Remembering the Queen’s NT visits and the way she introduced hope to drought-stricken Central Australia


Because the Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, stepped onto the tarmac at Alice Springs airport in 1963, she seemed round at what she had been advised was Australia’s “lifeless coronary heart”. 

However, as she stated in a speech that introduced hope to tons of who had suffered the ravages of a decade-long drought, that’s not what she noticed.

She noticed the “residing coronary heart” of the nation.

“After listening to my husband’s account of the dramatic surroundings, and concerning the work and hospitality of its folks, I used to be decided that the Northern Territory needs to be included on this go to,” she stated in a speech to locals.

“Any longer, I shall all the time look upon it as a residing coronary heart beating with assured vitality.”

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Queen Elizabeth II addresses Alice Springs residents in 1963

The Queen acknowledged that “metropolis dwellers” thought-about the land “a harsh nation with no redeeming options”.

“To the romantic, it’s the final frontier, the outpost of civilisation, the land of pioneers to be pitied in addition to admired,” she stated.

However she noticed Australia’s inside as “a land of promise”.

“After this go to, no-one will be capable to counsel to me that Central Australia is a lifeless coronary heart,” she stated.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh sitting in an open-top car.
The Queen takes a tour of Alice Springs throughout her go to in 1963.(Fb: Gerry Smyth)

It was the Royals’ first go to collectively to the Northern Territory and marked the tip of an intensive tour of Australia.

Robert Menzies was prime minister, William Sidney was governor-general, and the inhabitants of Australia on the finish of the 12 months was solely 10 million.

Old photo of the Queen and Prince walking arm in arm through a garden with a building in the background.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip go to the Royal Flying Docs base in Alice Springs.(Provided: Trudy Hayes, Alice Springs Public Library)

Native historian Stuart Traynor stated pleasure was at fever pitch when the royals arrived at Alice Springs Airport at 4:20pm on March 14.

Their schedule was packed, starting with an official welcome on the newly constructed Traeger Park.

“All the kids of the faculties have been lined up on the oval within the massive form of a boomerang,” Mr Traynor stated.

The Queen and Prince Philip stand in a car with an open top on an oval as photographers and people gather around.
An excited crowd welcomed Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to Traeger Park in Alice Springs.(Provided: Gavin Carpenter, Alice Springs Public Library)

The Queen and Prince Philip stayed two nights at The Residency on the nook of Parsons and Hartley Streets.

Historian Megg Kelham stated two new bogs have been put in for the Royal go to, as was air-con.

Within the Nineteen Nineties when The Residency was attributable to bear restoration works to return it to its authentic Twenties construct, Ms Kelham stated the Nationwide Belief objected. 

“What they wished to maintain was not the air-con system, however the bathroom that the Queen may need used,” Ms Kelham stated.

“Now this speaks to the distinctive character of Alice Springs. It is a very odd factor to wish to do.”

a woman with short grey hair sits in a heritage building
Megg Kelham at The Residency, the place Queen Elizabeth II stayed in 1963.(ABC Information: Xavier Martin)

Ms Kelham stated the Queen singled out her go to to Alice Springs in 1963 as a spotlight of that 12 months’s royal tour of Australia.

“The Queen was a girl of competence, a horse girl, who — if she wasn’t the Queen — would have in all probability been striding across the countryside in jodhpurs, not in skirts and crowns,” Ms Kelham stated. 

“I believe she may need recognised that within the ladies of central Australia.”

A rowdy lunch

Black and white archival newspaper with front page about the Queen's 1963 visit to Alice Springs.
The controversy was reported within the Centralian Advocate.(Provided: Alice Springs Public Library)

It was at an official royal luncheon held on the Stuart Arms Resort the place controversy unfolded.

Colonel Lionel Rose, the primary director of the Animal Trade Department within the Northern Territory, advised the 100 exuberant visitors to “shut up” — language not thought-about match for a queen.

Locals Keith and Shirley Citadel keep in mind the occasion clearly.

They have been excited to have been invited to have lunch with the Royals because of Mr Citadel’s position because the district governor for Apex on the time.

Mr Citadel stated the noise of all of the visitors was deafening.

“Lots of people would not cease speaking when folks have been making an attempt to make the speeches,” he stated.

Archival image of Queen Elizabeth II wearing a pale blue dress with white gloves in an Alice Springs street.
The Queen’s go to introduced much-needed hope and pleasure to drought-stricken Alice Springs.(Provided: Audrey Attwood, Alice Springs Public Library)

“Colonel Rose obtained up and stated, ‘Would you all shut up?’, which surprisingly had a much better impact than what the MC had been doing.”

Mr Citadel stated he was satisfied he noticed the Queen smile.

“I would not say she laughed however she definitely had a giant smile on her face, so did the Prince as nicely,” he stated.

Mr Traynor stated the furore was reported within the now-defunct native paper, the Centralian Advocate.

“A few days later [the paper] reported that they usually carried a letter from Colin Ford, the minister on the Flynn church who the Queen had met earlier,” he stated.

“He obtained caught into Colonel Rose, saying it was disgraceful for him to make use of that horrible language and the way it introduced disgrace on the folks of Alice Springs.”

Archival photo of a crowd surrounding Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, as the Queen shakes a man's hand.
The royal couple’s go to to Alice Springs was a serious occasion for the entire neighborhood.(Provided: Gavin Carpenter, Alice Springs Public Library)

The Castles stated it was a reminiscence they — and the remainder of the city — would all the time cherish.

a 93yo man at home holding a photo of himself meeting the queen
Victor Ludwig holding a photograph of the second he met Queen Elizabeth II in Darwin in 1977.(ABC Information: Dane Hirst)

A soccer grand last to recollect

Victor Ludwig nonetheless remembers the dos and don’ts of greeting Her Majesty in 1977 in Darwin.

“We had just a few gown rehearsals of easy methods to shake the Queen’s hand,” he stated. 

“You do not discuss to the Queen till you are spoken to. 

football team greeting the queen
St Mary’s soccer group assembly the Queen in 1977.(Provided)

“You do not begin the dialog — you wait till she speaks and also you reply — and if she desires some info, you give it to her.”

Then president of St Mary’s soccer membership, Mr Ludwig was chosen to host the Queen at a grand last soccer match in opposition to the Waratahs. 

Tensions have been excessive.

“When the Queen’s automotive obtained all the way down to the St Mary’s finish [of the oval], there was clapping and cheering — and some boos,” Mr Ludwig stated.

“Prince Philip appears to be like all the way down to my spouse and stated, ‘Why are they booing?’

“My spouse stated, ‘Properly, Your Royal Highness, the Queen, Her Majesty, is carrying the opposition membership colors’.”

a black and white photo of the queen next to a fancy car
Queen Elizabeth II visited Darwin once more in October, 1982.(Provided: Andy Matthewson)

When Little Miss Territorian met the Queen

On that very same 1977 tour, when Darwin was nonetheless rebuilding after Cyclone Tracy, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II unveiled a commemorative plaque in honour of the victims of the cyclone.

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Play Audio. Duration: 3 minutes 13 seconds

When Little Miss Territorian met the Queen

Whereas she was on the town, Queen Elizabeth was given a particular present from Little Miss Territorian, Tamara Johnson.

But it surely didn’t precisely go to plan.

Chatting with ABC Radio Darwin, Ms Johnson stated “the Lord Mayor on the time was Dr Ella Stack, and she or he was carrying the entire full lord mayoral robes”.

“So I really thought that the Lord Mayor was the Queen and tried to provide her the flowers as a substitute,” she stated. 

“I used to be six, almost seven … Prince Philip was grinning ear to ear.”

‘She was actually, actually beautiful’

When Margaret Kemarre ‘M Okay’ Turner heard Queen Elizabeth II was coming to Alice Springs in 2000, she eyed a golden alternative. 

“We simply advised her we do not need any extra kids to be locked up,” the Arrernte elder stated, pointing to the Northern Territory’s 1997 necessary sentencing legal guidelines.

“We wish to have our kids beside us and stay our life, stay our lives as folks, as households.”

an elderly aboriginal woman wearing a beanie holding a mug
Margaret Kemarre Turner says it was an excellent honour to have met Queen Elizabeth 22 years in the past.(ABC Information: Xavier Martin)

Dr Turner, board director of First Nations not-for-profit Kids’s Floor, stated she was happy the Queen visited Central Australia “to see who we’re, what we do and the way we stay”.

She stated she witnessed the difficult relationship some locals had with the British royal household.

“Everyone from the camps wished to go and see the Queen,” Dr Turner stated. 

“However a variety of our mob pushed different folks again. They thought she wasn’t the precise particular person to fulfill.

“I believe she was actually, actually beautiful.”

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