Object of the Week: 1954 Royal Tour Pennant
On 3 February 1954 Queen Elizabeth II and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Sydney Harbour on the Royal Yacht Gothic, commencing their royal tour of Australia. It was the first visit to Australia of a reigning monarch, and the royal couple ‘received the most tumultuous greeting Sydney has given any visitor… Police estimated that 1,000,000 people lined the city streets and Farm Cove.’ (‘SYDNEY CHEERS THE QUEEN’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 February 1954, p. 1)
Between 3 February and 1 April the Queen visited cities and towns throughout the nation’s states and territories. The Royal Yacht Gothic, which transported the royal party on much of their Australian visit, was escorted by ships of the Royal Australian Navy, including HMA Ships Australia, Quadrant and Anzac. This felt pennant (00001529) was issued not only to commemorate the royal visit, but also the participation of HMAS Australia as escort vessel to the Royal Yacht Gothic.
HMAS Australia (II) was a County class heavy cruiser of the Royal Australian Navy launched on 17 March 1927. During World War II it conducted operations in the Indian and South Atlantic Oceans acting as a convoy escort and protecting shipping routes. The ship also served in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Guadalcanal invasion, the Battle of Leyte Gulf and allied landings at Lingayen Gulf.