Monday, August 24, 2009

The 1954 Royal Tour

Queen Elizabeth II is the only reigning British monarch to have set foot on terra australis. On the gold and blue morning of 3 February 1954, in the presence of a massive crowd, one million and more, she cam ashore at Farm Cove. This journey through Australia would be the longest single part of a six-month post-Coronation tour through twelve Commonwealth countries. In the eight weeks allotted to Australia, the Queen and her husband travelled to every capital city bar Darwin, and to seventy country towns.

In Janet Withers 2008 One Brisbane One Story short story “Winged Feet” it’s 1954, Queen Elizabeth is coming to Brisbane, and Flora’s school will participate in the welcome dance pageant. But how can she reconcile this with her father’s anti-royalist views? And should his socialist ideals prevail to move the family from the beautiful Clayfield home and garden that her mother loves?

When I told my father that the Queen was coming to visit he exploded. ‘The Queen! Down with the Queen and the Monarchy. She’s not even a reader, the Queen. She reads the Women’s Weekly and has trouble digesting that.’ …

‘Banish from under your bonny skies / Those old-world errors and wrongs and lies,’ quoted Dad from Henry Lawson. ‘We want a classless society, where all are free and equally educated. Down with the Queen and all she stands for!’

Conflict and loyalty are explored in “Winged Feet” amid a chorus of birds and a remembered streetscape of trees and flowers that add sparkle to this unconventional family story.

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