Queen Elizabeth visits Tasmania

The Royal Cavalcade carrying the Queen and Prince Phillip moves through the heart of Launceston on its way to the Town Hall.
The Royal Cavalcade carrying the Queen and Prince Phillip moves through the heart of Launceston on its way to the Town Hall.

“We’ll Always Remember ...” rang out The Examiner’s front page headline on Thursday, February 25, 1954, heralding the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Phillip.

She was the first reigning monarch of the Commonwealth to set foot on Tasmanian soil and the first set foot in Australia.

An estimated 75,000 people lined the streets of Launceston on Wednesday, February 24 to glimpse the royal cavalcade of the Queen and the Duke on their final day of their four-day visit to Tasmania.

All up, the Royal couple spent 40 days in Australia.

Their many official engagements included a garden party at Government House in Hobart and a night at the historic Connorville property at Cressy.

“In perfect, hot, sunny weather, thousands of people rose early to take part in the unique occasion,” The Examiner reported the following day.

“All along the Royal progress route, which stretched from Six Ways to York Park and back again, crowds gathered from 6am onwards to welcome the Queen and the Duke.''

In Launceston, the Queen spoke at the Town Hall, describing Launceston and it's adoring residents as warm and welcoming.

"My stay in Tasmania has, of necessity, been all too short, but we shall carry away happy memories of the charm of your island state and the steadfast kindness of its people," the Queen said.

During their brief overnight stay at Connorville, the Queen and Duke planted two trees in the gardens and met with members of staff. 

Later in the day, the Queen and Prince Phillip gave a moving farewell at Launceston Airport to more than 5000 waving, cheering people.

The Examiner's editorial of February 25 spruiked the Queen's visit to Launceston and reflected on the effect on the minds of the average Tasmanian.

Even back then, the chords of parochialism rang loudly. “The Royal visit to the Northern end of the island was much too short," it read.

" … but now that the Queen has gone it can be said emphatically that the basis of allocation of time between Hobart and the rest of the state was most unjust to the majority of the people of Tasmania."