Classic TV Guides: The 1959 Royal Tour

princessalexandraThe 1959 Australian visit by Princess Alexandra (pictured) was cause for Sydney’s three TV channels to jointly cover some of the official events during her brief stay in Canberra.

Covering events from the national capital was a considerable technical exercise for ABC in setting up local outside broadcast facilities and getting pictures sent direct from Canberra to Sydney for transmission.

Among the Princess’ tour diary on 17 August 1959 was visiting an assembly of schoolchildren at Canberra’s Manuka Oval, and that evening attending an official State Ball at (the old) Parliament House. ABC covered the events and made its coverage available to commercial channels ATN7 and TCN9.

Princess Alexandra, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II who was often called on to attend royal duties on the Queen’s behalf, was primarily in Australia to attend the Queensland centenary celebrations. After leaving Canberra, the Princess headed to Queensland, where she toured Brisbane and regional centres for three weeks to a huge public response.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane was named in her honour following the 1959 visit.

Coverage of the 1959 royal visit to Canberra features in the latest batch of additions to Classic TV Guides.



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