Compiled for OzSportsHistory by Brian Membrey


Day Fifteen, Saturday, December 7

2 15 pm FOOTBALL (Final), Main Stadium


The Main Stadium after the completion of the closing ceremony  The scoreboard carried the message "The 1956 Olympic race is run   May all who have been present go forth to their homelands an may the Olympic spirit go with them"

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

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; who by the official Closing Day photos may have been unofficially been awarded another Gold for the cutest bum of the Games

See : A Letter That Changed The Games

“The Games of the



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 Right 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

The Last Hurrah.  Wilfred Kent Hughes, Avery Brundage and Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Frank Selleck leave the arena with the Olympic ceremonial flag, entrusted to the City of Melbourne for safe-keeping prior to being delivered to Rome for the 1960 Olympics).

Partially obscured in the original image, they were accompanied by Mr. E. von Frenckell, representing the City of Helsinki, host of the 1952 Games who handed over custody of the flag to Selleck.