Brisbane illuminated - Royal tour 1954

One of the main attractions to coincide with the 1954 Royal visit to Brisbane of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was the Royal Tour illuminations. Initially planned to run every evening between 5th to 20th March, a number of public and private buildings, structures and spaces in central Brisbane were illuminated, including City Hall, the General Post Office, the Story, Victoria and Grey Street bridges, the Government Printing Office, Customs House and the Courier-Mail building. 

Victoria Bridge and Brisbane CBD buildings lit up for the Royal Visit in 1954. Queensland Newspapers Ltd. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Negative number: 45699

In the lead-up to the visit, police were concerned about an influx of cars to the city during the nights of the illuminations and urged visitors to use public transport. 

On the evening of 5th March the lights were officially switched on with an estimated 100,000 people in attendance. "In Queen Street, Wickham and Brunswick Streets sightseers were forced off the footpaths as thousands stared at the illuminated buildings," reported the Courier-Mail newspaper (6/3/1954, p.1).

Brisbane's Story Bridge decorated with lights, 1954. 30541 Brisbane Royal Visits 1954 and 1959 colour slides. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 30541-0001-0035

Those looking for a wider view flocked to Mt Coot-tha. According to the Courier-Mail (27/2/1954, p.3) authorities were prepared for this eventuality. Police were stationed along the road up to Mt Coot-tha while parking was restricted to 50 cars on the crest and another 200 from the the crest to the summit lookout. Upon leaving vehicles were diverted onto Sir Samuel Griffith Drive and then onto Simpsons Road at Bardon to keep traffic flowing.

Headline from The Courier-Mail, 6 March 1954, p.1

Headline from The Sunday Mail (Brisbane), 7 March 1954, p.1

Towards the end of the Royal Tour illuminations, Queensland Premier Vince Gair announced that the lighting of public buildings and spaces would continue for a further week, ending on 27th March. The Premier also appealed to private businesses with lights to consider extending their use.

Brisbane CBD buildings and Victoria Bridge lit up for the Royal Visit in 1954. 30541 Brisbane Royal Visits 1954 and 1959 colour slides. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 30541-0001-0002

Story Bridge, 1954 Royal Tour illuminations. 30541 Brisbane Royal Visits 1954 and 1959 colour slides. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 30541-0001-0036

Executive Building illuminated for the 1954 Royal tour, Brisbane. 30541 Brisbane Royal Visits 1954 and 1959 colour slides. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 30541-0001-0029

Illuminations in Queen Street, Brisbane, ready for the royal visit in 1954. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Negative number: 193584

View along part of Queen Street, 1954. 30541 Brisbane Royal Visits 1954 and 1959 colour slides. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 30541-0001-0013

Public Library of Queensland during the 1954 Royal tour. 30541 Brisbane Royal Visits 1954 and 1959 colour slides John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Negative number: 30541-0001-0030

Queen Street, Brisbane, with decorations for the royal visit in 1954. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Negative number: 62460

Night view of Cochran House, the home of the City Electric Light Company Limited, in Adelaide Street, Brisbane, illuminated for the Queen's visit in 1954. 31557 W.A. Jones & Co photographs. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 31557-0001-0025

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