Remembering the 2000 Sydney Olympics torch relay in Young

Peter Butcher, from Grenfell, pictured with the torch he ran with, carried the flame in Young during the 2000 Olympics torch relay. Photo: Rebecca Hewson
Peter Butcher, from Grenfell, pictured with the torch he ran with, carried the flame in Young during the 2000 Olympics torch relay. Photo: Rebecca Hewson

It's been 20 years since the torch relay for the 2000 Sydney Olympics made its way through Young.

The flame was carried through the streets of the Cherry Capital for approximately one hour and 40 minutes on Thursday, August 17, on its way to the opening ceremony at Sydney on September 15, 2000.

A number of local residents were torchbearers, and a huge amount of people lined streets, cheered and waved flags while dressed in green and gold.

Among those who were chosen to participate in the relay were Young shire councillors Marie McCormick, Syd Briggs, Paul Mowbray, Bribbaree's Phil Cooper, Peter Butcher from Grenfell, William Bell, Ian Elkins and Emma Barton from Boorowa, Gerard Hewson and Tim Ricketts, Mellissa Langerman, Harold Hetherington, Meredith Hathley and Cassie Poole.

Locals Dr William Meagher and Warner Hieatt carried the flame through Wallendbeen and Cootamundra respectively.

The Young leg of the torch relay started on the Olympic Highway on Wombat Road after arriving from Wallendbeen about 2.34pm on August 17.

It finished on Elizabeth Street (Olympic Highway) and the torch was taken to Koorawatha before Cowra where it spent the night.

The flame passed through Campbell Street (Olympic Highway), Ripon Street, Thornhill Street, Boorowa Street, Zouch Street and William Street.

One torchbearer Mr Butcher recalled running an early leg near Young cemetery.

"There was a whole lot of people at the top of the hill to greet me. There was a big cheer," he said.

"I was so excited when I got the letter in the mail. I still have my torch, my uniform, souvenirs and pictures from the day."

Mr Butcher was working at Lambing Flat Enterprises in Young after serving 20 years in the Australian Defence Force.

"Someone nominated me and I was chosen, it was a real thrill. I got the letter and rang all my family but then I realised the letter said don't tell anyone so I had to ring them all back. When I could tell people I told my boss at work and a lot of the guys from LEF came and watched me run which was really good to see."

Mr Butcher went on to volunteer at a Paralympic Games and had previously helped escort the torch relay for the Special Olympics World Summer Games during his time in the army in the 1990s.

This year's Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed 12 months due to COIVD-19.