What Is It?: Royal visit united Bendigo

CAROL Robbins and Richard Yates are dressed in fancy costume 60 years ago to see Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinborough on their visit to Bendigo.  

Carol, now my wife, is shown holding up the flag that was once proudly displayed in the front window of her family home on the occasion in 1954.  

Numerous other district houses also displayed royalty adornment in varying degrees she recalls and remembers well the intense anticipation of both young and old in the days leading up to the visit.  

Carol’s heart-stopping moment came when with all of the other children at the Upper Reserve (Queen Elizabeth Oval ever afterwards), the Queen actually waved and smiled to her!  

Wow – she was only a child at the time, but the occasion certainly left an indelible mark and to numerous others with whom I have spoken.  

Crowds of nearly 100,000 lined the streets and it would appear that all of the community were fervent monarchists.  

Even the Bendigo Advertiser hailed the visit as the proudest most supreme moment in our city’s history.  

The question “should Australia remain part of the constitutional monarchy?” was never asked or even considered in those days.  

One would have been labelled a “red-ragger” or a “commo” out to destabilise the country if the subject had even been broached!  

Times move on and I guess the last mentioned question will once again be asked formally. 

Until then many including Carol will always nostalgically remember when the Queen smiled at her on the Royal Visit in 1954.  

fenselau@bigpond.com

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