Tag Archives: Ashfield

Coo-ee article in Journal of the Ashfield & District Historical Society Inc.

‘Coo-ee!’ article in Ashfield History No. 20, Journal of the Ashfield & District Historical Society Inc.

Ashfield History No 20, published by Ashfield & District Historical Society Inc., November 2015.

Ashfield History No 20, published by Ashfield & District Historical Society Inc., November 2015.

A very interesting 31 page article titled ‘Coo-ee’, written by Ann O’Connell, has been published in ‘Ashfield Answers the Call’, Ashfield History No. 20, Journal of the Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc.

Written from an Ashfield perspective, this provides a very informative overview of the 1915 Coo-ee March,  with information about the march from its beginning in Gilgandra to its end in Sydney, and the 22 recruits who joined the Coo-ee March at Ashfield.  The article also includes lots of very interesting illustrations, including some photographs which have not been published before being printed in this article.

These include photographs from the personal family albums of Lieutenant Frank Middenway’s daughters, now held by his granddaughters, Dorothy Clampett and Margaret Murden.  One of these photographs is of the Coo-ees marching in a procession in front of the Bathurst Court House, in Russell Street, Bathurst, and one of the ‘Coo-ees near Wang’, showing local people with pushbikes, horses and sulkies, greeting the Coo-ees on a country road near Wallerawang (both on page 42).

Lieutenant Middenway, from Lithgow Army Camp, accompanied Captain Eade and Staff Sergeant Major Scott from Lithgow to Sydney, to assist with recruitment on the Coo-ee March.[1] His signature as Attesting Officer is on many of the Coo-ees’ Attestation Papers in their service records.

This article also includes photographs of the Ashfield Drill Hall, where the Coo-ees stayed overnight on 11th November 1915.

There is also a photograph of one of the purple Coo-ee “badge” ribbons that has been kept in Lieutenant Middenway’s family album.

This journal issue is available from sale for $20.00 plus $10.00 postage and handling from the Ashfield & District Historical Society, PO Box 20, Ashfield, NSW 1800. See their publications page for further information:   http://users.tpg.com.au/adhsashfield1/ADHS-publications.htm

[1] ‘General’, Lithgow Mercury, 3 November 1915, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article218452406


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 CUDDEFORD (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.

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.]

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

Coo-ee March: Introduction

Gilgandra Route March (Daily Telegraph, 16 Oct. 1915)

Route of the March (Daily Telegraph 16/10/1915)

The  320 miles (515 km) “Coo-ee” recruitment march left Gilgandra with 25 marchers on Sunday, 10th October, 1915, stopping in each town and village along the route to be welcomed by local officials and members of each community, and to hold recruiting speeches to increase their ranks, and arrived in Sydney on Friday, 12th November, 1915 with its numbers increased to 263 marchers.  This march started a snowball of other similar recruitment marches in late 1915 and early 1916.

The Sydney Morning Herald  (13 November 1915, p. 20) reported the following official figures ‘of the men who 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’.

Following is the route and timetable of the march: Sunday, Oct. 10,  Balladoran ; Monday, Oct. 11,  Eumungerie ; Tuesday, Oct. 12,  Mogriguy ; Wednesday, Oct. 13,  Dubbo ; Thursday, Oct. 14,  Wongarbon ; Friday, Oct. 15,  Geurie ; Saturday, Oct. 16-Sunday, Oct. 17,  Wellington ; Monday, Oct. 18,  Dripstone ; Tuesday, Oct. 19,  Stuart Town ; Wednesday, Oct. 20,  Euchareena ; Thursday, Oct. 21,  Boomey ; Friday, Oct. 22,  Molong ; Saturday, Oct. 23-Sunday, Oct. 24,  Orange ; Monday, Oct. 25,  Milthorpe ; Tuesday, Oct. 26,  Blayney ; Wednesday, Oct. 27,  Bathampton ; Thursday, Oct. 28,  Bathurst ; Friday, Oct. 29,  Yetholme ; Saturday, Oct. 30-Sunday, Oct. 31, Wallerawang ; Monday, Nov. 1-Tuesday, Nov. 2,  Lithgow ; Wednesday Nov. 3, Little Hartley ; Thursday, Nov. 4,  Mt. Victoria ; Friday, Nov. 5,  Katoomba ; Saturday, Nov. 6-Sunday, Nov. 7,  Lawson, Monday, Nov. 8,  Springwood ; Tuesday, Nov. 9,   Penrith ; Wednesday, Nov. 10, Parramatta ; Thursday, Nov. 11, Ashfield ; Friday, Nov. 12, Sydney.

An account of the march on a day by day basis will follow initially in this blog.  It will be based mostly on articles from The Farmer and Settler, which were provided by Stanley E. Stephens, who was the son of the editor of this newspaper sent to be the official correspondent to cover the march, and who also joined the Coo-ees as a recruit at Gilgandra.