In February 1954 Queen Elizabeth II became the first reigning monarch to tour Australia.
|At the State Banquet given in her
honour. NAA: A1773, RV1403|
The royal visit of 1954 was perhaps the most popular of all royal visits. Aside from being
the first tour of a reigning monarch, it was also the first royal tour to Australia for twenty years and its scale was immense:
Her Majesty travelled approximately 10 000 miles by air, occupying a period
of approximately 57 hours and made approximately 33 flights. (His Royal Highness made 35 flights.)
The civil air lift, which was the greatest civil air operation in history, comprised
257 separate flights covering 1,307,459 passenger miles and carried 3,200 passengers with 20 tons of freight representing
more than 1,000,000 pieces. This does not include 363 flights made by the RAAF of more than 600 hours duration…
Her Majesty travelled approximately 2,000 miles by road, spent 130 hours in motor
cars, made 207 separate trips, and the cars of the Royal Visit Car Company registered some 500,000 miles.
Her Majesty visited approximately 70 country towns [in addition to all capital cities
except Darwin] and made approximately 100 speeches.
This remarkable transport movement was carried out without one accident in which
a car of the Royal Visit Car Company was involved, and there was not one moment’s delay in the air through any mechanical
fault, nor was one piece of baggage lost, and Her Majesty and His Royal Highness discharged the whole of the functions set
out in the royal visit itinerary without the need to postpone or abandon any engagement.
On the day of her arrival, the motorcade travelled down Swanston St - I
stood behind the barricades with the multitudes opposite the Leviathan store, from 8 am until HM drove
past at around 4 pm, on her way to Governnent House.
On another day, the Royal Train travelled into Western Victoria, and my brother and I rode our
bikes from Altona to Laverton, where the train stopped for photos.
Melbourne was decorated with banners, colored lights, signs, and bunting on city buildings,
with firefworks displays at night at the showgrounds.
Here are some of my own photos which I took on my
Box Brownie camera when Her Majesty came to Melbourne!