This month 60 years ago Queen Elizabeth II came to Newcastle. She was met by a crowd of 44,000 schoolchildren at the Broadmeadow Showground, where Her Majesty toured the site of the upcoming Newcastle Show.
Read the Newcastle Herald from the next day here.
Were you there, or did members of your family attend? We want to hear your stories. Share your memories in the comments field below.
IT was, they say, the greatest Newcastle Show of all.
And it was all thanks to a woman who did not even attend. Still, that sort of thing can happen when the woman is question is the Queen.
The monarch and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, visited Newcastle 60 years ago.
They arrived on February 9, 1954, two weeks before the show.
Under a front-page headline that read ‘‘Queen enchants Newcastle’’, the Newcastle Herald reported up to 250,000 people turned out in drizzling rain to welcome the royal couple.
‘‘The streets echoed with the cheers of welcome to the first reigning Sovereign to visit the city,’’ read the report.
After arriving at the railway station, the Queen and duke toured the city, the sportsground and BHP, while about 44,000 schoolchildren packed the showgrounds.
The buzz in the city endured for the show.
Former Newcastle Show Association member Tony Negline said the visit had a profound impact on the ‘‘presentation, mood and atmosphere’’ of the show, which had never been matched since.
Mr Negline said every attraction had a royal flavour and the show was decorated accordingly.
‘‘There were portraits of the Queen and the duke, sideshow alley offered plaques and buttons of the royal couple as prizes, The Coronation was screened in a free theatrette and prizes were awarded to decorative cakes with iced pictures of the Queen,’’ Mr Negline said.
Among those who caught a glimpse of the royals on their fleeting visit was Kath Watkins.
She was 22 when she caught a glimpse of the Queen passing Broadmeadow station on a train from Sydney to Newcastle.
‘‘She stood on the back of the last carriage, smiled and waved,’’ Mrs Watkins said.
‘‘There was so much excitement in the crowd because it was a privilege to see her.’’
Mrs Watkins created a scrapbook with newspaper cuttings of the Queen’s visit to Australia and said that, even without it, seeing the Queen was ‘‘something you never forget’’.