Spirit still burns

Sunday Tasmanian, DANNY ROSE p.7

HE Olympic flame burned in a deck-mounted cauldron as Tasmania’s Bass Strait ferry spirited it back to Victoria.
It was carried aboard TT-Line’s Spirit of Tasmania about 3pm yesterday after completing its five-day 842km journey around the island state.
The vessel left at 4.10pm after the last of the state’s 479 torch-bearers — Devonport’s 1999 under-17 Australian teams pursuit cycling champion Jarrod Burr — lit the cauldron.
The flame will arrive in Melbourne at 8.30am today.
A flotilla of yachts trailed the vessel while cars parked overlooking the city’s Mersey River tooted their horns.
People waved as the flame could be seen burning brightly in the cauldron.
The torch travelled 119.6km from Launceston’s Cataract Gorge to East Devonport’s Spirit terminal yesterday.
It passed through the townships of Hadspen, Carrick, Hagley, Deloraine, Latrobe and Spreyton where locals turned out to cheer it on.
The flame also passed before representatives of the state’s indigenous community, the final act of an Aboriginal welcoming ceremony held on Tuesday’s arrival.
Circular Head Aboriginal elder Joy Gillies said: “Our ancestors are buried around here.
“I’d like their spirits to be alive and under that flame for all sports men and women.”
Mrs Gillies was joined by elders from the Devonport Aboriginal community and about 20 indigenous people.
The flame met them at Tiagarra, or “the keeping place”, a promontory at the port city’s centre featuring ancient indigenous rock carvings. “I believe that the flame has gone around and its spirit has gathered the momentum of our state to take to Sydney,” Mrs Gillies said. “My spirit will definitely be with Cathy Freeman and all other Aboriginal athletes.”
She said the passage of the flame marked an outpouring of community spirit and was also an “excellent step towards reconciliation”. “[The flame] started off at Uluru, it is acknowledging the first people,” Mrs Gillies said.
“It is very significant.”