For the first time, rare footage of one of Queen Elizabeth II’s Australian visits has been shown publicly – and it was discovered in the wake of devastating floods in Lismore.

Staff at the Richmond River Historical Society were cleaning and storing their wares following this year’s floods when they discovered the 16-millimetre film depicting the Queen’s 1954 visit to Lismore.

Richard Harris, the owner of the Australian Cinematography Museum, paid for the film to be digitised before screening it for the first time on Thursday, Australia’s National Day of Mourning.

“It’s fantastic to find anything old that’s in good condition, and that’s what it was,” he said.

“It’s even in colour … which I just couldn’t believe.”

Mr Harris said the screening was appropriate since it was how people relived events in the days before television.

“News reels were a big thing,” he said.

“People didn’t just go to the cinema to watch a movie, they went to get the news.”

Lismore man Andrew Davies, who was among the small but enthusiastic crowd that gathered at Kyogle Cinema for the screening, said the excitement was palpable.

“You could feel the excitement, you could sense it,” Mr Davies said.

“You could actually feel it just by seeing how the people were reacting.”

Lismore historian Helen Trustum was eight when the monarch visited the region and said it was something she would never forget.

“We all had flags and things and we were all excited about it,” she said.

“Because really, to see the Queen?

“We’d never, ever think we’d see the Queen, but she was that close to us.”

Though this year’s torrential flooding brought devastation to Lismore, Richmond River Historical Society member Maxine Darnell the discovery of the 68-year-old film was a silver lining.

“There have been a few really bright spots,” she said.

“A few wonderful items that we’ve found.”

The film, along with footage of Her Majesty’s visit to Coffs Harbour in 1970, will be screening three times a day during the school holidays, with tickets costing just $7.

For a sneak peek at the footage, head here.

Images: Kyogle Cinemas (Facebook)

This article first appeared on OverSixty.