Day 3, Tuesday, 12 October, 1915 Eumungerie to Mogriguy

Transcription of extract from an article titled ‘Coo-ees Column’ in The Farmer and Settler, 15 October, 1915, p. 3, [part 2 of 3 parts]:

[Continued]  …

The March on Mogriguy.
A start was made next morning, the 12th, and after bidding farewell to the townspeople, represented by Mr. Wheaton and Senior-constable Clarke, the snow-ball army stepped out for Mogriguy. A welcome waterhole just outside the town was availed of by a number of the recruits for a swim, and, thus refreshed, little time was lost in getting to the farm of Mr. J. H. Taylor, who was kindly leading the way through private property, and his own wheat crop, with the idea of cutting several miles off the regular track. When remonstrated with for permitting us to tread down his crop, Mr. Taylor said that he didn’t mind, it would bring him luck he remarked afterwards, when the rain came; that he was glad he had done so, as the ‘Coo-ees’ had brought the rain.

The heat had been intense since the commencement of the march from Gilgandra, and the dust and flies, a torment, but Tuesday morning broke cloudy with a westerly wind. Rain came after dinner before Mogriguy was reached, at five in the afternoon, where great preparations had been made for our reception.

Owing to the generosity of the folk along the route, the transport waggon was proving inadequate, so arrangements were made for the purchase of an additional team and waggon in Dubbo. Meanwhile a conveyance was loaned as far as Mogriguy, and then another one provided to see the troops in to Dubbo.  Mr. Taylor, perceiving the necessity for a light vehicle for the advance agent, has kindly lent a sulky and horse to go right through to Sydney.

The rain did not damp the ardor of the Mogriguy residents; on the contrary, as the district is given over to wheat growing and the crops were badly in need of rain, every man, woman, and child trudged rejoicing and smiling through the rain and the sticky black soil mud to welcome the Gilgandra recruits.  After a bath and an excellent tea, the troops were in good fettle to listen to Councillor Godwin’s words of welcome, and Mr. James Ritchie’s spirited remarks. Captain Nicholas, in responding on behalf of the men, said that he had been urgently requested by the young ladies present to extend leave of absence to the men so that they might enjoy the entertainment; that was to be provided after the supper; he was, however reluctantly compelled, in the interests of the men themselves, to refuse the necessary permission on the ground that a heavy march had just been concluded in oppressive heat, and the longest stage of the Gilgandra-Sydney route was that of the morrow, so that it was imperative that the men should have a good night’s rest.  He said that he was beginning to think that the Turk would not kill the men, but that the Turkey might, and that before they had gone very far on the road to Sydney.

The organiser of the great recruiting scheme, Mr. Hitchen, and Q.M. Sgt. Lee, also thanked the residents for their cordial welcome.

A quaint conceit in connection with the midday meal at Mogriguy was the labelling of the turkey luncheon table ‘Gallipoli,’ which the recruits were ordered to charge. When they had cleared the whole peninsula of the ‘Turks’ the British flag was hoisted to celebrate the achievement.

Later in the evening an appeal was made for recruits to join the march, but no men were forthcoming. This was a pity, as Eumungerie [sic] is the first centre at which the appeal has failed to draw any response.

The men were camped in an empty building for the night, and a start was made bright and early on Wednesday morning on the nine-mile stage to Brocklehurst, where a nice luncheon was provided by the ladies. Rain fell almost continuously, and the men were thoroughly well drenched as they marched.’

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