the 1966 Games in Kingston.

The Baton passed a statue in honour of Canadian sprinter Harry Jerome, seen here at the Tokyo Olympics, numbered 56, finishing third behind Robert Hayes, of the USA, and Enrique Figuerola Camue, of Cuba ©Getty Images
The Baton passed a statue in honour of Canadian sprinter Harry Jerome, seen here at the Tokyo Olympics, numbered 56, finishing third behind Robert Hayes, of the USA, and Enrique Figuerola Camue, of Cuba ©Getty Images

The journey to the Falkland Islands was a reminder that they had first entered a team in 1982, the last time the Games were held in Queensland.

The Baton arrived at the Mount Pleasant base, near Port Stanley.

"It's been handed to service personnel from ten different Commonwealth countries, the scout group, the school and now its with the families which is fantastic," said South Atlantic Islands forces Commander Baz Bennett.

It was carried on roller-skates and also paid a visit to the swimming club in Stanley during its stay.

From the South Atlantic it flew to the Royal Air Force base at Brize Norton in the English countryside.

Parachutists leapt from a plane in formation with the baton.

It then visited London where champion gymnast Max Whitlock brought it into the historic Guildhall in the City of London.

Great Britain’s World Championship winning 4x100m squad carried it around Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium. Gymnasts Kristian Thomas, a gold medallist in 2014 and Rhythmic Gymnast Mimi Cesar welcomed the Baton at the city’s famous Bullring alongside 2002 gold medallist Beth Tweddle. 

There was also a visit to Manchester rekindling memories of sixteen years ago.

The Scottish capital Edinburgh had written its own chapter of Commonwealth Games history. In 1970 it hosted what proved to be very successful Games and in 1986 it became the first city to stage them twice. Glasgow 2014 800m silver medallist Lynsey Sharp handed the baton to double 400m individual medley champion Hannah Miley at Edinburgh Castle in front of the crowd watching the Edinburgh Tattoo.

Wherever the baton showed up in Scotland , Glasgow 2014 mascot Clyde was there too. Glaswegian swimmer Michael Jamieson who won 200m breast stroke silver in his home city was the first baton bearer. It made a stop at the Chris Hoy velodrome and finished up in George Square, where the big G sign had been a landmark four years ago.

A sculpture known as 'The Big G' is pictured in Glasgow in Scotland,ahead of the start of the 2014 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images
A sculpture known as 'The Big G' is pictured in Glasgow in Scotland,ahead of the start of the 2014 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

At Stirling University they brought out the three Batons used in 1970, 1986 and 2014.

The Isle of Man was one of the smallest communities to welcome the Baton. It is the home of the TT (Tourist Trophy ) and Festival of Motorcycling. Michael Evans, winner of both junior and senior Manx Grand Prix, carried the Baton in the pit lane. It also travelled on a horse drawn tram.

"Being part of the Relay is not only an exciting event, but an opportunity to highlight and promote the island to other members of the Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Richard Gozney.

Their team first competed at the 1958 Cardiff Games so the next Relay destination was appropriate.

It made its way along the South Coast of Wales to Cardiff. Amongst those to see it pass were Bill Sweetman who’d carried the original Baton in the first relay sixty years ago.

Runners in Wales uniquely wore special uniforms with the words "Taith Baton y Frenhines", Welsh for Queen’s Baton Relay.

It was borne by two Olympic champions who cannot win Commonwealth gold. Sailing gold medallist Hannah Mills and double Olympic taekwondo champion Jade Jones. Neither of their sports are in the Games programme.

At the Royal Mint, in Llantrisant, the baton was met by gymnast Frankie Jones, one of only four Commonwealth Games participants to have received the David Dixon Award for outstanding performance. She struck a gymnastic pose and also a new coin.

In October, the cavalcade arrived in Delhi, host city in 2010.

At the national stadium, named after Indian hockey legend Dhyan Shand, sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore joined the celebrations.

"The Queen’s Baton is a challenge. There is a tournament (sic) in Australia. Are you ready? I believe we are."

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, receives the Queen's Baton from Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar at the XIX Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in New Delhi in 2010. The Prince will again play a leading role in Gold Coast ©Getty Images
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, receives the Queen's Baton from Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar at the XIX Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in New Delhi in 2010. The Prince will again play a leading role in Gold Coast ©Getty Images

Just as at Delhi 2010, it will be down to Prince Charles to eventually read the message on behalf of his mother in the Gold Coast . He had a chance to see the Baton at close hand in Singapore. With the Duchess of Cornwall, he received athletes and Para athletes at Merlion Park. He was handed the Baton by 21 year-old Clarence Chew, a table tennis player.

In Kuala Lumpur, former Commonwealth Games Federation President Prince Tunku Imran greeted runners.

Among 300 to carry the Baton there were two of Malaysia’s badminton stars. Datuk James Selvaraj, bronze medallist at the 1978 Edmonton Games, and Wong Choo Han who won his gold on home soil in 1998.

In November, the Relay arrived in Oceania. The visit to Fiji was the first time since 2006. Unrest and a ban from the Commonwealth made it impossible in 2010 and 2014. This time it was greeted by traditional Sabeto dancers before sports minister Laisenia Tuitubou carried it on the first stage of its journey around the island.

At the Damodar Aquatic centre in Suva, swimmer Maletita Buadromo was amongst the Bearers and volleyball's Qilu Elliot was joined by his team mates at the National beach courts.

Before touching down in Australia, the Baton received a Maori Powhiri welcome. Para javelin thrower Holly Robinson was entrusted with taking it to Queensland where she passed it to New Zealand Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy.

"As a young girl I remember the Queen's Baton coming to Hokitika on the West Coast and it is really cool as a 'wee' kid to be able to meet some of the amazing athletes that we saw on TV," said Robinson.

Legendary all black rugby star Richie McCaw arrived by helicopter in earthquake hit Kaikora to deliver the baton.

It also visited Christchurch, the 1974 host city devastated by the 2011 quake.

Among those to carry the baton were Sir John Walker, who won silver in an epic 1500m at those Games behind Filbert Bayi of Tanzania, weighlifter Precious McKenzie and three time Commonwealth shot champion Valerie Adams.

New Zealand Para javelin thrower Holly Robinson greets a Maori warrior during the Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay function at Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa Marae  in Auckland, New Zealand ©Getty Images
New Zealand Para javelin thrower Holly Robinson greets a Maori warrior during the Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay function at Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa Marae in Auckland, New Zealand ©Getty Images

The Baton then headed for Auckland host city in both 1950 and 1990.

As it left with a traditional ceremony of farewell , it was entrusted to the Yugambeh people of the Gold coast in a move which brought the relay full circle.

They were represented by John Graham, a senior learning assistance officer at Griffith University.

Yugambeh elders Ted Williams and Patricia O’Connor had been present at the start of the journey back in March.

Many of the 3,800 runners who will carry it around Australia have been nominated from local communities.

Cricket has been part of the Commonwealth Games only once back in 1998 but Australian batsman Adam Voges and World Cup star Ellyse Villani have both been chosen to take part in the Relay.

It will come as no surprise some of the greatest swimmers have been chosen.

Dawn Fraser burst onto the scene when Melbourne hosted the 1956 Olympics. She also won Commonwealth gold at the 1958 Games in Cardiff and when the Games were staged in Perth in 1962.

Swimmer Grant Hackett, from Mermaid Waters, won four gold medals at Commonwealth Games but he has some more relevant experience for his 2018 role. In 2006 he carried the Baton just before it started its journey up the Yarra River for the opening ceremony.

Susie O’Neill, also known as "Madame Butterfly" has similar qualifications. She has 10 Commonwealth Gold medals to her name.

"It's when the spirit of the Commonwealth Games really starts to build up so I can’t wait to be part of it, " she said.

O'Neill carried the Baton during the Opening Ceremony for the Manchester 2002 Games.

"The one in Manchester was special, I got to meet David Beckham and the Queen," she said.