ROYAL VISIT: Queen Elizabeth signing the visitors' book at the Rockhampton Town Hall on her 1954 visit to the city.
ROYAL VISIT: Queen Elizabeth signing the visitors' book at the Rockhampton Town Hall on her 1954 visit to the city.

'Wildly excited' schoolchildren welcome Queen to Rocky

FROM The Morning Bulletin in 1954.

BETWEEN 6000 and 7000 children from Rockhampton and Central Queensland schools yesterday went wild with excitement when they were lucky enough to have three separate views of her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth and his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh at the Town Hall.

The children's welcome to her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh was joyful and spontaneous.

Even before the Royal plane had landed at Connor Park they were eagerly pushing against the barriers that held them back from the roadway behind the Town Hall.

The children's cheering reached its vociferous peak as the Royal couple came into view.

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip visited Rockhampton in 1954.
Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip visited Rockhampton in 1954. The Morning Bulletin archive

Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh, riding in the back of the open car, smiled and waved happily as they passed the cheering ranks.

A further thrill for the schoolchildren was the appearance of the Royal couple on the balcony overlooking the grounds at the rear of the Town Hall.

Accompanied by the Mayor (Mr R.J.B. Pilbeam) and MrsPilbeam, her Majesty and the Duke stood for several minutes smiling and waving to the cheering mass of young faces that stared up at them from below.

Both her Majesty and the Duke appeared to enjoy the wildly excited demonstration.

The Mayor later said that her Majesty had inquired of the Mayoress the centres from which the children had come and had been told that most were from Rockhampton, but there were representatives from schools throughout the central division.

The Duke smilingly remarked to the Mayor that there appeared to be a number of old boys and girls among the children.

The Mayor said later that a number of adults, in their excitement and enthusiasm, had encroached on the enclosure reserved for children.

A special watching post was established on the veranda of a house opposite the Town Hall. Two pairs of binoculars were used to survey the long lines of waiting children and watch for any call for assistance.

Between 50 and 60 children collapsed during the day in which thousands were present.

One highlight not witnessed by the public was signing of the visitors' book at the Town Hall.

This book now contains the names of two members of the Royal Family. The Queen's uncle, the Dake of Gloucester, signed the book during his visit to Rockhampton in 1946.

The Queen signed "Elizabeth R March 15th 1954” and the Duke of Edinburgh signed "Phillip.” They used a fountain pen belonging to the Town Clerk (Mr G.A. Williams).