The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited Lismore in February, 1954 and stayed at the humble Gollan Hotel

David Kirkpatrick
Updated September 12 2022 - 4:48pm, first published September 9 2022 - 8:50am

What must have Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh made of their humble lodgings at the Gollan Hotel in Lismore in February, 1954?

By all reports the rain had been pelting down during her visit, drenching the huge crowds that turned out to greet the royal couple.

They got out just in the nick of time, as a few days later Lismore flooded.

Ironically, the Gollan Hotel is still out of action after the February, 2022 flood, and precious memorabilia of the Queen's only pub stay in Australia have gone missing.

Thousands upon thousands turned out on February 10, 1954 for the Queen's one, and only, visit to Lismore.

Thousands of people are pictured lining the streets and every vantage point.

Just about everyone can be seen carrying an umbrella or underneath one.

Pictures from 1954, show the Queen being saluted by everyone from sharply dressed soldiers to boy scouts.

School children were bussed in for the day and the Queen and Duke was paraded around Oakes Oval.

The young queen and the Duke were put up in poshest corner room of the Gollan Hotel.

The second storey corner 'suite' had a nice bay window and a commanding view of the modest Lismore city centre.

It must have felt like a long way from Buckingham Palace.

God only knows what the Queen must have thought of the little table with flowers and the bed, which were pictured at the time.

They waved from the balcony of the Gollan and the next morning a crowd of about 5000 people waited to catch a glimpse of her as she stepped out resplendent in a stunning dress.

Bob McKenzie Senior, who was the publican at the Gollan for 20 years, remembers seeing the Queen in Lismore as part of her Coronation Tour.

He was a young man in his 20s at the time of her visit and told The Northern Star the crowds that day were estimated at up to 100,000 people.

"There wouldn't have been anyone at home - we've never seen crowds (like that) in Lismore since," he said.

"It was a massive day for Lismore."

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh stayed in the humble Gollan Hotel during their tour of Lismore in February, 1954. Picture by David Kirkpatrick
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh stayed in the humble Gollan Hotel during their tour of Lismore in February, 1954. Picture by David Kirkpatrick

In people's recollections of seeing the Queen that day all anyone can remember is the rain and the mud.

The Queen barely made it out of Lismore before it flooded.

She was whisked away to a waiting plane at Evans Head aerodrome and flew out.

David Kirkpatrick

I'm a media professional with over 34 years of experience in public relations and journalism, including a decade setting Lismore's news agenda as the editor of The Northern Star. I have proven track record in growing audiences and improving engagement by delivering quality local stories for and about the Lismore community.