IT was a momentous summer's day in Bathurst in NSW's Central West when Queen Elizabeth II visited the city on February 12, 1954.
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The Western Times told how thousands of people gathered in the city's CBD to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh, with the crowd size later estimated to be between 80,000 to 90,000 people.
"It was the greatest crowd this city has ever known," the headline proclaimed.
So popular were the royal couple, that people began to arrive in Bathurst late Thursday night, and by midnight almost 4000 people were waiting.
"Scores of people, wrapped in blankets, slept on King's Parade in front of the dais where the civic reception was later held," the paper reported.
From dawn onwards many more thousands came into the city by both rail and road. The main highways were packed with slow-moving traffic and a series of special trains brought in another 10,000 people, mainly school children, to welcome the Queen.
The royal flight to Bathurst, comprising eight aircraft, arrived at Raglan Aerodrome. The Queen and the Duke were in a gleaming RAAF Dakota, their first flight in a military plane on the tour.
Three planes containing media had arrived earlier from Sydney. Other planes carried tour officials as well as RAAF maintenance and mechanics.
Bathurst gave the royal couple one of the most enthusiastic welcomes on the tour, with schoolchildren cheering the loudest. The royal LandRover travelled around 15kmh through crowds and slowed to under 5kmh when passing groups of children.
King's Parade was a solid mass of people milling around the welcome dais in front of the Civic Centre.
Here, they were welcomed by the chief secretary, Mr C. A. Kelly.
The royal couple walked along a 180-metre pathway through the park to the welcoming dais.
Schoolchildren in uniform were lined up 10 deep on either side of the pathway. Scores of people watched with periscopes as the Queen and the Duke stood together on the dais and the crowd sang God Save The Queen.
VETERAN photographer Phill Murray, who worked at the Western Advocate for over 50 years, saw the Queen in Bathurst twice.
First time was as a school student in 1954, and the second was a press photographer covering the 1982 tour.
Mr Murray has a clear recollection of both occasions.
"I was one of the school children down at the showground when she paraded through," he said.
"The only way you could go to the Queen was you had to have a school uniform and in those days not every child went to school with a uniform.
"So mothers were running around making sure every child had a school uniform leading up to it."
Fast forward almost 30 years to 1982, and Queen Elizabeth II made another trip to Bathurst, where she walked through the town's streets to City Hall, and greeted admirers along the way.
Mr Murray was front and centre with a camera in hand.
Everything was carefully planned, with media required to follow strict regulations and anyone handing flowers to the Queen as she walked past had been preapproved.
"I was informed that I was only to take photographs of Her Majesty about 12 or 13 feet away," Mr Murray said.
"On one occasion I got a bit too close because I thought this would make a better photo and as a result I felt myself being lifted off the ground and there was a big English security agent who literally picked me up and carried me back and just said, 'You're too close boy.' "
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