Melbourne hosts Games on the 50th anniversary of the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games

In 2006, Melbourne hosted its first Commonwealth Games and the country’s fourth. 

Exactly 50 years earlier, the same city had hosted the biggest sporting event in the world, the Olympic Games. However, the 2006 Commonwealth Games eclipsed the 1956 Summer Olympics in terms of the number of teams and athletes competing and number of events being held.

The site for the opening and closing ceremonies - as well as the track and field events - was the spectacular Melbourne Cricket Ground. The open-air stadium is also one of the world's most famous cricket venues and it also hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games. 

Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games at the opening ceremony while Prince Edward, Duke of Wessex and vice patron of the Commonwealth Games, declared the event closed 11days later. 

Other Melbourne venues included Melbourne Park, Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens, and Telstra Dome.

The organisers of the Melbourne 2006 Games used the event to promote good causes. The mascot for the Games was Karak, a red-tailed black Ccockatoo - a threatened species -  and for the first time ever, the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games appointed a Goodwill Partner, Plan International Australia.

One of the highlights of the Games was the appearance of the then 100 metres world record holder Asafa Powell. After much anticipation, Powell cruised to victory in a time of 10.03sec. His compatriot, Sheri-Ann Brooks won the women's 100 meters to announce the arrival of Jamaica as a dominant force in world sprinting.

To the delight of the home nation, Australia topped the medals table emphatically. In second place were Australia’s old Commonwealth rivals England with Canada taking third place.

Date Games held: March 15-26

Number of nations represented: 71

Number of competitors: 4,500

Number of medals awarded: 743