Sunday 21 February 2021

On This Day ... Almost

View into the Jamison Valley in the Blue Mountains

Last weekend the Pipistrellos took the train into the mountains to stay a night with our friends, the Good Doctors. A lovely time was had, bien sûr, poking about and rejoicing in their inspired choice of new holiday home in Wentworth Falls, as they are indeed in being also neighbours in the condominio wherein we roost. 

When the atmospheric mist had lifted, there was a cliff-edge photo opportunity during our Sunday walk, where my natural tendency to alarm at these vertiginous spots seemed to be distracted by keeping an eye on the horizon, and look, Dear Reader, I'm even touching the railing!

Summertime dressing in Wentworth Falls!

I was surprised to discover, upon our return, that it was on this same day in 1954, (well, almost, just two days off), that dear ERII also partook of a mandatory photographic opportunity at the nearby Echo Point lookout whilst on her Commonwealth Royal Tour. All Hail, Elizabeth the Queen:

There was a little more fanfare to her visit, and she even had her own train shepherd her through the mountains, where we were obliged to use a more Public kind of Transport.

ERII departing in personalised style at Leura Station

We did also espy rather a lot of active wear on the persons who were perambulating with us around various lookouts and walking tracks. It seems to be the National Uniform now, around these parts. Not so, 67 years ago. If you were going to gulp in a bit of fresh mountain air then, it was worth dressing up for!

Wigs, chains-of-office and pocket squares, essential!

Image credits: 1, 2: Flying With Hands; 3: Getty Images; 4: NSW State Archives via Flickr; 5: Wikimedia Commons


  1. What fabulous photos of Queen Elizabeth II - and Prince Philip (who is hospitalized currently, Prince Charles went to visit him today) during their visit so long ago to your beautiful Blue Mountains. Love that train!
    Yes, active wear has become the norm most everywhere it seems - mine is mostly stashed away awaiting some genuine, more adventurous 'activity' to return - the woolly bits probably have the moth in them by now!!!!
    Several pieces have now been renamed 'comfort wear' and are definitely cozy in the winter house, garden and those outings to pick up groceries.
    Stay well and be safe.

  2. A fabulous area. My good friend, the writer Mary Moody, lived in that area. She originally had a farm near Bathurst, but now lives in Lithgow (I think). She raves about the area, and rightly so. Good to see HM enjoying herself there. A lovely lady.

  3. My parents were not monarchists, but primary schools were still singing God Save The Queen at assemblies and still saluting the flag in 1954. So that was a huge year for my generation. I remember almost a 100,000 people crowding into the MCG, with school children everywhere.

    The queen drove slowly around the outer edge of the athletic track, waving to everyone.

  4. Mary: I did not know Prince Philip was ill, poor dear! ... Yes, the train is something I'd like to seek out at some point as I daresay it's living somewhere in mothballs now in this jetset age ... Speaking of, I do hope moths haven't been making merry in your home! They really seem to have no palate for lycra, mores the pity :) xx

    Cro: Mary Moody? I don't know her books, but her name is familiar. I had a quick google and see she's recently widowed, sadly, but keeping busy. It's a lovely part of greater Sydney and I read that HM was so taken with the Leura lookout stop, they stayed an extra 10 minutes beyond the schedule. I'm guessing that's as good as it gets for kicking up your heels on the old Royal Tours!

    Hels: What a fun memory! It was the fanfare and unique celebrity of these Royal Visits that probably make them so memorable, not that anyone ever gets to see more than a hat in a distant limousine. The same hordes of schoolchildren attended even the visit to the Blue Mountains, coming in from the nearby village schools. It was estimated that 75,000 people lined the route from the station to the lookout ... It was before my time but my horrid high school had pics in the administration corridor of the 1970 visit when she visited the school. I could never fathom why.

  5. What lovely photos and how lucky for your to have friends with a holiday home in the mountains. Such a long and gruelling tour of the Commonwealth but with many fond memories for the Queen and Prince Philip. Anne and Charles were of course left at home. It must have been staggeringly exhausting. Yes, Philip is now 99 and goes in and out of hospital on a fairly regular basis.

  6. Hello Pipistrello, The Blue Mountains are quite majestic, and I would like to visit there, but most of the time I prefer nature views that are more intimate, such as a brook winding through the woods.

  7. Beautiful cliff side views. Quite a drop. I, too, would be holding the railing. The Queen looks lovely, where did the time go? Train travel is always my favorite. Walking in the forest among the trees and streams is a great past time. Enjoy your stay.

  8. You are so fortunate to still be able to catch a train and then be able to meet up with your good friends and actually stay the night. Hopefully in the months ahead and with improvements, we may too be able to do something similar.
    I am a mountain person so your Blue Mountain terrain definitely appeals, and judging by the photos of the Queen it looks as if the same must be true of her too.

  9. What a beautiful place tp take a train ride to. I am sure HM travelled in a bit more comfort and was accompanied by much more pomp. Everything was much more formal in those days, including the clothing - although I think people might dress up in something a bit better than leisure wear if she had to return there.

  10. I too found it fascinating to see such a young version of Her Majesty

  11. Rachel: Yes, we're very lucky and it was a lovely little mountain sojourn. The stamina required of these tours would floor a lesser person like myself. I do wonder if they keep a scrapbook of the countries visited, like her subjects who keep all manner of memorabilia when a Royal Visit passes through their lives? I'd like to imagine she and Philip must still have remembered some of the scenic highlights as William & Kate had a photo op at the same lookout this century.

    Jim: The Blue Mountains are rather forbidding in parts, with plenty of opportunities for misfortune such as falls or losing oneself, not to mention spiders-and-snakes, so I'm more than happy to take in the vistas from a secure footing! Brooks-and-woods sounds idyllic.

    Susan: Thank you, it was a short and sweet break, and I'm sure there'll be more opportunities, especially when winter-proper comes, when visits there come into their own. We love train travel and it's great at the moment as it's so quiet with passengers.

    Rosemary: Your time will come again, soon enough! Mountains here are so small and time-worn and infrequently found that they are a huge magnet for visiting. The Blue Mountains especially so as they cover such a relatively large territory. It's always rather exciting, almost awe-striking, to see proper mountains when we travel abroad.

    Loree: Indeed! ... The thrill for the subjects of a 1950s Royal Tour was like no other, I imagine, and we still get big crowds turning out whenever royalty comes to town, but without the overdone formality and lasting fervour. I read that a specially-woven carpet for another lookout she visited that day was later cut into tiny squares for distribution as memorabilia - like a relic!

    Ur-spo: Her broad and sunny smile hasn't changed a bit!

  12. She looked so beautiful and radiant, Queen Elizabeth!

    And as a lover of hats I must say that these caps of the late Fifties (I think) are really a crowning glory (and not so difficult to keep on your head as my huge ones when the wind starts to play with them in Hamburg :-)

    I utterly agree with dressing up for different occasions. There is some link to rituals, there is estimation of the occasion AND the people who join in. Of course it is a bit more toil - so what?

    These C-Days I see so many people whose outfit says: "I do not care" - you know those book-titles (bestsellers!) about "How not to give a f..." - I adore people who do! People who go that little bit further to reach a railing.

    And thank you for these beautiful photos!


  14. Interesting post; but a Pipistrello with a fear of heights, yet flying with hands, is all a bit odd. But odd is good, in my opinion.

  15. Britta: I dare say, HM has never had a bad photograph taken, she is very photogenic. She's months into the Royal Tour at the point they come to the Blue Mountains and still looks delighted at each stop ... While society does not dictate we must wear only a futuristic uni-sex uniform, I'm fully embracing the Dressed Up look daily. I'm a hat lover, too, and am well acquainted with the pins necessary for this windy city but have no little 50s-style caps in my collection as sun-shading is usually the aim. You have me thinking - I can reach that railing with the employment of a parasol!

    Contessa: Haha, almost in her footsteps! Your days for venturing out of the Casa will be coming soon. We were only gone the one night and the mountains seemed to be a drawcard for a vast horde from the city as it was also Valentine's Day that weekend, of which we were quite unaware as we don't go in for that sort of thing! It was a lovely outing, nonetheless; and no news on Prince Philip except that he's in good spirits, apparently. xx

    Andrew: Ah, you see the riddle, evidently. Instructions aren't included :)

  16. Following in illustrious footsteps Pip .... it all looks absolutely beautiful and magical. I don’t have a problem with heights but the top of the Albert Hall can be challenging .... it’s really, really steep !!!! I know some people who can’’t book tickets if they are the only ones left !!! XXXx

  17. Jackie: Oh, I know of what you speak! We've an old theatre in the city that is terrifying when you're up in the gods. Getting up is one thing, but coming down ... Designed for mountain goats!! xx

  18. There was a lady named Pipistrello
    who once to me said hello
    Acrophobia let her eyes sailing
    her hands taking grip of a railing
    Perhaps she should start playing cello.

  19. Sean: Bravo!
    So close you are,
    How could you know?
    The Doctor in Green
    Doth play the cello!


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