Day 13, Friday, 22 October, 1915, Boomey to Molong

Transcription of extract from an article titled ‘The Route March : Section Leaders Appointed’ from The Farmer and Settler, 15 October, 1915, p. 3, [part 2 of 5 parts]:

Boomey was bidden farewell at 8 a.m. on Friday, 22nd, and several miles covered to The Shades, where the men of the column were treated to a poultry breakfast. Mr. It. E. Johnson, the local school teacher, a most enthusiastic worker, had his thirty or forty school children paraded to meet the marching army, and showed them a point in marching. The children also sang patriotic songs during the brief meal, and in this respect also reflected credit on their teacher. Sergeant Sam Ball, of the Light Horse, which body met the “Coo-ees” a mile or so along the road, was also an energetic organiser of the little reception, and the ladies cannot be praised enough for the trouble they took to do honor to the marching recruits. Headed by the Light Horse, the remainder of the sixteen miles to Molong was left behind with the memories of the generous treatment en route. Arriving at the outskirts of the town at 11.30, a procession was formed, and the principal streets were traversed to the martial airs of the Molong town band. At the saluting base at the recreation ground, the mayor, Alderman J. S. Taylor, inspected the column and expressed himself well pleased with the men’s appearance. After the order to dismiss, cordials were served out, and the river availed of, the opportunity for a wash. Luncheon was the next item on the programme. One of the staff had a stock of “Coo-ees” ribbons for sale at a shilling each, and we have reason to believe that at the conclusion of his   speech, he sold over a pounds’ worth.

At the recruiting meeting after lunch, Messrs. J. C. L. Fitztpatrick, M.L.A., W. Johnson, ex-M.L.A., Major Wynne, and Q.M.-Sergeant Lee were the chief speakers. Two men volunteered, and were duly sworn in, and four men turned up from Parkes, sent on by the Recruiting Association. Two other men caught up from Coonamble.

It is a significant fact that many men come along after the column has passed. There can be no doubt that the effect is greater than would appear from the actual number of men enrolled at the time. If Captain Hitchen has the opportunity of coming along again in January, as he at present intends, he will gather up an ever so much larger army, both because the harvest labor will be released, and because (this Recruiting March will have stirred up the apathetic and opened their eyes to their responsibility in this present crisis.

At three o’clock sharp the procession was re-formed, and the road to Orange taken. Tea was partaken of at Mr. Hebden’s station, about five miles out, and then the recruits pushed on at a leisurely marching pace, for the night camp. The idea of the moonlight walk was to cut as much as possible off the following day’s march, so that Orange could be entered with the men in fresh a condition as possible. The cook and No. 1 transport pushed on further, to Armstrong’s property.

The local member, Mr. Fitzpatrick, marched out of Molong with the “Coo-ees,” after seeing that they wanted for nothing in the way of blankets, sox, etc. He camped with the men. The en- rolling officer, Captain Nicholas, was sitting up by the camp fire until half- past eleven that night swearing in the latest batch of recruits.’

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