Compiled for OzSportsHistory by Brian Membrey


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Playgrounds : The M.C.G.

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From top left : Aerial view of the M.C.G., Opening Ceremony, 22 November, 1956; Front of the new Olympic Stand, late 1955 with ongoing construction behind the facade; the M.C.G. with the Olympic Flame, early morning on Closing Day, 8 December; and the Australian XI finds a new opener - U.S. Vice-President Richard Nixon at the M.C.G. while on a lightning visit in October, 1953 … Nixon : “You couldn’t miss the ball with a bat like this”; Reporter : “But they do. Mr. Nixon, they do!”.

From top left : Spectators raise the “brollies” early A.M. of the Closing Ceremony (remarkably, an early shower which quickly disappeared across the eastern suburbs was the only rain in 16 days despite Melbourne’s reputation for erratic late spring weather; September, 1956 and the running tracks being laid; view of the old grandstands, Opening Day, and also Opening Day with thousands arriving without understanding that tickets had to be pre-booked.

1956 V.F.L. Finals

M.C.G. foreground, above clock-wise from left No. 2 arena (Hockey), (below) Velodrome, No. 1 arena (Football and athletics training), Olympic Pool.  Government House peeks in extreme rights.

Below : Opening Ceremony, the unlit Olympic Flame awaiting Ron Clarke’s arrival and the last leg of the relay of the Olympic Torch from Olympiad, the home of the ancient Games in Greece.

The Olympic Flame, above as the Official Party enters the arena, and below, Ron Clarke lighting the Flame

Saturday, 8 December : The Closing Ceremony

From left clock-wise : The Olympic  Flag is lowered; the Royal Box (H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh; the Olympic Flame is extinguished, the Farewell Message on the scoreboard.

THE 1956 OLYMPIC RACE IS RUN

MAY ALL THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN PRESENT,

GO FORTH TO THEIR HOMELANDS

AND MAY THE OLYMPIC SPIRIT GO WITH THEM