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Mob Scene as Beatles Arrive in Melbourne

June 14, 1964 - More than 100 persons were sent to hospitals and police and troops were almost overrun today when a mob of 250,000 welcomed the Beatles to Melbourne, Australia.

Police said it was a miracle no one was killed. “This is the worst exhibition of mass hysteria this city has ever seen,” said one policeman.

Dozens of fans were trampled. Women fainted and were passed like limp sacks of potatoes over the heads of fans by police.

Scores of girls had sweaters torn off, and many more lost their shoes. Police said one man suffered a broken ankle and another an attack of epilepsy. But most of the injuries were suffered when the crowd surged against two-inch steel bars set up to hold them in line.

The most unusual casualty was Marilyn Arthur, 14 years old, of Nathalia, a Victoria country town, who screamed so hard she burst a blood vessel in her throat.

Police estimated the throngs at 250,000 and said the crowd was bigger than on any royal visit.

The British singing group flew to Melbourne from Adelaide, where they had created pandemonium for two days. There were monumental traffic jams in Adelaide as thousands of teenagers converged on the airport for a last look at their idols.

The pandemonium was even greater at Melbourne Airport, where 5,000 fans stood in near-freezing weather (it is winter in Australia) to welcome Beatles Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and John Lennon and stand-in drummer Jimmy Nicol, who took over when Ringo Starr was delayed in London by laryngitis.

Ringo arrived in Sydney earlier in the day and got his own welcome from 1,000 screaming fans.

Authorities mobilized 300 police in Melbourne and then were forced to call in 100 soldiers and sailors.

The crowd swelled to such proportions that police called in civilian volunteers, but the crush grew even greater as ambulance after ambulance roared off with the wounded.

Only by a ruse did police get the Beatles into their hotel. Two cars with sirens screaming and red lights blazing drove up to the front door. While youngsters swarmed over the cars, the Beatles were smuggled in the back door.

When the Beatles appeared on the hotel balcony, the screams and yells became deafening. Hours later, hundreds of teenagers milled in the streets changing: “We want the Beatles. We love the Beatles.”

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