Tag Archives: Blayney

Hair-cuts at Blayney

When the Coo-ees were at Blayney, the Blayney Recruiting Association paid two local barbers to cut the hair of about 80 of the men at the showground, where the Coo-ees were camped.[1]

This event is described in an extract of an article titled ‘Western News’, from The Bathurst Times, 29th October, 1915, p. 3.

(By Our Travelling Representative.)
BLAYNEY, Thursday.

On Wednesday tho hairdressers of Blayney had a busy time in exercising the tonsorial art on tho Gilgandra “Coo-ees.” Curly locks and straight growths were trimmed and cut, and marching recruits emerged from the chairs feeling fresh and fit. One of the men, however, expressed his disapproval of a close crop. He gave the reason. “Some time ago,” he explained, “I got a knock on the head and since then I have always kept my hair pretty long so as to protect the scar, but now I’ve had a close crop and it shows out. Not only that my hat is now several sizes too large for my head. I stuffed a daily paper in so as to make it a closer fit, but that didn’t do any good. It’s still too big.” He was quite distressed about it. It appeared to worry him more than all tho thoughts of going off to fight for his country.’

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111246715

[1] ‘Gilgandra to the Coast’, The Farmer and Settler, 29 October 1915, p. 3.

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 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

Day 17, Tuesday, 26 October, 1915, Millthorpe to Blayney

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 2 of 3 parts]:
… [Continued]

‘Blayney Demonstration.
An early start was made on Tuesday, cloudy conditions, with cold winds, still prevailing. Blayney was entered at 12.45, the column being met at the town boundary by the Cowra town band, which had kindly come to the assistance of band-less Blayney. The Mayor (Alderman E. R. Clark). Mr. C. S. Fern (member for Cobar), shire councillors and aldermen were also present, and the procession was headed by a squad of thirty horsemen and horsewomen, and followed by a large number of cars and vehicles.

The show ground had been selected by the Recruiting Association for the recruits’ accommodation, and there the boys found a fine dinner prepared by the ladies of the local Red Cross Committee. To prevent any possible risk of the recruits succumbing to the misguided generosity of townspeople and others, all hotels were declared out of bounds, and the publicans warned by the police not to serve the recruits. It is a great pity that some of the persons that make a nuisance of themselves by insisting on “shouting” could not be made to go to the war themselves. They will not fight themselves, and they insist upon trying to make the real fighters unfit for their work.

The Cowra band gave selections during tho afternoon, and the public were present in force, chatting with the “Coo- ees.” After tea, also provided by the ladies, a continental was held in the pavilion, two thousand persons being present. Local artists contributed to a fine programme of vocal and instrumental tunes, interspersed with recruiting addresses by Mr. E. S. Carr (the local Federal member), Mr. E. R. Clark (the Mayor), Mr. C. S. Fern (the member for Cobar) and Q.M.S. Lee. Five local men answered the call, together with five other men from the district. Carcoar district also sent one man, and in addition presented the sum of £20, that had boon collected at the Carcoar show to tho marching fund of the column. Five more men arrived by the late train from Geurie and one from Gilgandra. The evening concluded with supper under the pavilion.

The Blayney Recruiting Association, the energetic secretary of which is Mr. K. F. Creaghe, was in charge of all arrangements. They supplied any and everything required from the stores, and also arranged for about eighty men to have their hair cut by two local barbers, who attended at the camp for that purpose. As cold weather is being experienced, six horse rugs were supplied at Blayney, and a vehicle will also be given, as the present transport facilities are proving inadequate.

The Blayney Freezing Works donated a supply of petrol for the motor, and as a large number of men have the “Coo-ee bark” (Syn. Liverpool cough), Mr. Matthews, the chemist, donated a quantity of cough tablets. A staff-sergeant-major from Lithgow will also shortly join the contingent to give instruction and for disciplinary purposes.’

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.