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Compiled for OzSportsHistory by Brian Membrey

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Day Fifteen, Saturday, December 7

2.15 pm FOOTBALL (Final), Main Stadium.


CLOSING CEREMONY, Main Stadium.

The Closing Day Ceremony was considerably different from the very formal original suggestion.

The inspiration was an  Australian-born Chinese, John Ian Wing from the eastern suburbs of Melbourne who suggested that athletes should march together regardless of nationality - although many suggest this was the first time that athletes marched together, in fact it was the first time that athletes actually participated on the last day - the Olympic Torch to be passed to passed to Rome for the 1960 Olympics was carried into the stadium by triple gold-medallist and Australia’s “Golden Girl”, Betty Cuthbert; eho by the official Closing Day photos may have been unofficially been awarded another Gold for the cutest bum of the Games

The Games of the

XVI OLYMPIAD MELBOURNE 1956

CLOSING CEREMONY

Entry of the Flags

The flags of all nations which have taken part in the Games of the XVI Olympiad are carried into the arena. Every flag ispreceded by a standard bearing the name of its country. The order of the parade is the same as that at the Opening Ceremony, the Greek flag leading and the Australian flag bringing up the rear, with the other flags, in alphabetical order of nations, according to the English language, between.

The standards and flags line up before the Royal Box, the flag-bearers more forward and form a semi-circle around the Rostrum at the outer edge of the track. The entry of flags is accompanied by music from the massed bands of the Australian armed services.

Closing of the Games

The President of the International Olympic Committee, Mr. Avery Brundage; the Chairman of the Organising Committee, the Hon. W. S. Kent Hughes; the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, the Br, Hon. Sir Frank Selleck; and Mr. E von Frenckell, representing the City of Helsinki, where the Games of 1952 were held, advance to the Rostrum.

To commemorate the Greek origin of the Games, the Greek National Anthem is played by the massed bands as the Creek flag is hoisted on the right-hand staff of the three staffs which have been used in the" Victory Ceremonies.

The flag of Australia, country of the host city of the Games, is raised on the central staff and the National Anthem is played.

The Italian National Anthem is then nlayed as the Italian flag is hoisted on the left-hand flagstaff to signify that the XVII Olympiad will be celebrated in Rome in 1960.

Mr. Brundage pronounces the closing of the Games of the XVI Olympiad from the Rostrum in the following words:

"In the name of the International Olympic Committee. I offer to Her Majesty the Queen and to the people of Australia, to the authorities of the City of Melbourne, and to the Organising Committee of the Games our deepest gratitude. I proclaim the closing of the 1956 Olympic Games and in accordance with tradition, I call upon the youth of all countries to assemble in four years at Rome, there to celebrate with us the Games of the XVII Olympiad. May they display cheerfulness and concord so that the Olympic Torch may be carried on with ever greater eagerness, courage and honour for the good of humanity throughout the ages."

The President of the International Olympic Committee hands to the Lord Mayor of Melbourne for safe keeping the Olympic flag of embroidered Satin, which he receives from Mr. von Frenckell. This flag, which was presented in 1920 by the Belgian Olympic Committee, will be retained by the civic authorities in the City of Melbourne until the Games of the XVII Olympiad are celebrated in Rome.

A fanfare of trumpets is sounded.

The Olympic fire is extinguished.

A salute of guns is fired.

The choir sings the Olympic Hymn as the Olympic flag in the arena is lowered.

March Out of the Flags

To the music of the massed bands, the flags of the competing nations are borne out of the arena. The flag of Australia is followed by the Olympic flag.

The choir leads the singing of the Song of Farewell as the Olympic flag is borne away.

The National Anthem is played.