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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : June 12, 1964 (Friday)

The day after they landed on Australian soil, The Beatles flew from Sydney to Adelaide in a chartered Ansett ANA jet, arriving at 11.57am.

An estimated 200,000 people lined the 10-mile route between Adelaide Airport and the city centre in the hope of seeing The Beatles’ motorcade. More than 30,000 surrounded the Town Hall, where they met the city’s mayor, James Campbell Irwin, along with council members and their families.

The Beatles were given toy koala bears. John Lennon told the reception, “Wherever we go, anywhere in the world, this reception which Adelaide has given us will stick in our memories.”

The group was shadowed by local DJ Bob Francis from 5DN, who interviewed them in a range of locations including the Town Hall balcony. Francis also booked the suite next to theirs at the Southern Australia Hotel, from where he gave listeners hourly updates.Three hundred thousand people welcomed us to Adelaide. It was like a heroes’ welcome. George waved too. That was the kind of place where we would go to the town hall and they would all be there in the centre of the city. If it had happened suddenly, overnight, it might have gone to our heads; but we had come up bit by bit, so it didn’t (not too much). We were just very pleased that everyone had turned out.We were still close enough to our Liverpool roots to know how it would feel, and what it would mean, if we had showed up in the middle of town to see a group; so we could feel it in their spirit. I think we quite enjoyed it all. It can get a bit wearing, but it certainly wasn’t then.We came in from the airport – it was the same in Liverpool for the première of a A Hard Day’s Night, with the whole city centre full of people – and the crowds were lining the route and we were giving them the thumbs up. And then we went to the Adelaide town hall with the Lord Mayor there, and gave the thumbs up again. In Liverpool it was OK, because everyone understands the thumbs up – but in Australia it’s a dirty sign.

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