Ethel Bruce's rail pass and tickets to the opening of Parliament House
For travel from Melbourne to Canberra.
The day of the much-anticipated opening of Parliament House in Canberra dawned on 9 May 1927. Officially opened by the Duke of York, the ceremony marked a significant moment for the federal parliament, the national capital and the nation. This handy souvenir wallet containing a rail pass and tickets to the opening was issued to Mrs Ethel Bruce, wife of Prime Minister Stanley Melbourne Bruce and a member of the official party.
Hover image: Prime Minister Stanley Melbourne Bruce and Mrs Ethel Bruce (standing on the carpet to the left) await the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of York for the opening of Parliament House. Much effort was spent keeping the red carpet clean until the Royal carriage arrived.
Photograph by Sam Hood SLNSW hood-07965
The function tickets in the wallet were issued by the Federal Capital Commission and demonstrate the meticulous attention to detail in the planning and organisation of the program.
But first Mrs Bruce needed to get to Canberra from Melbourne, a long and onerous journey eased by a first-class travel pass issued by the Government Railways of Australia. Mrs Bruce travelled to Canberra on 4 May, the same day the couple moved into the Lodge, the brand-new prime ministerial residence. Despite all the personal upheaval that moving house entails, Mrs Bruce was the consummate hostess and five days later was escorting and entertaining the Duke and Duchess of York and other dignitaries who were in town for the opening festivities.
Prime Minister Stanley Melbourne Bruce, Mrs Ethel Bruce and Chair of the Federal Capital Commission, John Butters, waiting at a windy Canberra Railway Station to greet the Duke and Duchess of York, 8 May 1927. Credit: Photograph by William J Mildenhall NAA: A3560, 3092
Mrs Ethel Bruce and the Duchess of York chat as Prime Minister Stanley Melbourne Bruce takes his seat on the Royal dais next to Lady Stonehaven, the wife of the Governor-General. Credit: Photograph by William J Mildenhall NAA: A3560, 3033
Whether Mrs Bruce actually needed to produce her tickets is uncertain. As a member of the official party, she would have been well known to the organisers and ushers and this may account for their pristine condition.