Category Archives: Towns

Cricket match on Melbourne Cup Day

Cricket match on Melbourne Cup Day

On Tuesday, 2nd November, 1915, the Coo-ees were staying at Lithgow Military Camp.  It was Melbourne Cup Day, and a letter home reported that a sweep had been held by the Lithgow Camp recruits.[1]  (It is not known if the Coo-ees participated).

The Coo-ees spent most of the day in squad drill, and in the afternoon played a cricket match against the Lithgow Camp recruits.[2]

Ursel James Schofield (Bathurst recruit), Charles Edmund Marchant (Gilgandra recruit), and Percy Walter Holpen (Wellington recruit) were named as the best players for the Coo-ees in this cricket match in the following article, published in the Lithgow Mercury:

‘LITHGOW RECRUITS v. COO-EES.

A cricket match was played on Tuesday afternoon between the Lithgow Recruits and the Coo-ees, resulting in a win for the local soldiers by 4 wickets and 6 runs. Ryan, for the local lads, was top-scorer, with 56 not out, the next man on the list for his side being Phillips, with 45. The only other double figure scorer for the camp was Wheeler, who hit 14. For the “snowballers” Schofield top-scored with 51, the other double figure scorers being Marchant 28, and Halpin 12. The total scores were: Lithgow recruits 125; Coo-ees, 119. Vaughan secured the best bowling average for the Lithgow men, and Marchant for the Coo-ees.’[3]

'Lithgow Recruits v. Coo-ees', Lithgow Mercury, 15 November 1915, p. 2

‘Lithgow Recruits v. Coo-ees’, Lithgow Mercury, 15 November 1915, p. 2

Sergeant-Major Lee referred to the Melbourne Cup in his speech given at the recruiting meeting held at the Oddfellows’ Hall in Lithgow that evening.

‘Sergt.-major Lee opened with a reiteration of the object of the march – to try to make the young men of Australia realise that every available man should be in the fight for King and country. (Applause.) The time had come to realise that the Empire was fighting for its very existence. … But we must fight to accomplish it. It was no use thinking it. The Empire would not be saved by sitting by the fireside smoking a pipe, at the ale bench pouring down liquor, on the tennis court, at the stadium, or the Melbourne Cup; it could only be accomplished on the battlefield, and for that reason they said, ‘Come, come, come. Your country needs you ; your mates are calling. Won’t you get into khaki? …’[4]

[1] ‘Cowra Boys at Lithgow’, Cowra Free Press, 6 November 1915, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article99695362

[2] ‘The Route March’, The Farmer and Settler, 5 November 1915, p. 3, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116680017

[3] ‘Lithgow Recruits v. Coo-ees’, Lithgow Mercury, 3 November 1915,  p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article218452404

[4] ‘Recruiting Meeting’, Lithgow Mercury, 3 November 1915, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article218452420

 

The 22 Ashfield recruits

Who were the 22 Ashfield recruits?

The Coo-ees held a recruiting meeting, and stayed the night at the Drill Hall at Ashfield on Thursday, 11th November, 1915 – their last night of the Coo-ee March on their long route from Gilgandra to Sydney.

This is now the site of the Ashfield Boys High School gymnasium, and a new car park named Coo-ee Car Park in memory of the 1915 Coo-ee March built recently by the Wests Ashfield Leagues Club.  A plaque about the Coo-ees at Ashfield was unveiled at the Coo-ee Car Park on 21st April 2015.

Plaque at Coo-ee Car Park, Ashfield (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 23/4/2015)

Plaque at Coo-ee Car Park, Ashfield (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 23/4/2015)

A plaque on an obelisk is situated in the grounds of the Ashfield Boys High School. It has been there for some time. On it are the words: “Celebrating Gilgandra Coo-ee Marchers 11 November 1915 22 Ashfield men joined with the Coo-ee marches here on this day”.

Coo-ee March obelisk at Ashfield Boys High School (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 3/3/2014)

Coo-ee March obelisk at Ashfield Boys High School (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 3/3/2014)

Although the “official” count for the total number of Coo-ees recruited on the 1915 Gilgandra to Sydney Coo-ee March per newspaper articles of the time was 263, with Ashfield having a total of 22 recruits, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on 13th November 1915 (p. 19) that ‘the contingent left the western suburb’ of Ashfield ‘about 263 strong, but there are others now to be sworn in – men who joined the little army yesterday.’ The Farmer and Settler reported about Coo-ees numbers on 21st December 1915 (p. 3) that ‘there were no fewer than 277 men on their last pay sheet in camp’.

We have found the following names of 23 men who were attested at Ashfield at the time the Coo-ees were recruiting at Ashfield. We note that one (Bert Kilduff) had paperwork dating only from 12th November 1915 in his service record, so perhaps the ”official” count of 22 recruits was taken the night before at Ashfield, and he was not included.  Although two others also completed their medical examination and signed their attestation paper at Ashfield on the 12th November 1915 (Thomas Edward Bow and Charles Seal), they had both signed the bottom of the first page in their ‘Attestation paper of persons enlisted for service abroad’ on the 11th November 1915.

Attested 11th November 1915 at Ashfield

Robert AYRES (service no. 4729)

Richard John CROCKER (no service no.)

Edward Lewis CUDDERFORD (service no. 5352)

Harold Brooks DAVIS (service no. 4759)

Edgar DAWSON (no service no.)

Thomas DELANEY (service no. 4764)

William ELLERY (service no. 4769)

Richard EVANS (service no. 5368)

Joseph Jacob John HERRINGE (service no. 5700)

Robert Michael HICKEY (service no. 5099)

Albert HULBERT (no service no.)

Hector LEE (service no. Depot)

Thomas LIPSCOMBE (service no. 4826)

Sam LUKE (service no. 4830)

Joseph Raymond MCGUIRE (service no. 4857)

Selby George MEGARRITY (service no. 4841)

William Allen Luther PHILPOT/PHILPOTT (service no. 5164)

William WEBBER (service no. 4917)

Jack Graham WIGGINS (service no. 4918)

Joseph John WILLIAMS (service no. 4912)

Attested 12th November 1915 at Ashfield the (the day the Coo-ees left Ashfield and the last day of the Coo-ee March)

Charles Edward BOW (service no. 4735)

Bert KILDUFF (service no. 4818)

Thomas SEAL (service no. 4895)

Not all of these men were local to the Ashfield area. Some were men who had joined the Coo-ees earlier in the march, or caught up with them at Ashfield, who signed their attestation paper to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force at Ashfield.

William Ellery was reported to be a long term resident of the Dunedoo area before he left to join the Coo-ees.  Edgar Dawson started filling out his paperwork in his service record in Bathurst.  Jack Wiggins was known as a Springwood recruit. Sam Luke joined the Coo-ees at St Marys. Selby Megarrity undertook his medical at Penrith, the day before the Coo-ees arrived at Ashfield.

Fourteen of the Ashfield recruits embarked overseas with the majority of the Coo-ees on the transport  HMAT A15 Star of England on the 8th March 1916.  Five more embarked on other ships soon after.

An individual blog entry will be added to this website for each of the above named Coo-ees.

Fox mascot presented to the Coo-ees at Evans Plains

With the Coo-ees at Evans Plains (Daily Telegraph 30/10/1915)

With the Coo-ees at Evans Plains (Daily Telegraph 30/10/1915)

I have often wondered how the Coo-ees ended up with a fox cub as a mascot on the Coo-ee March. This is described in the following article, along with the ‘patriotic songs’ sung by the school children at Evan’s Plains. School children often took part in welcoming and entertaining the Coo-ees at each town and village visited on the march. It is interesting to note that the Coo-ees were expecting to reinforce the Australian men fighting at Gallipoli when they signed up on the Coo-ee March, not the Western Front.

Transcript of an article titled ‘At Evans Plains” published in the Bathurst newspaper National Advocate on 30 October 1915, p. 3.

‘AT EVAN’S-PLAINS.
YOUNG FOX AS MASCOT

The residents of Evan’s Plains extended a hearty welcome to the Gilgandra Coo-ees.   The Cooe-ees arrived about noon on Thursday, escorted by two local horsemen, Messrs. Cecil Colley and Morris Windsor who rode out some distance along the road to meet them. An energetic ladies committee, under the charge of Mrs. J. Dwyer and Miss Ivy Maher, worked hard to make the short stay of the men as pleasant as possible. Mr. Hugh McKay also rendered valuable assistance. Refreshments were served under the poplars on the property of Mr. J. Wardman. Several patriotic songs were rendered by the school children, whilst the good wishes for a safe return were expressed by several of the residents. The Coo-ees were presented by Mr. Frank Windsor with a young fox as a token from the Plains, which they intend to take along with them to Gallipoli.’

Click here to view the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158152710

Remembering the Coo-ees : Gilgandra Coo-ee Festival October Long Weekend 2014

The annual Gilgandra Coo-ee Festival was held on the long weekend in October to commemorate the 1915 Coo-ee March, which started 99 years ago on Sunday, 10th October, 1915. The events held included a street parade on Saturday 4th October 2014 lead by re-enactment Coo-ee marchers, and included the South Pacific Concert Band from Sydney, and a variety of vehicles and floats. Crowds lined both sides of the main street. The street parade started off at 11.30 am in Bridge Street near the Royal Hotel where the original march started in 1915.

Re-enactor Coo-ee Marchers leading the Street Parade (Photograph: H. Thompson, 4/10/2014)

Re-enactor Coo-ee Marchers leading the Street Parade (Photograph: H. Thompson, 4/10/2014)

The street parade ended with a memorial wreath-laying and flag raising ceremony at the memorial gates to Cooee March Memorial Park.

 Memorial wreath-laying and flag raising ceremony at Cooee March Memorial Park (Photograph: H. Thompson 4/10/2014)

Memorial wreath-laying and flag raising ceremony at Cooee March Memorial Park (Photograph: H. Thompson 4/10/2014)

Later in the afternoon outside Hitchen House I met an 88 year old son of Gilgandra Coo-ee William Howard, and a grand niece of Gilgandra Coo-ee Charles Finn.

On Sunday morning 5th October 2014 a Coo-ee Commemoration church service was held at St Ambrose Church in Gilgandra. Coo-ee re-enactment marchers, and the South Pacific Concert Band with local musicians, attended the service. The names of the 35 1915 Coo-ees from Gilgandra were read out as part of the service.   Having recently visited the graves of those Coo-ees in our recent holiday to England, France and Belgium who did not return from the First World War, including Coo-ees Charles Finn and Harold Baxter from Gilgandra, made this experience particularly moving for me.

Re-enactor Coo-ee marchers leaving the church service (Photograph: H. Thompson 5/10/2014)

Re-enactor Coo-ee marchers leaving the church service (Photograph: H. Thompson 5/10/2014)

The Coo-ee re-enactment marchers, and the band, then marched to the marker and plaque in Bridge Street, which was placed in 1965 in a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary after the march, and a short service was held there. A bugler played the last post.

Service at the marker and plaque where the Coo-ee March commenced in 1915 (Photograph: H. Thompson 5/10/2014)

Service at the marker and plaque where the Coo-ee March commenced in 1915 (Photograph: H. Thompson 5/10/2014)

The Coo-ee renenactor marchers and the band then marched round the corner into Miller Street and fell out in front of Hitchen House. The re-enactment Coo-ee marchers, wearing replicas of the distinctive white hats and blue jackets issued as the uniform of the Coo-ees on the original 1915 march, were lead by Brian Bywater, who is President of Coo-ee March 2015 Inc., which is organising a centenary 2015 Coo-ee March Re-enactment. Brian also owns the Hitchen House Military Museum, which was formerly owned by Bill Hitchen.

Re-enactor Coo-ee Marchers in front of Hitchen House (Photograph: H. Thompson 5/10/2014)

Re-enactor Coo-ee Marchers in front of Hitchen House (Photograph: H. Thompson 5/10/2014)

It was on this verandah 99 years ago where Bill Hitchen, a local plumber and Captain of the local rifle club, and his brother Dick, the local butcher, one evening over a pipe and a discussion about the casualty rates and falling recruiting numbers, and the call for more men to fight at the Dardanelles on the Gallipoli Peninsular, conceived the idea of the route march from Gilgandra to Sydney, stopping in the towns and villages along to way, as a means to raise recruits for the war effort during the First World War.

The “Gilgandra barber” and the Coo-ees welcomed in Lithgow

Article titled “Coo-ees Welcomed” from the Democrat, 6th November 1915, p. 2.

‘“Coo-ees” Welcomed.

The Gilgandra braves — the “Coo-ees” — were accorded an enthusiastic reception on Monday last. They left Wallerawang at 9.30 a.m., and marched to Middle River, where they halted. They were met there by the men of the Lithgow camp and a right royal time was spent. It is an offence to have long hair, and as the laws of the Medes and Persians altereth not, neither do the laws according to the Gilgandra recruits alter. At least six of the Lithgow boys needed tonsorial attention and the “Gilgandra barber,” who sat as judge, declared them guilty and sentenced them to be shorn of their curly locks. Despite protests, the chief executioner carried out his duties to the satisfaction of all but the six. These latter have now cool heads — it will prevent them from becoming hot-headed.

“’Fall in” was then sounded, and the two squads of soldiers marched to Bowenfels, where they halted to await the welcome ceremonies.

An Al Fresco lunch at Bowenfels (Sydney Mail 10/11/1915)

An Al Fresco lunch at Bowenfels (Sydney Mail, 10/11/1915)

The visitors looked in the pink of condition and were as hard as nails. They had increased their number by five at Wallerawang.  

The welcome arrangements were admirably carried out by the chief marshals (Messrs. A. E. Roper and Saunderson). There was not a hitch anywhere. This is as it should be and the gentlemen concerned are to be congratulated.

 

The Cooerwull school children sang “Advance Australia Fair” capitally, while the Lithgow children also did well.     

 

The Town Band played at the meeting place, and played beautifully.

The Mayor (Ald. Pillans) then welcomed the “Coo-ees” to Lithgow in a speech admirably suited to the occasion — being short, concise, and good. Major Wynne responded on behalf of the visitors. 

The procession was then formed, the mounted police in front, then the aldermen, the Progress Association and prominent townspeople, then came the Lithgow recruits, followed the Town Band, and then came the “Coo-ees,”‘ each town being represented by their respective units — a flag with the name or the town being the line of demarkation. Then we had our own cadets, with trumpeters playing smartly and briskly. Patrols of Boy Scouts, under Scout-master Lamb, were also in evidence and added considerably to the success of the procession. The civilians also joined in as well as scores of motor cars, buggies, ‘busses, etc. The procession wended its way along Main-street, across Eskbank bridge, up Railway Parade, and into the Trades Hall, which had been kindly loaned for the occasion.

 

At six o’clock the braves were entertained at luncheon at the Town Hall. This over, it had been intended to have a smoke social, but as the Oddfellows Hall proprietary had kindly granted a free pass for their picture show to the men, they all preferred that, and a splendid programme was screened to the enjoyment of the vast audience present.

 

On Tuesday advantage was taken of having squad drill, after which general leave was granted. The men were also given white hats and dungarees and they looked more like soldiers than they did in civilian costume.

 

The squad has two mascots — a young cattle dog and a fox. The young recruit who had charge of them said, “Now I’ve got them over the worst of their trouble, all the others want to collar them, but they won’t get them. They’re mine.”’

Click here to access the article on Trove:http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103569195

The Coo-ee mascots [cropped photograph] (Daily Telegraph, 30/10/1915)

The Coo-ee mascots [cropped photograph] (Daily Telegraph, 30/10/1915)

Note: According to a docket in the official correspondence of the march, Thomas Dowd, a recruit from Wongarbon, was paid for 21 days barbering services on the march, so he appears to have been the “Gilgandra barber” in the above article.

Day 34, Friday, 12 November, 1915, Ashfield to Sydney

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 [2 of 2 parts]
… [Continued]

‘Friday saw the end of the long journey. This last day of the march, through the crowded high-ways and by-ways of a populous city, was full of sensations to the men of the column.

The sturdy, hard, muscular appearance of the men from the west proved a revelation to the city dwellers, and no one could wonder at the feeling that stirred in the deep-throated acclaims of the multitude as the bronzed and burly lads swung down the crowded thoroughfares that led citywards. Through the traffic worn streets, by Dulwich Hill to Marrickville and into Newtown, they came, each street corner calling a welcome, each defined centre cheering them vociferously, and better than all of this, each centre sending in its little band of recruits to augment the cohort of country men. The civic fathers and the prominent business men of each suburb held levees of welcome and local bands blared and citizens cheered, which welcome the men gravely acknowledged.

At Newtown, a halt was made for a brief period to regale the men with refreshments, and in one of the local picture shows, Mr. D. R. Hall, the Attorney-General, delivered a brief oration of welcome. The entry to the city followed, and just as the long procession turned into George Street, Lady Helen Munro Ferguson, in the absence of the Governor-General, met the men and congratulated them upon having achieved a march that would live in the annals of Australian history.

Coo-ees resting at the Domain (Daily Telegraph 13/11/1915)

Coo-ees resting at the Domain (Daily Telegraph 13/11/1915)

From this point, through the city, and into the Domain, the streets were densely packed with wildly-cheering crowds, and the great cordiality of the welcomes showered upon the western heroes was noteworthy. At the Domain, at midday, the men rested while addresses were delivered by prominent public men, and an hour later an official reception was held at Martin Place. Capt. Hitchens, the leader of the band, was accorded a most gratifying reception, and the men were overwhelmed with congratulations and good wishes.

The start and the finish (Sydney Morning Herald 13/11/1915)

The start and the finish (Sydney Morning Herald 13/11/1915)

After the celebrations were over, the two hundred and sixty-three men that comprised the band of “Coo-ees,” were entrained to Liverpool, the first great stage of their journey to the battle-front ended.

The Force at the Finish.
Following is the official statement of men that actually signed on (after medical examination), between Gilgandra and Sydney: Gilgandra 35, Dubbo 13, Wongarbon 12, Geurie 6, Wellington 31, Stuart Town 1, Euchareena 1, Molong 4, Parkes 5, Orange 19, Millthorpe 2, Blayney 11, Bathurst 17, Glanmire 1, Yetholme 1, Wallerawang 3, Lithgow 19, Blackheath 2, Katoomba 11, Leura 1, Lawson 10, Springwood 5, Penrith 4, Parramatta 27, Ashfield 22, total 263.’

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116671136

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]

‘THE ROUTE MARCH
End of the Long Trek
DUST-STAINED WARRIORS IN CAMP.

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.]

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116671136

Day 32, Wednesday, 10 November, 1915, Penrith to Parramatta

Transcription of an extract from an article titled ‘The Route March : In the Suburbs of Sydney’ in The Farmer and Settler, 12 November, 1915, p. 3 [3 of 3 parts]
… [Continued]

‘St. Mary’s.
The marching conditions were better on Wednesday morning, as the column set out for Parramatta, “via ports.” The four miles to St. Mary’s was soon covered, and the troops marched in briskly, headed by the local band. The Mayor (Ald. Brett) with other members of the council, and Mr. J. C. Hunt, M.L.A., gave the army its official welcome, and breakfast was eaten under the shade of the trees in Victoria Park, where the men fraternised with the local residents, and good heart-to-heart recruiting work was done.

Colyton and Eastern Creek.
At ten o’clock the men were “following the flag” again, along the road to the village of Colyton, where the school children presented Captain Hitchen, for the “Coo-ees,” with a “purse of sovereigns” and an Australian ensign. A recruit that joined there was one of the family of McGregors that has already given five sons to the Empire. As the family said their brave but tearful farewells to the sixth McGregor, all that witnessed the incident realised the fine loyalty of the McGregors, and also the suffering that the Hun fiends have brought upon the world.

At Eastern Creek the army was met by Col. Pringle, president of the Blacktown Shire Council, and Cr. James Angus, president of the recruiting committee. Luncheon was provided in the Walgrove school grounds by the ladies of Rooty Hill and Eastern Creek.

Prospect to Westmead.
At Prospect there were more welcomes and another meal; and there was an acceptable distribution of oranges, provided by the growers of Castle Hill, twenty miles away. Father Bernard and the band of the Boys’ Home met the troops soon after they left Prospect, and played them all the way to Parramatta.

At Wentworthville there was yet another distribution of cordials, and there the Parramatta welcome really began, for the Mayor (Ald. Graham) and Mr. W. F. Jago came out to meet the recruits.

Coo-ees marching through Parramatta (The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate 20/11/1915)

Coo-ees marching through Parramatta (The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate 20/11/1915)

Parramatta.
The last few miles of the journey through a semi-suburban residential district was a triumphal procession. Vehicles lined the roads, and hundreds of persons were gathered at every coign of vantage to see and to cheer the heroes of the west.

Coo-ees in crowded Church Street, Parramatta (Evening News 11/11/1915)

Coo-ees in crowded Church Street, Parramatta (Evening News 11/11/1915)

The column marched into the old town escorted by the Mounted Police, Fire Brigade, Light Horse, Cadets, Boy Scouts, returned soldiers, Parramatta Citizens’ Band, Westmead Boys’ Band, Burnside Homes Boys’ Pipers Band, and the Kings School boys. Alderman Graham welcomed the westerners and then the whole force made an imposing entry into the town, the streets of which were gaily decorated, and the population of which had turned out en masse. The school children of the district were assembled at the Town Hall, and their demonstration was the most striking of all.

Crowd watching the Coo-ees swimming in Parramatta Park (The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate 20/11/1915)

Crowd watching the Coo-ees swimming in Parramatta Park (The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate 20/11/1915)

The camp was pitched in a pleasant corner of Parramatta Park, and the men had the opportunity of a refreshing swim in the river, and a general clean up and cool off before the evening meal.

After being entertained at dinner in the Town Hall by the mayoress and the ladies of Parramatta, the men attended a recruiting meeting when speeches were delivered by the Rev. P. S. Waddy, head-master of the King’s School, and Rev. S. M. Johnston, Sergeant Coates and Sergeant-major Lee. The result of the meeting was that forty-one recruits were obtained.

Yesterday’s suburban junketings and “speechifications” may be passed over, the one pleasant fact being recorded that the “Coo-ees” made a fine recruiting impression upon the young manhood of the western suburbs, and it is certain that at tod-day’s finish in Martin Place, Sydney, there will be over three hundred sworn recruits answering the roll-call of “Hitchen ‘s Own.”

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116652489

Day 31, Tuesday, 9 November, 1915, Springwood to Penrith

Transcription of an extract from an article titled ‘The Route March : In the Suburbs of Sydney’ in The Farmer and Settler, 12 November, 1915, p. 3 [2 of 3 parts]

… [Continued]

‘Valley Heights to Emu Plains.
On Tuesday morning Springwood waved its farewell, and the column passed onward and downward along the picturesque mountain roads through Valley Heights, Blaxland and Glenbrook, and down Lapstone Hill to the bridge, where the noon day meal was taken. Senators McDougall and Grant came to see the army of the West at Emu Plains.

Penrith.
At four o clock Penrith was “stormed,” the “Coo-ees” swinging into town like a corps of veterans. They were met at the Nepean bridge by a squadron of Light Horse, a company of infantry, a detachment of Boy Scouts, and a squad of smart-looking recruits. Headed by the Penrith band the town was paraded, and the whole population of the district appeared to be present. At the town hall the mayor, Ald. Walker, made a brief speech of welcome, and the men were afterwards entertained at dinner, and later took part in the usual recruiting rally.

… [Cont.]

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116652489

Day 30, Monday, 8 November, 1915, Lawson to Springwood

Transcription of an extract from an article titled ‘The Route March : In the Suburbs of Sydney’ in The Farmer and Settler, 12 November, 1915, p. 3 [1 of 3 parts]

‘THE ROUTE MARCH
In the Suburbs of Sydney
OVER THREE HUNDRED MEN NOW MARCHING.

Before this issue of the “Farmer and Settler” reaches the great majority of its readers, the Great Western Route March will have ended, the “Coo-ees” will have been welcomed in the heart of Sydney by assembled thousands of the people, and will have gone into camp to complete their training.

In many respects the last week on the road was the roughest of the whole thirty two days’ march, and the greatest test of the physical stamina and the temper of the men.

When the column left Lawson on Monday morning, the mountains were swathed in the smoke of bush fires, and as the miles brought them nearer the capital the men found the roads growing rougher and dustier, the humid heat more oppressive, and the flies and the smoke twin plagues to complete their discomfort. The other side of the picture was the cheery courage of the men themselves, and the enthusiasm and generosity of the people at every wayside town and hamlet.

Hazelbrook.
As the army approached Hazelbrook it was met by the school children and practically the whole population. Gifts of cigarettes and other comforts were made, the children sang the National Anthem, and the troops marched through, cheered by the “motto” that had been stretched across the road: “God-speed, and a safe return — Hazelbrook to the Coo-ees.”

One of the interesting episodes of the Hazelbrook welcome was the presence of an Afghanistan and South African veteran, Lieut. E. G. Facey, who could not resist the impulse to step it out to the martial music of the Leura band.

Woodford.  
A warm welcome awaited the column at Woodford. Under the trees a cold luncheon had been spread, and while the men refreshed themselves, Captain Dakin and Mr. G. J. Waterhouse voiced the good wishes of the people.

Australian Ensign flag donated to the Coo-ees at Woodford, now on display at the Coo-ee Heritage Centre, Gilgandra (Photograph: H. Thompson)

Australian Ensign flag given to the Coo-ees by wounded soldiers at Woodford, now on display at the Coo-ee Heritage Centre, Gilgandra. Donated by the family of Ernie May, a Coo-ee from Wongarbon who kept the flag after the Coo-ee March (Photograph: H. Thompson)

A ceremony that touched the boys was the presentation of an Australian flag by Private Nutting, on behalf of his comrades of the local military convalescent home, Professor David’s house, lent to the Government for the use of the returned soldiers. A contingent of the wounded soldiers assembled and cheered the “Coo-ees,” and this was a compliment that went to the hearts of all; they carried that Anzac-Australian flag in the place of honor through townships passed through later.

Linden and Faulconbridge.
From Woodford to Linden was down hill, on a road that twisted between blackened patches of recently burned timber. Linden was a non-stop station, so, helped along by the cheers of the residents, the column forged ahead.

Soon after noon the hamlet of Faulconbridge, the last resting place of Sir Henry Parkes, came into view. An escort of mounted troopers joined the column here, but there was no halt until Springwood was reached.

Coo-ees nearing Springwood (Photograph courtesy of Gilgandra Historical Society)

Coo-ees nearing Springwood (Photograph courtesy of Gilgandra Historical Society)

Springwood.
The procession that entered Springwood consisted of the “Coo-ees,” Leura band, mounted troopers, a squad of local riflemen and a piper specially sent by the Highland Society. Springwood was en fete, flags flew everywhere, and banners of welcome hung across the road. A charming tableau was presented by the school children, the boys dressed in khaki as soldiers and tho girls garbed as nurses. After a parade of the township the army camped at Homedale estate, dined and rested — all except a squad ordered out at the double to take a bridge head of the enemy, an advancing tongue of bush fire.

At night a thousand persons attended a promenade concert and listened to fine recruiting speeches by Mr. H. Blackett and the local clergy.’

… [Cont.]

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