On her last day of the Royal Australian Tour in 1954, Sydney turned out to catch a final glimpse of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, before the couple departed our shores for New Zealand. At St Leonards Park in North Sydney, the largest gathering of school children – some 48,000 – waited for three hours in searing summer heat to see the glamorous young Monarch.
From the Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 19 February, 1954.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh delighted more than 48,000 cheering, wildly excited school children in a 10-minute drive through St Leonards Park, North Sydney at midday yesterday.
As the Royal car entered a “Z” laneway in the park, the Queen and the Duke, who were seated, waved and smiled at the children, but those at the rear of the 10-deep crush could not see.
The Queen stopped waving and turned to the Duke as they passed the music shell, about 100 yards from the Miller St entrance.
Photo Exclusive: 48,000 school children wave to Queen Elizabeth at St Leonards Park, North Sydney in 1954.
A few seconds later the Royal couple stood up, holding on to the edge of the car roof and pleasing the children immediately.
The children, from 131 schools in Sydney and suburbs began to pour into the park at 9am.
St John Ambulance officials treated more than 250 children and adults who collapsed under the blazing sun during their long wait.
Five casualty stations were set up by St John Ambulance men and nurses. Central District Ambulance established four posts.