| Olympic identity cards
Olympic identity cards were mailed to National Olympic Committees six months prior to the Games to provide for issues to all members of the International Olympic Committee, International Federations and National Olympic Committees who proposed to come to the Games, and for competitors and officials sent to Melbourne by the various National Olympic Committees. Identity cards were also on issue to accredited pressmen, broadcasters and photographers.
In all 8,037 identity cards were sent to Secretaries of National Olympic Committees for use-280 green, 7,311 blue and 446 orange cards. The numbers were estimated at this end and in only a few instances was it necessary to send Secretaries extra supplies. As with previous Games, arrangements were made with the Government for these identity cards, subject to compliance with instructions that were issued with them, to be recognized as valid passports for entry into Australia. One proviso of the Immigration Department was that all cards be issued under the authorization of the National Olympic Committees. The Commonwealth Government dispensed with the payment of visa fees for visitors coming to Melbourne for the Games.
The card provided space for particulars and photograph of the holder, which had to be completed and certified by the National Olympic Committee of the country concerned and signed by the holder. Provision was made for the appropriate government authority in the holder's own country to certify the card as a valid passport permitting the person concerned to depart from his own country, travel to Melbourne and return to his country. The Olympic identity card was good for entry to Australia between 1st September and 8th December, 1956, and was valid until 31st January, 1957. This period could be extended on specific application.
In actual practice, very few overseas countries gave formal approval to the use of these identity cards as valid passports and practically all official visitors to the Games carried the normal passport of their country. The identity card, however, did facilitate travel generally. It had ancillary uses. For example, it was used as a free pass on government owned trams and trains in and around Melbourne. It was used as a pass by competitors and officials into the competitors' stand at the Main Stadium and into the particular stadium of the sport to which a competitor or official was attached. It was also used as an identity pass into the Village for those staying there.
The National Olympic Committees were authorized to issue Olympic identity cards to the following official representatives attending the Games :
(A) Green Cards-
1. Members and staff of the International Olympic Committee
(B) Blue Cards-
1. Representatives of National Olympic Committees
(C) Orange Cards-
1. Press representatives
Other Identity Cards and Passes
A variety of other identity cards and passes was issued to facilitate
entry to venues for official purposes, for traffic and in some instances
merely to identify the individual. A card, somewhat similar to that on
issue to overseas competitors, was issued to members of the Australian
team and conferred the same rights. Special identity cards, stamped with
the name of their sport, were issued to sports officials required to be
in attendance at venues and training centres. Those required on the arena
at any given time wore distinguishing armbands. A variety of passes, using
a distinctive colour for each venue where strict control was necessary,
was used for pressmen, broadcasters, photographers, postal officials, catering
staff, messengers, ambulance men, official staff generally and others.
These were printed to suit the particular circumstances of classes of individuals
and of venues.
(Source document: Official Report 1956, page 108)