The University Of Stirling Archives was invited by Commonwealth Games Scotland to present a special Australian-themed version of our Hosts and Champions exhibition at Scotland House, Team Scotland’s HQ during the Gold Coast Games. Aussie Hosts and Tartan Champions featured a selection of material relating to Scotland’s participation in the four previous Games held in Australia (Sydney 1938, Perth 1962, Brisbane 1982 and Melbourne 2006).
Located in the vibrant centre of Surfers Paradise Scotland House provided a central hub for athletes and their families, supporters, sporting officials and the media. The team branding and promotional images of the athletes marked it out as a home-from-home for Scottish visitors to the Gold Coast (with Irn-Bru and Tunnock’s tea cakes being provided during the live coverage of the opening ceremony of the Games!)
During the first week of the Games the exhibition provided the backdrop to a number of events which celebrated the heritage and history of Team Scotland’s experiences competing down under. On 4 April Jon Doig, CEO of Commonwealth Games Scotland, hosted a discussion with a panel of past athletes who had competed at the previous Games held in Australia. Tales of travel and competition were shared from Perth in 1962 through to Melbourne in 2006 and the event also provided our exhibition team with the opportunity to speak about value and importance of the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive.
Other events included a visit from the Queensland Branch of the Australian Society of Archivists, which generated some stimulating discussion relating to the use and promotion of sporting heritage, and an evening reception for Stirling Alumni welcoming former students and staff of the university resident in Gold Coast to the exhibition to find out more about the work of the University Archives.
The display of our Aussie Hosts and Tartan Champions exhibition in Scotland House during the first week on the Games provided a great opportunity for our archives team to promote the value of Scotland’s sporting heritage to visitors. Gold Coast 2018 ended on 15 April with Team Scotland collecting a record-breaking haul of medals at an overseas Games. Next stop Birmingham in 2022!