From the archive: Queen Elizabeth II opening the 39th Parliament

16 September 2022 Read the heritage note

Watch highlights of the historic opening of the second session of the 39th Parliament of Victoria in February 1954.

An estimated 50,000 people gathered outside Parliament House on 25 February 1954 to welcome the newly crowned monarch and her husband Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. They were formally greeted by the Usher of the Black Rod.

The eight-week royal tour of Australia by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh was an extremely successful leg of a six-month tour of Commonwealth countries.

The first visit to Australia by a reigning monarch was described as a ‘high-point of royal adulation’ and one of the ‘last great pre-television events’.

Anticipation levels were close to feverish, following lengthy delays caused by the postponement and cancellation of earlier royal tours, the death of King George VI in 1952 and the celebrated coronation of the young Queen in 1953.

Parliament’s heritage collection contains a vinyl record of the Queen’s speech from the Council Chamber, and a red leather-bound album of 46 black and white photographic prints.

The photographs capture the Queen’s arrival at Parliament House, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness standing on the landing to take a formal salute, entering the vestibule where the President and Speaker being presented to the royal couple in the vestibule, Mr President reading the address of welcome, entering the library, and Her Majesty and His Royal Highness leaving Parliament House.

The National Film and Sound Archive has published this footage of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh's arrival at the Victorian Parliament from Sir Robert Menzies' home movie collection.

The visit is the subject of a 'Heritage Note' from the Parliamentary Library.