Day 33, Thursday, 11 November, 1915, Parramatta to Ashfield

Transcription of an extract from an article titled ‘The Route March : End of the Long Trek’ in The Farmer and Settler, 16 November, 1915, p. 3 [1 of 2 parts]

End of the Long Trek

Australia, to-day, realises that her best and bravest must gird on the harness of war to fill the gaps in the ranks of the Empire’s fighting forces; and the insistent “Coo-ee” from the firing line found a striking response when the great three- hundred-mile march of the West o’ Sun- set men reached the finishing post in the heart of the city of Sydney on Friday last at noon. Readers of the “Farmer and Settler” have followed, issue by issue, the fortunes of the recruits from Gilgandra, to the outskirts of the city, and each and every man of the contingent claims that more could be related of the last twenty miles than of the hundreds of the earlier part of the journey. If the “Coo-ees” were inspirited by the hospitality and enthusiasm of the folk, on the long stretches where the road reached straight and bare across the drought-red plains, or wound its way around shoulders of mist-capped ranges, the clamorous welcomes of the people of the foot-hills and the coastal belt was even more soul stirring.

During the march from Parramatta to Ashfield, the men experienced the most trying period of their journey. The dust dried in their throats, and they were jostled and jolted by the thousands of eager, excited loyalists that thronged the route, before, behind, and on all sides disorganising the military machine with their misdirected enthusiasm.

At Harris Park, the community bestowed the best of its viands on the eager soldiers. At Pittrow public school, a flag was presented amid martial ceremonies. Outside Granville, the Westmead Boys’ Band (still going strong) and the local cadets fought a passage for the recruits. After this they tramped through Auburn, dim with the soot of a hundred factories; Homebush reminiscent of the bush, the boys had left with its mobs of sheep, and wild-eyed, bellowing cattle ; then through the crowded suburban streets, packed with curious, excited spectators and choking with dust, to Ashfield.’

… [Cont.]

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