Torchbearers carried the Olympic Flame into the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves of South Australia on Tuesday, the torch’s first and only planned underground journey.
After the torch started the day in nearby Naracoorte, Phyllis Brophy carried it into the caves, then passed it to Michael Snajdar in the second internal cave. They ran amid 1300 candles lighting the caves, enhancing the prehistoric feel of the surrounding fossilised stalactites and stalagmites.
The presence of 2000 hibernating bats in a far cave added another element to the atmosphere.
Later in the morning, the torch continued its historic run through Coonawarra, home to some of Australia’s finest wineries. Coonawarra’s terra rossa soil has produced wines enabling such wineries as the John Roddoch’s, now the Wynns Coonawarra Estate, to succeed for more than a century.
The region is famous for its red wines. More than 20 wineries, including Balnaves, Rymill’s and Zema Estate, offer cellar-door outlets.
The torch continued on to a lunchtime celebration in Penola, the oldest town in the state’s south-east. Penola lies at the heart of the inspiring story of Mother Mary McKillop, set to become Australia’s first saint.
During the course of the day, four members of one family, the McGorms, carried the torch. John McGorm, a retired teacher, handed the flame to Penny McGorm, also a teacher. Less than three hours later, son Tom McGorm carried the flame into Penola, handing it to sister Georgina. Those two, both university students in Adelaide, have been Duke of Edinburgh award winners and are active in local sports and service clubs.
Mount Gambier, host of the evening celebrations, entertained onlookers with several acts showcasing local talent and overseen by The Mainstreet Theatre Company. The celebrations were held at Vansittart Park Oval.At various locations during the day, the Olympic Torch Relay route also wound past large cut-out silhouettes of athletes.
Source: SOCOG Olympics.com