A winking Matilda, a pouch full of joeys

A sky full of parachutes

A field full of flags and dreams

Brisbane Commonwealth Games 1982
The Brisbane Commonwealth Games marked the beginning of Ric Birch's career in producing major events and ceremonies - and led to the formation of Spectak International. Birch's experience in producing major events for television was a key factor in his appointment as the creative director and producer of the live Opening and Closing ceremonies that welcomed athletes from 53 countries to Australia. The Ceremonies totally surpassed the expectations not only of the host nation, but also of the rest of the Commonwealth. "I had no idea we were going to so much trouble!" said one of the laidback Brisbane reporters, while the London Times correspondent wrote that it was no longer sufficient to be a sports reporter, "One needs to be not only a theatrical reviewer but a defence correspondent as well!" The latter referred to the military Guard of Honour that greeted HRH Prince Philip at the opening ceremony and HM the Queen at the Closing. In between, spectators saw a 10 metre-tall kangaroo known as Matilda move cheekily into the stadium and wink at the Duke, while Rolf Harris sang about Tying His Kangaroo Down, Sport and thirty young 'joeys' bounced on trampolines as skydivers arrived standing on each others' shoulders. It established a new standard for the Commonwealth Games and there are still many people in Brisbane who claim it has never been bettered in the years since.
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