GALLERY: When the Queen came to town ~1954

Royal memories: A moment of beauty

Royal memories: A special memento

A lifetime of loving the Queen

TODAY marks 60 years since the young Queen Elizabeth II, just nine months into her reign, came to Bendigo.

Thousands of Bendigonians flocked to see the monarch and her dashing husband on their whirlwind visit to the city.

The pair arrived at 4.05pm on March 5 and they stayed for “80 momentous minutes,” just long enough to leave a lasting memory imprinted on the minds of all those who saw her.

The Bendigo Advertiser hailed the visit the “proudest, supremest moment this city has known”.

On the 60th anniversary, that statement still holds true for many of Her Majesty’s loyal subjects who lined the streets to get a glimpse of the Queen all those years ago.

Nearly everyone who was there that day can remember where they stood and what they saw when the Queen came to town.

Graham Lunn, who was nine at the time, said he was lucky to get a good spot.

“I was in the First Bendigo Cubs and I was about four yards from her when she was talking,” he said.

“We were right in the front row in the middle.

“It was unbelievable.

“There was a lot of excitement.”

Geraldine Mitchell, the former publicity officer for the Vote No Republic campaign and foundation member of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy, said the Queen was a very special person.

“She hasn’t put a foot wrong,” said Mrs Mitchell, who has a vast collection of items devoted to the royal family.

“She has been a good leader and a wonderful role model for Australian women if not everyone.

“She is our leader and our monarch.

“It was very exciting to have our queen visit Australia.

“I was in Adelaide when the Queen came.

“My husband, Trevor, was in Sydney.

“He was a young officer on a merchant ship, he came back to Sydney and was staying with a friend and they had a cabin cruiser. When the Queen’s Gothic royal yacht sailed into Sydney they were in the flotilla that brought her into the harbour.

“A few days later he was driving around Sydney on a two-stroke motorbike and there were crowds everywhere. He got to a certain point and was told to stop by a policeman and stay where he was as the Queen was coming.

“After a minute the policeman said off you go so my husband went through and everyone around him started clapping. He looked behind him and he was leading the Queen in on his two-stroke.”

In total Mrs Mitchell has seen the Queen five times.

 “She is four years older than me, I have grown up in her era and she has always been there,” she said.

“I have been a royalist ever since I was a girl.

“Every month we would get Woman’s Weekly and there was always a picture of the King and Queen.

“Then the princesses started going to charity concerts and you would see them in gorgeous evening gowns with white furs and glamorous tiaras. The Queen was always a pin-up for me.

“My husband and I lived in Melbourne for a while and when she came there my husband was working until 9 but he called me and said “be ready I am coming in a taxi and we are going to see the Queen leave”.

“We went to Station Pier. She was there with her tiara in a lovely white satin dress and the Duke was in evening dress and they looked such a lovely couple.

“The Queen went on board but she stayed on deck waving until she was out of sight, even though she had nothing on her shoulders.

“She looked like the Queen on the stamp, but in person.”

She looked like the Queen on the stamp, but in person.

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