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Royalty and Australian Society: Records relating to the British Monarchy held in Canberra


10 Elizabeth, wife of George VI and Queen Mother

Image 41: The Queen Mother with Prime Minister Menzies at a state ball at Parliament House Canberra, 1958.

Image 41: The Queen Mother with Prime Minister Menzies at a state ball at Parliament House Canberra, 1958.
NAA: A1766, QMV304
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The Queen Mother first toured Australia as the Duchess of Cornwall and York with her husband in 1927. The couple was supposed to return for another tour in 1949 and then again in 1952, but plans for both these visits cancelled due to her husband the King's ill health.

The Queen Mother first visited Australia by herself in 1958, from 14 February to 7 March. For this tour the Prime Minister directed that there be 'plenty of flags' on display but he did not propose to illuminate and decorate Commonwealth buildings as had been done for the royal visit of 1954.1 In spite of the lack of bunting though, the tour met with great popular approval.

During her 1958 tour the Queen Mother visited Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The short period of time allotted to her tour meant that she did not have time to visit regional centres, but spent the bulk of her time in the capital cities.

According to a press statement issued on 11 November 1957 by Sir Allen Brown, the Director-General of the Queen Mother's visit:

We set out to arrange a programme which would allow Her Majesty to make a real 'meet the people' visit. This is what Her Majesty wants. Because of the shortness of her visit – which although it has been extended, it is most unfortunately not long enough to allow a visit to Tasmania – Her Majesty asked that in her engagements she might mingle with and talk to people as much as possible.

This meant the exclusion of state banquets, luncheons and similar fixed seating functions in favour of more fluid affairs such as informal open air gatherings, surf carnivals, rodeos, race meetings, garden parties, children's assemblies and the like,2

The Queen Mother proved exceptionally popular with the crowds she had wished to meet. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 25 February 1958, 'Wild scenes in Sydney as women jostle police in bid to see Queen Mother'.

In one of the wildest scenes of the royal tour, more than 2 000 screaming and jostling women tried to force their way into the Trocadero, George Street, City, soon after 3pm today… Dozens of police rushed to reinforce the barricades but the women, shouting and screaming, surged across George Street in a solid mass and argued and grappled with police… Women shouted angrily to police. 'Give us a fair go, coppers', 'Let's have a look at her' and 'All we want is a view of the Queen Mother'.3

1958 royal visit by the Queen Mother

Image 42: With H V Evatt, Leader of the Opposition, and Mrs Evatt.

Image 42: With H V Evatt, Leader of the Opposition, and Mrs Evatt.
NAA: A1766, QMV131
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Image 43: Crowds in Brisbane awaiting the Queen Mother’s arrival.

Image 43: Crowds in Brisbane awaiting the Queen Mother’s arrival.
NAA: A1766, QMV147
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Image 45: Inspecting a guard of honour at a Manly surf carnival.

Image 45: Inspecting a guard of honour at a Manly surf carnival.
NAA: A1766, QMV374
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Canberra
Series: A1766
Quantity: 0.36 metres
Recorded by: 1958 Australian News and Information Bureau (CA 219)
PHOTOGRAPHIC NEGATIVES, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES WITH 'QMV' (VISIT OF QUEEN MOTHER) PREFIX A1766
Examples of individual items relating to the 1958 visit
Series: A463
Royal visit 1958 – Invitation to Queen Mother and liaison with Governor-General, 1958A463 A463
Royal visit 1958 – Persons the Queen Mother desires to meet, 1958 A463, 1957/3611
Series: A1533
Recorded by: 1953–1960 Commonwealth Investigation Service (CA 650)
Visit of Her Majesty the Queen Mother, 1958

Details security procedures associated with the royal visit. It also contains a detailed itinerary for the visit and copies of the minutes of the Royal Visit 1958 planning committee.

A1533, 1957/2530 part 1
Press cuttings in connection with Royal visits, 1957

The cuttings all date from 1957 and concern pre-arrangements for the 1958 visit. Some of the clippings also refer to security issues, such as threats to the safety of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh during their tour of the United States.

A1533, 1957/2530 part 2
Visit of Her Majesty the Queen Mother, 1958

Principally contains correspondence about security issues associated with the visit.

A1533, 1957/2530 part 3
Image 44: Arriving at Balmoral, Sydney, to inspect a parade.

Image 44: Arriving at Balmoral, Sydney, to inspect a parade.
NAA: A1766, QMV437
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Records created in connection with this visit are as follows:

A report of the Commonwealth Security Officer, Ray Whitrod, about security issues associated with the tour includes the following extract:

With the co-operation of the State Police Force, surveillance was maintained on those persons who, because of their known tendencies, might cause embarrassment to the Queen Mother. A number of these were interviewed and cautioned against any irresponsible actions. One new Australian, who considered that he had a grievance because of unemployment, was found a temporary job.

The usual number of letters from persons of apparently unsound mind were received by State and Commonwealth Departments and, as far as possible, the identities of the writers were established and subsequently interviewed by officers of this Service or by the Special branch of the State Police Force concerned.

No embarrassment was caused to the Queen Mother by any of these persons.

Series: A1533
Royal Visit, 1958 by Her Majesty the Queen Mother – ACT itinerary – Register of pass recipients A1533, 1957/2530 part 4
Visit of Right Hon Prime Minister of Great Britain, 1958 [and HRH Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother], 1957–1958

This file principally concerns security arrangements made in association with the visit of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, but it also details some of the security arrangements in place for the visit of the Queen Mother.

A1533, 1957/2909
Series: A1838
Recorded by: 1948–1970 Department of External Affairs (CA 18)
Protocol – Queen Mother's Tour of Australia, 1951–1958 A1838, 1516/83
Series: A1945
Recorded by: 1957–1974 Department of Defence (CA 46)
Royal Visit 1958 by the Queen Mother, 1957–1958 A1945, 234/1/1
Series: A2908
Recorded by: 1930–1952 Australian High Commission, United Kingdom [London] (CA 241)
Visit to Australia of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, 1957–1958 A2908, V59 parts 4&5
Series: A6895
Recorded by: 1956–1973 Australian News and Information Bureau, Canberra (CA 219)
Visit of Her Majesty the Queen Mother, 1958

This item details press arrangements for the tour.

The Queen Mother's tour occurred only two years after the introduction of television into Australia. A report of the Press Liaison Officer dated 10 March 1958 would seem to suggest that the interest taken in the visit by television crews was a little overwhelming and unexpected. It states: '…a fairly large body of cameramen had to be catered for. It is suggested that TV requirements be given careful study well before future royal visits.'

A6895, N1957/ 106A and B
The Queen Mother's tour occurred only two years after the introduction of television into Australia. A report of the Press Liaison Officer dated 10 March 1958 would seem to suggest that the interest taken in the visit by television crews was a little overwhelming and unexpected. It states: '…a fairly large body of cameramen had to be catered for. It is suggested that TV requirements be given careful study well before future royal visits.'
Series: A8281
Recorded by: 1954–1973 Australian News and Information Bureau, Canberra (CA 219)
Photo albums, Royal Visit 1958 A8281, 8 parts 1&2
Series: M2576
Recorded by: 1949–1966 Robert Gordon Menzies (CP 54)
Royal Visit – Queen Mother, 1958

This file alludes to some of the popular support that followed the Queen Mother throughout her tour.

M2576, 110
Image 46: The Queen Mother being farewelled by 30 000 school children at Subiaco, Perth, 1958.

Image 46: The Queen Mother being farewelled by 30 000 school children at Subiaco, Perth, 1958.
NAA: A1766, QMV592
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The President of the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital wrote to the Prime Minister to thank him for arranging for the Queen Mother to open the Jessie McPherson Block of the Hospital:

The Queen Mother expressed herself pleased with the Hospital – even more pleased at the thousands of women who, though hysterical, kept beyond the roped barriers in the corridors, and made her feel a tremendous bond that ties her to them. I, personally, have never seen such a display of mass enthusiasm.

The file also contains a letter, dated 10 March 1958 from the Queen Mother's private secretary to Prime Minister Menzies which expresses:

Her Majesty's very great pleasure at the admirable arrangements which were made for her visit to Australia. Wherever she travelled in the countryside and in the towns, Her Majesty received such a wonderful welcome that she felt borne along on a wave of loyalty and affection.
Series: M4071
Recorded by: 1902–1963 Percy Lampriere Sheaffe (CP 53)
Sheaffe Papers. Invitation Card.

'The Minister for State for the Interior and the Chairman of the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council request the pleasure of Mr Sheaffe at a Civic Welcome to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother at Civic Centre, Canberra, on Friday 14 February 1958 at 4.40pm'.

M4071, 90
Series: AA1972/341
Recorded by: 1950–1971 Prime Minister's Department (CA 12)
Royal Visit 1958 – ACT Press Cuttings AA1972/341, 326

The Queen Mother's postponed visit of 1964

This proposed visit was cancelled due to the Queen Mother's illness. Records relating to the planning for this visit are:

Series: A463
Recorded by: 1956– Prime Minister's Department (CA 12)
Visit of Her Majesty the Queen Mother – General representations, 1962–1964

This file details arrangements in place for providing stores of plasma at airports in areas the Queen Mother would be travelling.

A463, 1962/6101
Series: A1838
Recorded by: 1948–1970 Department of External Affairs (CA 18)
Protocol – Royal Visits – Visit by Queen's Mother 1964 A1838
Series: A2908
Recorded by: 1930–1952 Australian High Commission, United Kingdom [London] (CA 241)
Visit of Her Majesty the Queen Mother to Australia, 1964 A2908, V85 parts 1–4
Series: A1209, 1964/100
Recorded by: 1957– Prime Minister's Department (CA 12)
Royal Visit 1964 – Supplies of blood plasma, 1963–1964 A1209, 1964/100

1966 visit of the Queen Mother

Image 47: Meeting workers at Jindabyne Dam, 1966.

Image 47: Meeting workers at Jindabyne Dam, 1966.
NAA: A2405, RT2/386
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Image 48: Awaiting the Queen Mother’s arrival at Bunbury, 1966.

Image 48: Awaiting the Queen Mother’s arrival at Bunbury, 1966.
NAA: A2405, RT2/242
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Photographic records
Canberra
Series: A2405
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: 1966 Australian News and Information Bureau (CA 219)
PHOTOGRAPHIC NEGATIVES, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES WITH 'RT' PREFIX (ROYAL TOUR OF QUEEN MOTHER AND PRINCE CHARLES) A2405
Examples of other records relating to the 1966 royal visit
Series: A463
Recorded by: 1956– Prime Minister's Department (CA 12)
Visit of HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother – 1966 – Negotiations with Clarence House prior to announcement, 1964–1965 A463, 1966/1
Visit of HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother – 1966 – Itinerary and overall programme, 1965–1966 A463, 1966/3
Visit of the Queen Mother to the ACT – Programme, 1966 A463, 1966/5
Visit of HM Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother – 1966 – Visit to South Australia – Programme, 1965–66 A463, 1966/6
Visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother 1966 – Visit to Western Australia – Programme, 1966 A463, 1966/7
Visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother 1966 to Victoria – Programme, 1965 A463, 1966/8
Visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother 1966 – Visit to Snowy Mountains – Programme, 1965–66 A463, 1966/9
Visit of HM Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother – 1966 – Use of aircraft – External – Instructions to flight personnel, 1966 A463, 1966/25
Visit of HM the Queen Mother – 1966 – Gift 1965–66 A463, 1966/45
Visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother 1966 – Speeches and addresses of loyalty, 1965–66 A463, 1966/48
Visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother 1966 – 2nd meeting with state directors (Adelaide), 1966 A463, 1966/51
Series: A1945
Recorded by: 1957–1974 Department of Defence (CA 46)
Visit to Australia by the Queen Mother 1966 A1945, 234/3/6
Series: A6122
Recorded by: 1949– Australian Security Intelligence Organization (CA 1297)
Government Heads of State – Visit to Australia of the Queen Mother – ASIO file, 1964–1966

Contains details of security checks conducted on Mobil employees who were to be involved in the refuelling of the Queen Mother's plane.

A6122, 1866
Series: A8281
Recorded by: 1954–1973 Australian News and Information Bureau, Canberra (CA 219)
Photo album, Royal Visit 1966 A8281, 26

Notes

Chapter notes | All notes

1 NAA: A1945, 234/1/1

2 NAA: A1533, 1957/2530 Part 1

3 The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 February 1958, p.1


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