The Prince of Wales visits Toronto
HRH Edward, Prince of Wales visited Australia in 1920 to offer thanks, on behalf of his father, King George V, to the Australian people for their contribution in the Great War. The prince toured the country over a three month period, during which he enjoyed a quiet overnight stay at Craig Royston, Toronto before embarking on a demanding programme the following day in Newcastle.
Much preparation had precipitated the Royal visit, scheduled for Thursday June 24, and excitement was high within the community. The Toronto Prince's Reception Committee was formed to organise the welcoming of Prince Edward and his entourage. Local newspapers kept the public informed of decisions made by the committee in the lead up to the visit.
Newspaper accounts in both the Newcastle Morning Herald and the Sydney Morning Herald vividly record the Prince's arrival and progression to Craig Royston, the privately owned residence of Mr Duncan McGeachie and family, where the Prince was to stay. A 130ft platform was specially constructed for the occasion and was beautifully decorated with wild flowers, foliage and plants. A large crown was highlighted in the centre of the decorations, with the words "Toronto Greets Our Prince" fixed below. The First Teralba Boy Scouts Band, under the direction of bandmaster J. T. Arthur, entertained the crowd while they awaited Prince's arrival.
Prince Edward arrived by the Royal train, around half hour behind schedule. On arrival he walked a few feet to Mr McGeachie's launch, the Heather. The Prince was then transported to the McGeachie wharf, red carpet paving the way from the wharf to the entrance of the house. As the boat pulled up at the wharf, children of Toronto Public School and Carey Bay Kindergarten School sang "God Bless the Prince of Wales". The mayor, T. C. Frith and several local councillors, the Premier, Mr J. Estell, the Minister for Works and Railways, Mr M. H. Charlton MHR and representatives from the Reception Committee welcomed the Prince to Lake Macquarie. Two lines, one of returned servicemen, the other widows and relatives of fallen soldiers, lined the wharf to meet and greet with HRH.
The placid water of Lake Macquarie was illuminated by the many lanterns and colourful decorations adorning the various water craft that congregated on the lake. Along the shore, from the wharf, hung an unbroken chain of lanterns spanning almost a quarter of a mile long. The residents and businesses in and around the shoreline illuminated and decorated their premises with lights of variegated colours, bunting, foliage and flags. The Newcastle Herald's reporting of the event was captioned "Brilliant Spectacle" (June 25, 1920, p7).
The Prince is reported to have been "deeply impressed" with the shores of Lake Macquarie and is said to have passed the comment "What a charming view" to Mr McGeachie as they stood on the verandah of Craig Roysten. This is reportedly the only time a member of the British Royal Family has stayed in Lake Macquarie.
1920 'VISIT TO TORONTO.', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 23 June, p. 5. , viewed 13 Sep 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138822627
1920 'PRINCE AT TORONTO.', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 25 June, p. 7. , viewed 13 Sep 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138828468
1920 'THE PRINCE OF WALES', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 26 June, p. 7. , viewed 13 Sep 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138826611
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