Tag Archives: Bathurst



Per his military service record (Depot), Edgar Dawson was born at Bathurst, N.S.W.[1]  He gave his age as 29 years and 7 months, his marital status as married, and his occupation as labourer.  His description on his Certificate of Medical Examination was height 5 feet 8 ¼ inches tall, weight 116 lbs., with a dark complexion, bluish eyes, and brown hair. His religious denomination was Church of England.  He claimed that he had no previous military service.

His next of kin was recorded on his Attestation Paper of Persons Enlisted for Service Abroad as his wife, Mrs E. [Coral Edith] Dawson, Post Office, Bathurst N.S.W.

He completed his medical examination, and was attested by Lieutenant Frank Middenway, at Ashfield on 11th November 1915.

However, his Oath in his Attestation Paper was dated from 4th November 1915, and the date of 4th November 1915 was recorded at the bottom of the front page of his Attestation Paper near his signature, which was the day the Coo-ees marched from Hartley to Mt. Victoria.

An initial Application to Enlist in the Australian Imperial Force form dated 2nd November 1915 in his service record shows that he undertook a preliminary medical examination at Bathurst on 2nd November 1915, and “Route March Mt. Victoria” is written at the top of this form, so it appears he may have first presented to join the Coo-ee March at Mt. Victoria.

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On 15th January 1916 Private Dawson went absent without leave.

On 17th February 1916 he was posted as a deserter.

Private Dawson returned to the Liverpool Camp with a Doctor’s Certificate dated 19th February 1916 stating he had been suffering from Entero-colitis.

His service record shows that on 22nd February 1916 his wife sent a letter requesting his discharge on the grounds that she believed that he was ‘not physically robust to go to the front’.

On 25th February 1916 Private Dawson went before a Medical Board that found him fit for military service.

On 3rd March 1916 Private Dawson’s wife sent another letter requesting his discharge due to their three young children aged 7, 5, and 3 years,  being sick with measles.

She sent another letter on 7th March 1916 stating that she also was sick and was not able to look after their children on her own. These letters did not appear to have any effect, and on 13th March 1916 Private Dawson went absent without leave again.

On 13th April 1916 Private Dawson was apprehended by the Military Police and taken to Victoria Barracks.

On 20th April 1916 he was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force ‘at wife’s request’.

[1] NAA: B2455, DAWSON E

Procession that welcomed the Coo-ees to Bathurst 28 October 1915

Procession that welcomed the Coo-ees to Bathurst 28th October 1915

Procession welcoming the Coo-ees to Bathurst, 28/10/1915. Photograph courtesy Margaret Murden and Dorothy Clampett.

Procession welcoming the Coo-ees to Bathurst, 28/10/1915. Photograph courtesy Dorothy Clampett and  Margaret Murden.

This photograph of the procession that welcomed the Coo-ees to Bathurst on Thursday 28th October , was taken from the corner of Russell Street and William Street, looking towards to Bathurst Court House.

The photograph partly shows two mounted police in the foreground, on William Street, then a brass band, following by men carrying rifles, at the head of a procession marching along Russell Street, next to King’s Parade. Trees obscure the rest of the procession. Spectators line the street. Bunting hangs across the road. The majestic Bathurst Court House can be seen in the background.

This photograph is from the family album of Lieutenant Frank Middenway’s daughters, now held by his granddaughters, Dorothy Clampett and Margaret Murden. Lieutenant Middenway, from Lithgow Army Camp, assisted with recruitment on the Coo-ee March from Lithgow to Sydney.

This photograph was recently published in an article titled ‘Coo-ee’, written by Ann O’Connell, in ‘Ashfield Answers the Call’, Ashfield History No. 20, Journal of the Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc.[1]

A description of the procession that lead the Coo-ees through the streets of Bathurst to the Soldiers’ Memorial in King’s Parade, which was built in 1909 to honour the Bathurst men who served in the 1899-1902 South African War, is given in the following transcription of an article titled ‘Recruits’ published in the Bathurst Times on 29 October 1915: [2]






Down the hill along Lambert-street at about 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon came a procession unique in the history of Bathurst, and one which portended the serious manner in which the serious crisis in which the Empire is at present involved is taken by the males of the community. For the Gilgandra recruits— that gallant band of volunteers inaugurated by Captain T B. [sic] Hitchen — were entering the good old City of the Plains, and the Bathurst people had determined that the reception accorded them should be one worthy of the town and district.

Enough has been said of the commendable nature of the scheme of Captain Hitchen, and the arrival yesterday of the ever-increasing band of men that goes to prove the value of the captain’s recruiting effort was made the occasion of a gala day in Bathurst, the attendance in the streets and elsewhere, and the enthusiasm displayed being typical of the high esteem in which the marching recruits are held.


At the corner of Stewart and Lambert streets, where the procession entered the town proper, a sign was displayed on the balcony of the Hotel Dudley, which read: ‘Well done, Coo-ees! We welcome you, and wish you God-speed,’ and this formed a fitting word of welcome to the gallant little band. All along the streets to the King’s Parade, where the Union Jack and Australian ensign flew proudly aloft on the newly erected flagstaff, crowds of enthusiastic citizens lined the way, and united in the effort to make the welcome to the recruits a warm one.

The procession was headed by a section of mounted police, behind which marched the City and Salvation Army Bands, discoursing excellent martial music. The local cadets followed, marching in good time ahead of scholars of the various schools and convents of the district, wearing the dainty costumes aired on the Belgian Day and Australia Day celebrations. His Worship the Mayor came next in a conveyance, followed by Mr A. G. Chiplin, in solitary glory in a hansom cab. The Military Band, under Mr. Lewins preceded the Gilgandra and other recruits, who were accorded a royal reception all along the route. “First Stop— Berlin,” read the inscription on one of the transport waggons, and each of the conveyances of the various units bore some similar indication of the determined spirit of the volunteers. The Civilian Rifle Club members marched behind the recruits, and were followed by a number of motor cars and other vehicles. The appearance of the banner “Bathurst Boomerangs” was the signal for an out-burst of emphasised applause, and the local quota to the strength of the contingent was accorded a brilliant reception.

On the way to the King’s Parade the frequent call of “Coo-ee!” echoed in the air, punctuated by the musical clang of the bells of All Saints’ Cathedral and the cheers of the multitude. Bunting was prominent everywhere, and as the procession turned into Russell-street from George-street it passed beneath a string of flags and words of welcome.


The Soldiers’ Memorial (built 1909) at King’s Parade, Bathurst. Photograph: H. Thompson

The Soldiers’ Memorial (built 1909) at King’s Parade, Bathurst. Photograph: H. Thompson


The scene when the recruits and others assembled at the Soldiers’ Memorial was a memorable one, and the remarks of the Mayor when welcoming the recruits were lost on the ears of the majority of the big assemblage. Nevertheless there was no mistaking the enthusiastic spirit of the multitude, and Bathurst may well feel proud of the greeting it accorded the band of gallant Empire defenders on their arrival.

Mr Beavis, who was supported on the Memorial by Captain Hitchen, Major Wynne, Captain Eade, Sergeant Lea, Mr. Fern, M.L.A., Major Machattie, and others formally welcomed the recruits to Bathurst. He mentioned that the town had already spent £15,000 in contributing to the various war funds, and that 400 of its men had joined the colors, while doubtless from 500 to 1000 more would do so in the future.

Captain Hitchen returned thanks for the reception accorded the recruits, which had been most flattering to himself and all concerned.


Having been entertained at after-noon tea by the ladies’ committee, the recruits marched to the Show Ground, where an excellent evening meal was served, in order that they might attend the evening’s proceedings in Machattie Park refreshed and keen on the recruiting aspect of the fixture.’

To read this article on Trove click here: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111246742

[1] O’Connell, Ann, ‘Coo-ee’, ‘Ashfield Answers the Call’, Ashfield History No. 20, Journal of the Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc., p. 42.

[2] ‘Recruits’, The Bathurst Times, 29 October 1915, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111246742


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 20, Friday, 29 October, 1915, Bathurst to Yetholme

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

Bathurst to Yetholme.
The district band played the column  out of town on Friday, leading the way from the showground along the beautiful willow avenue, over the bridge and out along the long, white road that leads Sydney-wards, over the mountains. The first portion of the day’s fifteen-mile journey to Yetholme was fairly good going, until Glanmire was reached at dinner time. Residents of Raglan co-operated with the Glanmire folk to provide lunch under the trees in Mr. Ivatt’s property at Glanmire. After being welcomed by Mr. J. Godfrey, the men “fell to” and soon evidenced their full appreciation of the good things provided by the ladies. The Rev. Crighton then addressed a few words of straight, manly advice to the men, and after the “Coo-ees” had cheered the ladies and others that had entertained them, they were themselves cheered along the road by the admiring throng.

Hilly ceased to be a suitable adjective with which to describe the road then entered upon, but the boys swung along the  mountain roads with a style about them that was a compliment to Captain Eade, and the non-commissioned officer that had joined forces at Bathurst for purposes of instruction and discipline.

A little after five in the evening Yetholme was discovered by the boys to be one or two tourist accommodation houses and a post office, nestling in the mountains, and one of the prettiest spots yet encountered. Small as was the population, arrangements had been made by the recruiting association for the proprietor of “Brooklands Park” to provide sustenance for the two full platoons of soldiers that had marched in that afternoon. Mr. W. H. Berry, president of the Turon Shire Council extended a warm welcome to the boys, and after quarters had been taken up in the school grounds, tea was served in the large dining hall. Two sittings is the order of the day now that a hundred and fifty men have to be provided for, only the larger towns boasting a structure capable of seating the whole army at once.

After tea it was proposed to hold a smoke concert in the dining room, but following a suggestion thrown out by the officers of the column, a camp fire concert was organised in the school grounds. A fair crowd assembled, and a very pleasant evening was spent, no fewer than three men coming forward to join, in response to the speeches of Messrs. C. W. Chiplin, Williams, Clark, Blackett, Lee, and Wynne. This addition to the ranks was all the more welcome because unexpected, nobody regarding such a small place as Yetholme in the light of a recruiting ground. One more man caught up on horseback from Glanmire. Mr. W. L. Garrad was a most energetic worker, as secretary of the local recruiting association; Mr. William represented Meadow Flat, and Mr. Chiplin spoke for Sunny Corner.

A shower of rain caused a little inconvenience to the open air sleepers during the night, hut all hands were cheery and ready for the march next morning after breakfast.’

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116674770

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

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.