Celebrating the Queen's monumental reign

MONUMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT: Orange and District Historical Society’s Phil Stevenson and Marie Hammond will co-ordinate an exhibition about the Queen to mark the monarch’s Diamond Jubilee. Photo: MARK LOGAN. 0205mlcoronation
MONUMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT: Orange and District Historical Society’s Phil Stevenson and Marie Hammond will co-ordinate an exhibition about the Queen to mark the monarch’s Diamond Jubilee. Photo: MARK LOGAN. 0205mlcoronation

ON this day 60 years ago, Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the English throne when her father King George VI died.

To mark the occasion of her coronation the following year (1953), Orange’s Rotary Club built a monument on the newly renamed Coronation Drive.

This year Orange will join with countries all over the Commonwealth to mark the Diamond Jubilee with a special exhibition at the Orange Regional Gallery in June.

Orange City Council has allocated $5000 towards celebrating the jubilee, $2000 of which will go towards funding the exhibition organised by the Orange and District Historical Society.

The society’s president Phil Stevenson said it was important to mark the longevity of the Queen’s reign and what she represented as Australia’s head of state.

“She’s well on her way to breaking Queen Victoria’s record,” he said.

“She represents our whole political system.

“Our whole constitution and government is based around it.”

Queen Victoria ruled for 63 years and seven months.

Memorabilia, photographs and films from the Queen’s first and only visit to Orange in 1970 will feature in the exhibition along with displays from her coronation in 1953, visit to Bathurst in 1954, and her silver and golden jubilees.

But organisers are still on the lookout for more.

Mr Stevenson has fond memories of the Queen’s visit to the central west in 1954 when he travelled to Bathurst on the train with his classmates to see the monarch.

While interest in the royal family has waned among the younger generation, the exhibition’s co-ordinator Marie Hammond expects older residents will enjoy the opportunity to rekindle their memories of the Queen’s reign.

“Some might have met her, some people travelled vast distances to see a royal tour,” she said.

The society will also send the Queen a copy of Alf Manciagli’s book Colours of Orange as a gift to mark her 60 year reign.

“The Queen goes to various towns and cities and she never sees them,” Mrs Hammond said.

“All she sees is lines of people.

Anyone with items relating to the Queen, the coronation or her visits to Australia they would like include in the exhibition can contact Marie Hammond on 6360 4799 or info@rylerns.com.au, or Phil Stevenson on 0402 412 188 or ibiswines@bigpond.com.