Launch of new ‘Gilgandra’s Coo-ees’ museum display at Gilgandra Coo-ee Heritage & Visitor Information Centre

Launch of ‘Gilgandra’s Coo-ees’ new museum display in the Coo-ee March Gallery at Coo-ee Heritage & Visitor Information Centre

On Tuesday 25th August 2015 I attended the launch of a new museum display about the 35 men from Gilgandra who enlisted in the Gilgandra to Sydney Coo-ee March, at the Coo-ee Heritage & Visitor Information Centre at Coo-ee Memorial Park, Gilgandra.

The new display was officially opened by Mark Coulton MP, Federal Member for Parkes.

Gilgandra Shire Council Cultural Officer Kylie Moppett, Acting Mayor Cr. Ashley Walker, Gilgandra Museum & Historical Society curator Shirley Marks, Gilgandra Museum & Historical Society member Margo Piggott, Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, and Graeme Hosken and Mrs Imelda Silva. (Photograph: H. Thompson)

Gilgandra Shire Council Cultural Officer Kylie Moppett, Acting Mayor Cr. Ashley Walker, Gilgandra Museum & Historical Society curator Shirley Marks, Gilgandra Museum & Historical Society member Margo Piggott, Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, and Graeme Hosken and Mrs Imelda Silva. (Photograph: H. Thompson)

Pictured from left to right in front of the new display panels, which feature information on each of the 35 Gilgandra Coo-ees,  is Gilgandra Shire Council Cultural Officer Kylie Moppett, Acting Mayor Cr. Ashley Walker, Gilgandra Museum & Historical Society curator Shirley Marks, Gilgandra Museum & Historical Society member Margo Piggott, Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, and Graeme Hosken and Mrs Imelda Silva.

A book titled ‘Gilgandra’s Coo-ees’ that was compiled by Margo Piggott to support the new display, which provides information about each of the 35 Gilgandra Coo-ees, including a photograph of many of them, was provided to the large number of people who attended the launch.

Family autograph book belonging to Mrs I. Silva, showing Bill Hitchen’s and officers’ signatures collected at Eastern Creek on 10/11/1915, and a purple Coo-ee ribbon. (Photograph courtesy of Graeme Hosken)

Family autograph book belonging to Mrs I. Silva, showing Bill Hitchen’s and officers’ signatures collected at Eastern Creek on 10/11/1915, and a purple Coo-ee ribbon. (Photograph courtesy of Graeme Hosken)

Also during the launch, Mrs Imelda Silva, with her nephew Graeme Hosken, donated an original purple “Coo-ee badge” ribbon to the Coo-ee March Gallery collection, which will make a valuable addition to the collection. This ribbon had been obtained by the family at the time the Coo-ees stopped at Eastern Creek in Sydney on 10th November 1915 during the Coo-ee March and was kept in the family’s autograph book.  A photocopy of the signatures that were written in this autograph book on this same day, which includes Bill Hitchen’s signature, was also donated to the Coo-ee March Gallery collection.

3 responses to “Launch of new ‘Gilgandra’s Coo-ees’ museum display at Gilgandra Coo-ee Heritage & Visitor Information Centre

  1. In conjunction with Blacktown & District Historical Society, my husband and I and Jim Bostock have just published a book entitled ‘Diggers from the Shire of Blacktown 1914-1918’. One chapter features Recruiting and the Coo-ee March, focussing particularly on the St Mary’s to Parramatta section of the route. The autograph book with the signatures of some of the Coo-ees as well as that of the school teacher of Wallgrove Public School (now Eastern Creek Public School) has particular relevance to our own local history. Well done and we look forward to visiting Gilgandra in the very near future to see your display.
    If anyone is interested in purchasing ‘Diggers from the Shire of Blacktown 1914-1918’ it is available for $40 plus postage through the Blacktown & District Historical Society, P.O. Box 500, BLACKTOWN NSW 2148.

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