THE enormous inflatable white whale which stole the show at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be given a new forever home on the Gold Coast, it has been revealed.
After a short sabbatical following the Games, the iconic opening ceremony character will take up a permanent residency at the city’s new Home of the Arts (HOTA).
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today confirmed the Games whale would remain on the Coast as a legacy of the world-class event.
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The announcement comes after it was revealed the gigantic blow-up whale, which requires a trained crew of 24 people to operate it safely, had been deflated and stuffed into a storage box.
The blimp-like tribute to Migaloo – an albino humpback whale which makes an annual migrations past the Gold Coast – is 27-5 metres long, eight metres high and eight metres wide.
It will be taken out of storage in the coming weeks and be transported to it’s new home at the HOTA where it will be used as a mascot for future festivals and events.
“It makes sense to keep the iconic and memorable whale on the Gold Coast,” the Premier said.
“People flock to the Gold Coast every year in the hope of catching a glimpse of the real Migaloo during migration.
“Through this announcement, the Games whale will play an important role in promoting the legacy of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
“My government introduced special laws to protect Migaloo while he travels off the coast of Queensland so it’s great to be able to honour him with an official position at the Home of the Arts.”
Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones said she was proud that the whale would stay on the Gold Coast.
“The whale, decorated with beautiful artwork by Delvene Cockatoo-Collins, stole the hearts of Queenslanders at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games so it’s only fair that we look after him now,” she said.
“It is a mammoth item and to have the whale moved to the Home of the Arts is a great outcome.
“This is a great legacy outcome for Gold Coasters who will see plenty of the whale in years to come.”
Assistant Tourism Industry Development Minister and Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said she looked forward to seeing the whale at his new home.
“The white whale is an icon of the Commonwealth Games and it’s great that we’ve negotiated a solution that will allow Gold Coasters to enjoy this character in the future,” she said.
“The Gold Coast is still abuzz after hosting the largest event in Queensland’s history – it’s important that we keep up the momentum and today’s announcement is a small part of that.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring Queenslanders continue to benefit from the Commonwealth Games for generations.”
Mayor Tom Tate said he was happy with the decision to keep the whale in the Games host city.
“The white whale will feel right at home in our Home Of The Arts (HOTA) heartland here on the Gold Coast,” he said.
“We will look to utilise the striking display during our signature arts and cultural events throughout the year.
“I can see him featuring at our annual GLOW Festival later this year.”