Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Victory Day Parade - 1946

On 10 June 1946, cities throughout Australia officially celebrated Victory Day - the end of World War II – with public processions and celebrations attended by record-breaking crowds. In Sydney, 750,000 people packed the parade route, 300,000 jammed the streets of Melbourne, and Brisbane’s celebrations ran from morning until midnight and attracted 150,000 people.
Crowds pack the route of the Victory Day parade, outside the Railway Station, Townsville, 10 June 1946.
Photo: Private Collection of Trisha Fielding.
Townsville, which had played a significant role as a strategic base for the Allied war effort in the Pacific, celebrated Victory Day with a full day of activities, including a parade and a special luncheon for 700 ex-servicemen.

The Townsville Daily Bulletin reported enthusiastically on the “Spectacular Parade in Townsville”:

“On Monday, Australia celebrated the triumph of the Empire and Britain’s allies in their victorious struggle against the Axis powers’ bid for world domination. It was a day of demonstration and rejoicing throughout the nation in every city and town.
Floats in the Victory Day Parade, 10 June 1946, passing the Queens Hotel, The Strand, Townsville.
Photo: Townsville City Libraries.
“Nowhere in the whole of Australia could the people have entered more wholeheartedly in the celebration of Victory Day than in Townsville. The procession through Flinders Street, the attractions at the Show Grounds, and the illuminations in the city attracted the greatest concourse of people ever seen in Townsville.

“It was Victory Day, and the people of our city, remembering particularly the grim days of 1942, were out to celebrate and forget the anxieties of the war, happily now past.”

Well in advance of the procession’s start time, people streamed into the city from all suburbs, eager to occupy the best vantage points along the route.
The float of Samuel Allen & Sons Ltd., in the Victory Day Parade, 10 June 1946, passing the Criterion Hotel, The Strand, Townsville.
Photo: Townsville City Libraries.
“The procession was representative of the three armed services. Ex-servicemen and local bodies marched and numerous appropriate floats went to make up probably the greatest spectacle we have ever seen. Essential services which functioned so well in the war, were represented.

“At the Show Grounds sports, a fireworks display, a concert, and community singing entertained large crowds throughout the day and evening. In the vicinity of 700 ex-servicemen who joined the colours from Townsville, were entertained at a luncheon in the grounds.”
The Townsville Sea Scouts' float, with a model of HMS Victory, in the Victory Day Parade, 10 June 1946, Townsville.
Photo: Townsville City Libraries.
The Mayor, Alderman J.S. Gill, officiated at the luncheon, which had been catered by the city’s Women’s organisations.

“Today we are gathered here to commemorate Victory Day, a day that will be long revered and remembered by our people, and those of the Empire, as one of the most important in our history,” Alderman Gill said.

“It is a very great pleasure for me to be here today, and on behalf of the Council and the citizens as a whole, to be able to welcome the members of the services back to their homes and families,” he said.
The Townsville General Hospital Maternity Ward float, in the Victory Day Parade, 10 June 1946, Townsville.
Photo: Townsville City Libraries.
“I am confident that the spontaneous welcome exhibited throughout the entire route taken by the procession today, expresses to the full, the wholehearted and unbounded gratitude of our citizens to you all.”

In concluding, Alderman Gill thanked those who fought, for their contribution to victory, and on behalf of the citizens of Townsville, extended a sincere welcome home.

“Vast throngs paced Flinders Street at night to see the city’s illumination, which did Townsville credit. In addition to the fireworks display in the Show Grounds there was also a very effective display on the top of Castle Hill,” the Bulletin reported.

1 comment:

  1. Great part of Townsville History. Good stuff, Trish.