Footage of Royal visit to Wollongong published

Footage of Royal visit to Wollongong published

UOW Library has digitised and published rare footage of the 1954 Royal visit to Wollongong.

It was arguably one the biggest days in Wollongong’s history, with local dignitaries and thousands of spectators packed into the city centre to catch a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip during their visit in February 1954.

Now, 60 years later, the excitement of the day has been brought back to life, with original footage of the Royal procession, as well as memorabilia including maps, programs and newspaper coverage, being published online by the University of Wollongong Library.

The seven-minute film, along with original commentary, has been digitised and published by the UOW Library in time for the Queen’s birthday long weekend.

The original 35 mm film was produced by Wollongong Theatres and was shown at local picture houses at the time. It was acquired by UOW Library from a local collector in January 2014 and is now available to watch online, along with a gallery of ‘now and then’ images from along the route of the Royal procession. 

At the time, 15-year-old school captain of Wollongong High School, Margaret Toughed (nee Buttel), was chosen to deliver a welcome speech at the Wollongong Showground.

“I was only 15 at the time and I still look back on the occasion with a feeling of great thrill at participating in a part of history. It was the first time a ruling Monarch had visited Australia and to be asked to deliver a speech on such a special occasion was the most exciting thing to happen to me,” she said.

UOW Library Associate Director Lisa McIntosh said the film is an important addition to the Library’s digital collection.

“The Library is committed to building digital collections that are of enduring value to both the research community and the general public. This footage is a lovely study in how the Illawarra came together to celebrate a Royal Visit,” she added.

Note to media: The film and additional materials can be viewed on the UOW Library Digital Collections website.

Media contact: Karen Illesca, UOW Library Communications and Promotions Coordinator, (02) 4221 3284 or