Previous find of the month
1954 Royal Visit
To coincide with the April 29th Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, ArchivesACT has uncovered files related to the 1954 Royal Visit to Canberra of Queen Elizabeth II. The cover of the file '[LF1081] - Dept of the Interior - Royal Visit 1952 – Now 1954' begins our story with 'Now 1954' being added to the files title.
Elizabeth was to have toured Australia in 1952 but this was postponed following the death of her father George VI. The following scans of the Minutes taken at the ‘Meeting of Officers of ACT Royal Visit Organisation’ dated 15th of January 1952, show that plans for her visit were well under way. These are just one of several Minutes of meetings preparing for this tour we have on file.
Shortly after Elizabeth's Coronation on the 2nd of June 1953 the Chairman of the ACT Advisory Council, A.T. Shakespeare, proposed an Address of Loyalty to Queen Elizabeth II. Folios covering this can be found in the file 'A3392-933 - Advisory Council - Loyal Greetings to Her Majesty the Queen - HRH Duke of Gloucester - Gov General - Addresses of Welcome, etc.' The following four scans document the creation and presentation of the address.
The tour was rescheduled for early 1954 making Queen Elizabeth II the first reigning monarch to set foot on Australian soil. The following scans are the programme of her formal duties whilst in Canberra.
If you look to 4:30pm on Saturday February 13th on the programme, this event is marked by a memorial plaque located at the intersection of Northbourne Avenue and London Circuit in Civic.
The Parks and Gardens Section had an especially hard job making sure garden beds were colourful and lawns were in good condition at the end of a dry hot summer.
No detail was too small in preparing for the Royal Visit
The efforts of the Parks and Gardens Section was acknowledged by the Minister for the Interior W.S. Kent Hughes and the Director for the ACT W.R. Cumming.
We have recently discovered the file '68/941 - Department of Interior - Canberra Tourist Bureau - Royal Visits 1954 & 1958'. Despite the title, the files contents only covers the 1954 Royal Visit and includes complete itineraries and maps for each day of Queen Elizabeth's visit to Canberra.
Links to external sites:
- Australian Screen : Australia Post : Royal Tour
- Canberra Times - Selected Articles:
- National Museum of Australia : Australia on Show