While Queen Elizabeth II and the Dick of Edinburgh only glimpsed Lilydale as their royal train rolled through to Warburton in 1954, it didn’t stop the town from putting on a great show – even if it was a fleeting one.
The council and community formed a special committee and raised money to purchase souvenir flags for the school children as shown in our image.
Shops decked out in bunting and window displays as did the Main Street. Hotel were painted as were features in Main Street such as the band rotunda.
The Royal couple passed through Lilydale at 5.52pm on Saturday, March 6, and again on their return to Melbourne on Monday, March 8.
Thousands of people were expected and they lined the railway line embankment in the grounds of the Lilydale High School stretching from Melba Avenue to the Warburton Road bridge – children at the front adults behind them. It was estimated 20,000 to 30,00 people gathered along the embankment and more at other vantage points along the Warburton Railway – Mt Evelyn, Wandin and Seville.
The Crowd Sang
Using three fire brigade radio trucks, the people were given the signal when the train neared Lilydale so they could sing the National Anthem as the train went by.
The Queen and Duke stood on the back platform and waved at the cheering crowds. The Duke pointed out to the Queen the huge special floral sign.
The sign was created by the Lilydale Horticultural Society and included flowers from all parts of the district. It featured the royal visit colours – Lilydale was in red flowers against a white background. Above the sign was a golden crown and the insignia ERII.
Afterwards, it took almost an hour for the estimated 2,500 cars to leave the high school grounds and head home.
As our contribution to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the society has compiled articles about the couple’s 1954 visit through Lilydale and the many people who met or attended functions on the royal tour – from police, telephonists, telecommunications and flowers to garden parties, women’s luncheons and Ralph Goode receiving his MBE from the Queen.
Mr and Mrs O. Henderson of Silvan has a huge job. They supplied the flowers for the Princess Theatre where the Royal Command performance was staged and also the flowers for the Queen’s bedroom at Government House. When the royal couple visited the Repatriation Hospital in Heidelberg, the couple sent down masses of flowers for the wards.
The return trip on Monday through Lilydale was more subdued but still 1,000 people gathered to get their last look at the Queen and Duke. The Queen appeared on the observation platform and acknowledged the residents’ greetings.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh have both passed on but people of the district still remember the day they came to Lilydale and Warburton.
Lilydale Express Reports