Previous sponsorships

Melbourne 2006

History of the Games

How did the Commonwealth Games come about? Why are they known as the 'Friendly Games'?

The idea of the Games was first suggested by Reverend Astley Cooper in 1891 when he wrote an article in The Times proposing a 'Pan-Britannic-Pan-Anglican Festival'. This proposal finally came to fruition in 1930 when Bobby Robinson from Canada organised the first Commonwealth Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada – an event that saw 400 athletes from 11 countries take part. The 1930 Games cost approximately $45,000 to stage, compared to the 2006 Games in Melbourne, which is estimated to cost approximately $300 million to organise (not including the cost of constructing the facilities!).

Since 1930, the Games have been held every four years, with the exception of 1942 and 1946 because of World War II. Originally known as the British Empire Games in 1930, the Games then became known as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games from 1954 to 1962, and later the British Commonwealth Games from 1966 to 1974. From 1978 onwards, they have become what we know them as today – the Commonwealth Games.

Founded on history (rather than geographic or climatic factors), the Commonwealth Games are the only Games in which all participants can communicate in a common language - English. The mission statement for the first Games was 'to be merrier and less stern than the Olympic Games', leading to the Commonwealth Games often now being referred to as the 'Friendly Games'.