145 Minutes in Wagga

In February 2014, we revisited the 1954 Royal Tour from Wagga Wagga's perspective with an exhibition of material from both our own collection and the Museum of the Riverina. The exhibition included photographs, commemorative items, and a 15 minute film of the visit.

The front page of the Daily Advertiser on 14 February 1954 (a special Sunday souvenir edition) carried the headline, "Wagga's Greatest Day". The Editorial read:

Yesterday the Queen of Australia rode in triumph through the streets of Wagga. For 145 thrill-packed minutes, the centre of the Riverina became the heart of the mighty British Commonwealth.

Estimates vary as to the exact number of people who crammed Wagga's streets to catch a glimpse of the royal couple, but most range from between 80,000 to in excess of 100,000. This number becomes even more significant when one considers that the population of Wagga Wagga at the time was only 18,500 and that the temperature reached 92 degrees Fahrenheit on the day (the hottest of the entire 10 day royal tour).

Browse the Royal Tour Gallery to see for yourself just how many people turned up for that 145 minutes.

And if you would like to know more about Wagga's preparations for the Royal Tour and what happened on the day itself, there is more information to be found on our blog, On Record.