1954 Australian Tour: Newcastle, Lismore and Dubbo

Royal HatsOn Tuesday, February 9, 1954, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh continued their tour of Australia, journeying from Sydney to Newcastle by train. For their day in Newcastle, which included a civic reception, multiple speeches, a gathering of former servicemen, a rally for thousands of schoolchildren and visit a steelworks, the Queen wore a floral printed shirtwaist dress topped with a pale calot hat with bonnet-style front. The hat had an interesting coiled pyramid braid trim on the side.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

The royal couple flew that evening from Williamtown to Evans Head and spent the night in Lismore. On February 10, 1954, they spent the morning in Lismore and flew to Dubbo mid afternoon for a two hour visit including: an official welcome, war memorial visit, military personnel inspection, and walk about the Dubbo Agricultural Show (which had been moved from its usual May date to coincide with the royal visit). For this whirlwind day, Queen Elizabeth wore a floral print dress with sweetheart neckline with matching peplum jacket which was removed in the heat of the day. Her dark calot looks to be a layered crescent shape with light coloured bow on the side.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Hats aside, one journalist described the pace of events and travel over these two days as ““undignified” and “sheer madness.”  These photos show a queen who looks elegant, calm and unflappable.

Images from Getty as indicated

20 thoughts on “1954 Australian Tour: Newcastle, Lismore and Dubbo

  1. I seem to remember the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s tour schedule in New Zealand and Australia had more like two events a day whereas the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have more like 4 events a day. I could be wrong, but that’s what I recall. If this is true that was quite a harrowing schedule!

  2. I remember watching these news reels as a child. My mother said that Queen Elizabeth always wore small hats so that everyone could see her face.

    • I agree that royal doings were fascinating at the time and Her Majesty’s hats would attract comment, not least because every lady had a view about the kind of hat that suited them personally! What Her Majesty wore set a standard, didn’t it? Those were the days when her choice of a hat could cause a flutter of interest everywhere!

  3. Mittenmary, the February 10 ensemble was also worn in Wellington, NZ, and again on March 26 in Sunraysia. The video is absolutely incredible, showing HM’s hat in living color. It could easily have been worn on Christmas down under. I’m still trying to locate a color phot of the hat worn on February 9th.

    Wellington Airport, NZ
    Embed from Getty Images

    March 26, 1954: Sunraysia

  4. Both hats feature such interesting details — the coiled braided pyramid and the bow emerging from the calot.

    Is anyone else starting to feel fatigued on behalf of HM on this whirlwind schedule? I’m remembering two things from The Crown: that she was amazed by the scope of the wardrobe and the expectation that she would not repeat outfits, and also that she needed an injection of some muscle relaxer in her cheek from having to smile so much. Would love to know how much of that is true!

    • Researching this tour has left me gobsmacked by its schedule, and by the huge numbers of people who turned out. The population of Dubbo was ~10,000 at the time yet 50.000 reportedly turned up to see the queen- and she was there for just 2 hours.

  5. This style of hat is the epitome of the 1950s as far as hats are concerned and I’ve always been intrigued by this design.

  6. HatQueen, I’m very much enjoying this coverage of the 1954 tour. So far all the hats we’ve seen are small in scale and well off the face. It would be really interesting to see what type of hat the Queen was wearing to other events in the mid-fifties that were on a more “private” (insofar as anything the Queen does is private) scale. I’m wondering if what we’re seeing is entirely the result of fashion, or whether a major component was to make sure even more than usual that everyone would have a good view of the Queen, given what a huge event the tour was, and what massive crowds were expected to be there in person.

  7. How lovely the young Queen looks in these pictures! The fashions of the time suited her well.
    The little hat in the first photograph was called a “tuile de Paris” in French: a Parisian roof tile. It was a very popular shape in the early 1950’s: femine, flattering and easy to wear.

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