The Queen in Australia

Hand coloured photograph of the young Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
on the Royal Tour of Australia in 1954, documented in the film The Queen in Australia.
Photographer: Unknown

There is a program on ABC iview at the moment called 'The Queen in Australia' that records the first royal tour of Australia, produced and directed by Stanley Hawes.  It was the first colour, feature-length documentary to be made in Australia.

There is a rather romantic passage about Australia near the beginning (starts at about 04:10) where the voice on the wireless reads, to the accompaniment of equally romantic images, what could almost be a poem.

'They speak for nine million people spread across six states.

They speak for giant Queensland, beneath its Capricorn horizons, carpeted with sugar cane.
For Victoria, where channel and dam and sluice have wrested increase from the tawny soil.
For boundless Western Australia, where the axes sound to the towering Karri forest.

They speak for New South Wales, with its Blue Mountain ramparts, with its broad-breasted rivers rolling down to the Pacific.
For South Australia, for the vineyards of its wine country, loaded with their smoke-blue grapes.
For its clanging ship yards, risen from a bed of iron ore on the arid coastal flats.
For lake lovely Tasmania, encircled by the southern seas.

They speak for a land of shy and gentle creatures.
For the marsupial survivors of a time-lost world, of the emu, pacing his pavan in the sand.
For the lazy, lovable koala, cuddling the gum tree in his furry arms.

They speak for a continent among the oldest in its being, among the freshest and most fruitful in its modern doing.
Where wirey stockmen ride cattle stations five times and more the size of Cornwall, or County Clare.
Where the sheep move like rivers on the plains, like white clouds across the field.

They speak above all for a new nation, flexing its muscles, filling its spaces, inheriting its own.
Never complete, never content, growing, enriching, expanding.
To this ancient continent, to this youthful nation, they bid their sovereign and her husband welcome.'

Isn't it so gloriously idyllic?  I hope you were as entertained as I was.


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