Transcription of an extract from an article titled ‘The Route March : Through Lithgow District’ in The Farmer and Settler, 5 November, 1915, p. 3 [part 1 of 4]
‘THE ROUTE MARCH
Through Lithgow District.
HITCHEN’S ARMY GROWING AS IT MARCHES.
Last Monday morning the Great Western Route March passed on from hospitable Wallerawang, a large number of the people assembling to wish the men “God-speed.” There were volleys of hurrahs in the place of votes of thanks and other expressions of goodwill, and the order “quick march,” and Wallerawang’s reception was over, and Lithgow’s almost begun.
The first mile of the journey up the hill in the sunshine made warm going, but good time was made to Marrangarroo, where lunch was prepared on the banks of Middle River. A company of recruits from the Lithgow camp, numbering about 100 men, under their own officers, met their Gilgandra comrades here. They were on their mettle, and they presented a fine appearance as they marched. When the Coo-ees have been uniformed in the dungarees and hats that are ready for them in Lithgow, however, there will not be much to choose between them, notwithstanding the Lithgow lads’ longer training. The two contingents were paraded, and cheers exchanged.
After dinner and a smoke-ho the road was taken once more, with the Lithgow boys in the lead. Dunn’s Comer was reached at 4 p.m.; where a large crowd had assembled to greet the column. The mayor, Ald. Pillans, in his brief welcome speech, said that it was a working man’s welcome to working men that were going to do the work of the Empire, he trusted, like men. Equipped with flags, the school children sang patriotic songs, and then, headed by the Lithgow Town Band, the town was entered, and the main street, lined by thousands of people, was paraded by the force.
The setting was like that of a play, the road winding down the valley to the town with the great blast furnaces silhouetting against the sky and covering the valley with a pall of smoke. The small arms factory guard turned out to the salute, and whistles from the factory and from the near-by railway yards cock-a-doodle-dooed like the ferry steamers on Sydney Harbor when a transport is sailing. All tho population of the country-side was here to welcome the growing army, and they cheered and cheered again.
The march, which included the town band, the local militia, and the boy scouts, concluded at the Trades Hall, where the men camped during their two nights’ stay in Lithgow, and after still more cheers the “dismiss” was given and the quarters were occupied.
Later the “Coo-ees” were the guests of the recruiting association at dinner in the Town Hall, and, general leave having been granted, a free picture show was provided in the Oddfellows’ Hall. During the intermission Captain Hitchens on behalf of the force was given £20, donated by the workmen of the Lithgow Small Arms Factory for the purpose of providing comforts.’
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