1959 Billy Graham Crusade gathering at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
Source — Australian heritage photographic library.
I wasn’t there, but did go to the Sydney meetings with Sutherland Presbyterian Fellowship – even if the minister expressed a few doubts about the phenomenon, though he broadly supported it. I also went independently with some school friends, including one Jew, being 15 at the time.
From Compass, where the transcript has now appeared:
143 thousand people had crammed into the MCG and another 4,000 stood outside listening to hastily rigged up speakers. They had come from all over the state and they wanted to be part of the action.
Judith Smart – Historian
I was eight at the time. I was a member of the Malvern Baptist Sunday School. The Baptists were very evangelical and they decided that they should take all the Sunday School to the Billy Graham crusade. We weren’t close enough to actually see Billy Graham but his speech was quite astonishing.
No, I didn’t go forward when the call came. I had already done that at a Fellowship Camp at Otford a month or two earlier. Oh, and in Sydney I was close enough to see the man quite close, comparatively speaking, in at least one of the meetings.
It was all rather amazing. Sydney had never seen such crowds, particularly for a religious gathering. On the last day the overflow filled the stadium next door as well as the SCG itself.
One of my teachers did mutter something about Nuremberg rallies, I recall. We thought that quite out of place at the time.
My trip back to 1959 did produce a Ninglun’s Specials entry: Memorabilia 15: 1959 — or thereabouts where you will find some quite wonderful super-8 footage of Sydney in that period. Not mine; a YouTube member posted it.
Much water has gone under the Harbour Bridge since then!