1954 Australian Tour: Sydney

Royal HatsOn the morning of February 18, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip departed Canberra by plane to return to Sydney where they visited the Balmoral Naval Depot. For this travel and visit, the Queen wore a dress with horizontally pleated yoke, sleeves and skirt, topped with an embellished calot/beret hat.

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That afternoon, the couple attended a garden party at Government House. The queen wore a fitted lace column dress that stood out thanks to its silhouette, which was completely different from all of the full skirted looks Her Majesty had worn so far on the tour, and for its accompanying very dramatic hat. The hat’s shallow black straw crown was balanced by a wide transparent black crin brim, it’s two layers sandwiching ostrich feathers described by the Sydney Herald as “vivid scarlet, emerald green and pale blue”. The design was finished with a slim black velvet hatband that tied in a trailing bow at the back. While most of the ensembles and hats worn on the tour had been worn earlier in the Caribbean and New Zealand, this was this ensemble’s first outing. We can only imagine now much more magnificent it was in colour!

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The Sydney Living Museum collection includes this fantastic photo of four Sydney policewomen, in a quartet of wonderful hats, who attended the garden party. While not royal, it certainly speaks to the fashion and excitement of the day.

Following the garden party, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip boarded their ship, Gothic, to depart for Tasmania. We’ll pick up the tour there next!

Images from Getty as indicated

8 thoughts on “1954 Australian Tour: Sydney

  1. Being escorted back to the SS Gothic at the end of the NSW tour in Sydney.
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    The next day, the Sydney Morning Herald printed a wonderful article describing the huge party at Government House. Scroll almost 1/2 way down the left column where the article has been retyped, for a detailed account of this fantastic hat.

    Though the hat was only worn once that we know of, HM’s beautiful Hady Amies dress made an encore appearance in Ceylon. This time, her black brimless hat featured seven concentric circles on the crown. It was also worn the following month, when her two children caught up with her in Gibraltar for some fun monkey business. By enlarging the photos, the unique design can be easily seen.

    April 10, 1954: Ceylon
    May 11, 1954: Rock of Gibraltar
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    • Such vivid reporting from the Sydney Morning Herald! I sympathize with the sweltering crowds. What a surprise to read about the multi-colored ostrich feathers between the layers of straw.I always thought this iconic hat was black and white.

      Love the photo of the four Sydney policewomen!

  2. Interesting to see the Duke of Edinburgh wearing a gray morning suit (with accompanying gray topper) rather than black coat and striped trousers. I can’t remember another photo of him in a morning suit. Very appropriate for the warm weather during their trip, and for a young man as he was then.

  3. That picture hat has become iconic hasn’t it. It’s even specifically mentioned in Pamela Hicks’ book. Great to see more pictures of the event, it’s a shame there haven’t been pics of it on show as there are for many of her hats, as the detail on the top is intriguing. Paired with that beautiful dress is also a big part of the look, it’s almost slinky isn’t it. Absolute 50s perfection.

  4. Great photos of the garden party! I’ve only ever seen one, so these are fantastic! Wonderful hats and dresses in you whole retrospective Hat Queen. Thank you for doing this! It’s been fun and informative.

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