Tag Archives: Bathampton

Day 22, Sunday, 31 October, 1915, Wallerawang

There is no account of this day in The Farmer and Settler reports, as it was a rest day on the march. 

 Following is an account which includes this day in a letter from Mr. H. T. Blackett, from Dubbo, to his wife, who accompanied the march in his Ford motor car. 

Note that there does not appear to be any surviving copies of the ‘moving picture’ film taken of the Coo-ees that is mentioned in it.

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

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

Transcription of an article titled ‘The “Coo-ees” : a day by day account’, from The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, 2 November 1915, p. 3.

‘Mr. H. T. Blacket, writing on 31st October from Wallerawang to Mrs. Blacket, gives some interesting particulars of the route march of the “Coo-ees.”

”After leaving Millthorpe,” he says, we made for Blayney, and when within two miles of that town we were met by Captain Eade, who took command of the men, and is still with us. He is a fine soldier, and is enforcing discipline very rigidly, especially in regard to drink. We had a great time at Blayney. I stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Heane, and enjoyed a good rest, feeling a bit tired, as I am going pretty solidly. What with transport, sick men, advance and rear work, I have covered over 700 miles. The Blayney people bought all our requirements. The night after leaving Blayney we camped at Bathampton wool-shed. Mr. Gilmour, the owner of the station (which is a pretty place, with lovely house and gardens), invited Major Wynne, Captain Eade and myself to stay with him for the night. He is a bachelor, but most hospitable and attentive. Next morning I went to Bathurst and brought the mails back to our midday camp at Evans’ Plains. I had a good load of stuff, besides sick men. The procession into Bathurst was one of the finest seen. Hundreds of children were in fancy dress, mounted police, Mayor and aldermen, wounded soldiers, cadets, and people by the thousands. The march to Bathurst was most imposing, and a moving picture was taken. If it is on at Dubbo you should see it. Ask the picture men to let you know if any of the “Coo-ee” pictures are to be shown. We left Bathurst, and had mid-day rest at Glanmire. After that we went to Yetholme, and camped at the school, having meals in the big dining room at “Brooklands,” and a camp-fire concert. Four recruits joined here. We left Yetholme yesterday morning, and did 20 miles to Wallerawang, where we arrived yesterday afternoon, after camping at Meadow Flat for lunch. The Wallerawang and Portland people met us by hundreds three miles from ‘Wang, and a band headed a very long procession all the way to the town. The people here are supplying all meals. Last night Mr. Carmichael addressed a meeting here, and we got seven recruits. We are now about 170 strong.

“We leave for Lithgow to-morrow, and will arrive there about 5 p.m. We understand there is to be a big reception at Lithgow-bands, soldiers from the camp (700), etc., are meeting us a mile out of town. Cigarettes are being excluded. We remain at Lithgow till the morning of the 3rd November, and then move on and camp at Hartley, at the foot of Victoria Pass. The people are very kind to us along the route. We have a cattle pup, a young fox, and a retriever. I hear that Mr. Fern, of Cobar, is bringing 100 recruits from Cobar to join us at Penrith, and from all we can hear Sydney is going balmy. It is a grand thing, and will be handed down in history as the first route march in the British Empire. A representative from Lithgow, and also from Mount Victoria, have just come to confer about arrangements there. We now have a member of the Army Medical Corps with the camp. Dungarees and white hats were issued to-day to the men, who are in the pink of condition, and marching strongly. All the talk about them being bootless and ill-clothed, etc., is a pack of lies. The men have but to ask for anything at all in the shape of boots, socks, clothing, braces, tobacco, haircuts and medicine, and they are obtained at the first opportunity. There have been no desertions. We now have a lorry, three waggonettes, a light spring cart, a sulky, and the car, and 10 horses and 170 men, as against the 28 men, one waggonette and two horses which left Gilgandra originally. The men are being well drilled by the Captain and Staff Sergeant-Major Scott, and the last three days have gone a long way towards making soldiers of them. Pay started from time of swearing-in. Amongst our men are a father and two sons.”’

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77601738

Day 19, Thursday, 28 October, 1915, Bathampton to Bathurst

Transcription of an article titled ‘The Great Route March : the tremendous Bathurst welcome’ from The Farmer and Settler, 2 November, 1915, p. 3, [part 1 of 3].

‘The Great Route March

The recruiting march from Gilgandra to the sea has now reached the Blue Mountains, and is entering upon its fourth week. Captain Eade, of Lithgow, who has lately had disciplinary charge of the men, has done much towards making an army out of a mob, and by the time the column marches into Sydney it will be of a strength and of a character that the defence authorities will gladly approve.

After leaving Bathampton on Thursday morning dinner was provided for the marching column at Evans’ Plains, and the march then continued to Bathurst.

Coo-ees seven miles west of Bathurst (Daily Telegraph 30/10/1915)

Coo-ees seven miles west of Bathurst (Daily Telegraph 30/10/1915)

The pre-arranged time of arrival at the outskirts of the town was four o’clock, so, as good time had been made on the journey, an hour or more was put in at squad drill. The preparations of the Bathurst Recruiting Committee were elaborate and complete in every particular. All Bathurst was out to do honor to the men from the Castlereagh, and the children of all schools made a remarkable display, dressed in the costumes of the Allied nations. The cadets, under Col. Paul, and the school children lined the road, and then a procession was formed. Mounted police led, followed by the mayor and aldermen, and the Salvation Army and City Bands; a party of returned wounded soldiers, enjoying a holiday as guests of the Bathurst Red Cross Society, headed the “Coo-ees,” and the Bathurst unit fell in behind with their banner.

Hundreds of people lined the route, and the mile-long procession wound its way along the gaily decorated streets amid the cheers of the onlookers, and the ringing of church bells to King’s Parade, where an enclosure had been made in front of tho Soldiers’ Monument.

The wind had been rising all day, and at half-past four, just as the procession was turning into King’s Parade a “southerly buster” swirled the dust in clouds around the marching men. Alderman Beavis, Mayor of Bathurst, briefly welcomed Captain Hitchen and his coo-ees, for whom rousing cheers were given; then, as rain seemed imminent, the ladies dispensed afternoon tea and cigarettes in All Saints’ school-room, instead of outside as had been previously arranged.

The camp for the night was at the show ground, where also the ladies, marshalled by the Mayoress, served dinner to the hungry “Coo-ees.” Fortunately   the weather cleared, so that no more alterations to the programme were necessary. At 7.30 a continental was opened in Machattie Park, the selections by the District and City Bands being interspersed with recruiting speeches. A more beautiful setting could not have been found anywhere than in this park, with its well ordered paths, trim greenery, and the lights from the band rotunda glistening on the water playing from the fountain, about which the great crowd had assembled. Sweets and tobacco stalls were dotted about, at which purchases might be made by all except “Coo-ees,” who had been provided with badges that franked them to everything inside the park gates. Supper was served by another staff of ladies in a large tent specially erected for the occasion.

The Mayor, as chairman, introduced Dr. Machattie, Captain Eade, Sergeant Lee, and Private Fern, M.L.A., the member for Cobar, who was going to Cobar that night on final leave, and also to bring down a hundred men from the farthest west to join the column at Penrith.

These gentlemen addressed heart-to-heart, straight-from-the-shoulder recruiting arguments to the young men of Bathurst, not forgetting to point out to the women of Bathurst—Indeed, of all Australia—their duty in this awful war. Ten men had fallen into line with the recruits in tho procession as the Bathurst unit; eleven more men now came for- ward, so that the hundred and thirty odd that marched into the Queen City of the West formed a longer line by the addition of twenty-one “Bathurst Boomerangs.” Every recruit was presented with a trinket in the form of a boomerang, with Bathurst engraved on it, and the lo-cal unit was called “Bathurst Boomerangs” because “they go out to return.” While the heartiness of the welcome accorded the men of the column at Bathurst could not be any more sincere, or better demonstrated by the responsible citizens, than that of the other towns en- countered en route from Gilgandra, there can be no doubt that this was the big reception to date. Every man of the “Coo-ees” agrees that he had everything that could be desired at the hands of the   citizens of Bathurst.’

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116674771

Day 18, Wednesday, 27 October, 1915, Blayney to Bathampton

Transcription of extract from an article titled ‘Gilgandra to the Coast : the “Snowball” growing as it rolls’ from The Farmer and Settler, 29 October, 1915, p. 3, [part 3 of 3 parts]:
… [Continued]

‘Blayney to Bathampton.
Blayney was bidden farewell on Wednesday morning, and a hilly journey entered upon to Bathampton. Six miles on this stage were traversed to King’s Plains, which name appeared on the face of is a misnomer, as the little cluster of houses was set on the top of a hill in the midst of hills. The local school teacher, Mr. Gardiner, was in charge of operations here, and the children marched out to meet the Coo-ees, each with a flag, together with the total population, about fifty persons. Luncheon was served in the school grounds, and the boys were welcomed by Mr. Gardiner, speaking on behalf of the residents.

Six more hilly miles were covered over a spur of the Blue Mountains to the home of Mr. Gilmour, who kindly offered the hospitality of the Bathampton estate to the recruits.

Bathampton lies in a pretty valley through which winds the Fitzgerald Valley Creek, and is one of the oldest Crown grants. The original homestead is nearly demolished, but some of the farm buildings remain.’

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116671286

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.