National Geographic : 1957 Nov
After only five hours of sleep, the Duke took to the air again, circled over the Terri tory's vast new £30,000,000 rice-growing proj ect, and landed at Brunette Downs for a glimpse of one of Australia's largest outback stations, a 5,000-square-mile ranch grazing some 43,000 head of cattle. While the heat reached 106° in the shade, aboriginal cowboys rounded up, cut out, and branded steers for His Royal Highness in exemplary Texan style. Shortest Speech Opens Olympics At the School of the Air in Alice Springs, Prince Philip was able to see-and hear how the children of the outback receive their education over the air waves. He saw how the youngsters deftly tuned their radios to drown out static, and spoke to them himself over their far-flung network with evident ad miration. Here a base of the Royal Flying Doctor Service gave the Duke another opportunity to see how modern communications deal with the continent's great distances. While he was inspecting the installation, an emergency call came in: a man at a ranch 80 miles away was ill. A doctor rattled off a series of ques tions, made a quick diagnosis, and in a matter of minutes a plane was on its way. The pivotal day of the whole voyage came soon after-the opening of the Olympic Games. At 3 p.m. on November 22 Prince Philip drove into the stadium, circled the arena before 104,000 fervently applauding spectators and some 3,200 athletes, and then made his shortest speech on record: "I declare open the Olympic Games of Melbourne, celebrating the XVIth Olympiad of the modern era." In the days to come the Duke was to visit the games often and quite informally, driving his own Lagonda sports car, chatting with truck drivers at stop lights, and mingling with athletes at the stadium.* A keen sportsman himself, he found that the games were meat and drink to him, but he never lost sight of his primary mission, to see and learn all he * See "Sports-minded Melbourne, Host to the Olympics," NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, Novem ber, 1956.