Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Melbourne, the Olympic City

With the upcoming Olympic Games in London, it is interesting to reflect on the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.  Melbournians, indeed Australians, regarded hosting the games as an opportunity to appear as a major nation on the world stage.  Between November 22 and December 8, 1956, more than 2  million people attended the events.  Melbourne was decorated and filled with visitors representing sixty-seven nations.  To add to the celebrations, a number of local businesses produced leaflets and pamphlets showcasing Melbourne: many Australians considered the Games as a sign of our "coming of age".

The RHSV holds an interesting collection of ephemera which includes some brochures from the Melbourne Olympics. Melbourne, the Olympic City is a map for visitors which highlights the attractions of the city: Flinders Street Railway Station, the Shrine of Remembrance, the Public Library and a  number of other buildings.  The Souvenir Programme Olympic Games priced at one shilling, details the members of the Olympic Committee, gives the prices of admission tickets and sets out the Games programme and venues.

After the games, a 1956 Olympic Games Results and Records brochure was produced.  With 13 gold medals, Australia's tally was the highest it had yet scored.  Betty Cuthbert, Murray Rose, Shirley Strickland and the members of the Athletics and Swimming relay teams became heroes to school children and adults alike.  Older Australians may remember attending newly completed Olympic venues. Significant for many was the advent of television, which broadcasted many of the events, whilst all over the country others were "glued to the radio". 

Annual CJ La Trobe / AGL Shaw RHSV joint lecture

Dianne Reilly, President of the CJ La Trobe Society, guest speaker Susan Priestley, and RHSV President Dr Andrew Lemon at the lecture last night.
The subject of the annual CJ La Trobe/AGL Shaw Lecture last night was "Crises of 1852 for Victoria’s Lieutenant Governor La Trobe and new arrivals Captain William Dugdale and Henrietta Augusta Davies".
Susan Priestley, MA, FRHSV, and a past president of the RHSV, is an independent historian whose life of the London-born secularist, rationalist, and rights activist Henrietta Dugdale was published in 2011.

The discovery of gold in Victoria started an extraordinary influx of nearly 1700 overseas ships during the year, whose passengers and deserting crew, together with intercolonial migrants, more than doubled the colony’s pre-gold population, and induced crises in accommodation, provisioning, labour, business, public health and policing which the new administration struggled to control. On the last day of 1852, an overworked CJ La Trobe penned his resignation from the position he had held for 13 years. Among the new arrivals were Henrietta Augusta Davies nee Worrell, her first husband and two husbands-to-be. Their experiences offer individual insight into the myriad ways in which Victoria’s new society was shaped.

Henrietta Dugdale featured in Clare Wright's Utopia Girls: how women won the vote which aired on ABC television last week.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Planning notes for the 1954 Royal Visit

Planning notes for the 1954 Royal Visit, presented to the RHSV
by Colonel Ralph Sutton

With the recent interest in the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II it is worth noting that the RHSV Collections contain a number of items relating to Her Majesty, in particular, to the Royal Visit in 1954. Several items were donated to the RHSV by a volunteer, Colonel Ralph Sutton. Colonel Sutton had been in charge of organising the transport arrangements for the proposed 1952 Royal Visit which was cancelled following the death of King George VI. Colonel Sutton’s planning formed the basis for the 1954 visit, although for family reasons he himself was unable take charge of arrangements. 
Among the many interesting items which Colonel Sutton donated to the Society was the book of Planning Notes for the Tour. This book outlines in fascinating detail the arrangements for travel by ship, aircraft, train and car, including instructions as to exact routes to be followed, where vehicles were to stop, and how, where and by whom the Royal couple were to be greeted.  Details of driving speeds, police escorts, handling of the Press, telephones and radios required, how and where flags were to be displayed, and a wide variety of other arrangements are covered.
Other items included in Colonel Sutton’s donations include personal car pennants and signed photographs of both the Queen and Prince Phillip, as personal expressions of thanks for the Colonel’s part in organising a very successful visit.