Tag Archives: Dubbo



Per his military service record (regimental no. 4826), Thomas Lipscombe was born at Collingwood, Victoria.[1] He gave his age as 35 years and 7 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer. His description on his Certificate of Medical Examination was [height not recorded], weight 161 lbs., with a fair complexion, brown eyes, and fair hair. His religious denomination was Church of England. He claimed that he had no previous military service.

His ‘Joined on’ date on his Attestation Paper of Persons Enlisted for Service Abroad form was 9th November 1915 (the day the Coo-ees marched from Springwood to Penrith). The Oath to the taken by person being enlisted section on his Attestation Paper was dated from 9th November 1915. His Statement of Service in his service record is also dated from 9th November 1915, so it appears he may have joined the Coo-ee March on this day.

He completed his medical examination at Ashfield on 11th November 1915, and was attested at Ashfield by Lieutenant F. Middenway on the 11th November 1915 (the day the Coo-ees marched from Parramatta to Ashfield).

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

On 6th January 1916 Private Lipscombe was charged with being absent without leave from the Liverpool Camp from 9th December 1915 to 3rd January 1916. He was fined.

On 5th February 1916 Private Lipscombe was charged with being absent without leave from the Liverpool Camp for 5 days. He was fined 25 shillings.

The Dubbo Dispatch and Wellington Independent reported on 3rd March 1916 that ‘’Private T. Lipscombe has been in town the past few days taking farewell of his friends prior to preceeding to the front, whither he expects to sail next week’.[2]

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was his address was Australian Hotel, Dubbo.[3]  His next of kin was listed as friend, ‘P. J. Kennay’, Australian Hotel, Dubbo, N.S.W.  [This was probably P.J. Kennedy, licencee of the Austalian Hotel, Dubbo].[4]

Troopship HMAT A15 Star of England. Australian War Memorial Collection AWM H17014.

On 8th March 1916 Private Lipscombe departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England along with many of the other Coo-ees.  He arrived in Egypt on the 11th April 1916.

On 16th April 1916 Private Lipscombe was transferred to the 4th Division Artillery at Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt.

On 22nd May 1916 he was transferred to the 110th Battery.

On 1st  June 1916 he was designated a Driver, and transferred to the 10th Field Artillery Brigade.

On 5th June 1916 Driver Lipscombe left Alexandria aboard the HMT Oriana bound for France.  He arrived at Marseilles on 13th June 1916.

On 22nd January 1918 Driver Lipscombe went on leave to Paris.  He returned to the 10th Field Artillery Brigade on the 3rd of February 1918.

However, he had overstayed his leave, and had been due back on the 30th of January 1918.  He was arrested and held in detention.  Driver Lipscombe was found guilty of being absent without leave at a Court Martial held on 3th February 1918.  He was awarded 28 days Field Punishment No. 2 and fined 42 days pay.

On 18th August 1918 Driver Lipscombe was granted leave to England. He returned to the 10th Field Artillery Brigade in France on 9th September 1918.

On 3rd December 1918 Driver Lipscombe departed France, bound for England to commence his return to Australia. He arrived at Folkestone, England, later that day.

On 9th January 1919 Driver Lipscombe was charged with being absent without leave from 2359 on 7th January 1919 till 2120 on 8th January 1919. He was fined 1 days pay.

Driver Lipscombe departed Liverpool, England on 19th February 1919 for return to Australia aboard the H.T. Orca.

He arrived in Sydney on 3rd April 1919.

He was discharged medically unfit on 18th July 1919.



[2] Our Soldiers. (1916, March 3). Dubbo Dispatch and Wellington Independent (NSW : 1887 – 1932), p. 1. Retrieved April 7, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article228634920

[3] Australia War Memorial. First World War Embarkation Rolls, Thomas Lipscombe, HMAT Star of England A15, 8th March 1916.

[4] AUSTRALIAN HOTEL. (1917, December 4). Dubbo Dispatch and Wellington Independent (NSW : 1887 – 1932), p. 1. Retrieved April 7, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article228195676


Day 5, Thursday, 14 October, 1915, Dubbo to Wongarbon

Transcription of extract from an article titled ‘The Route March’ in The Farmer and Settler, 19 October, 1915, p. 3, [part 1 of 3 parts]:

The Snowball Growing
Last issue of the ‘Farmer and Settler’ left the Great Western Flying Column at Dubbo, where Captain Nicholas and his men met with the right royal reception to which they were entitled as the King’s men off to the wars. The most popular man in the western districts of New South Wales at the present time is Mr. W. T. Hitchen, the man that started the snow-ball rolling, and every town along the line lifts its corporate hat to Gilgandra and its recruiting association, the members of which made “Bill Hitchen’s idea” an actuality of the recruiting campaign.

Wongarbon’s Welcome.
The column marched out of Dubbo with colors flying shortly after noon last Thursday, a great concourse of people in the streets wishing them God-speed, and twelve local recruits falling in behind. The school band played the march out of town, and gave the boys a final cheer. Wongarbon was reached at tea-time. Three hundred people met the march a mile out of town. The Wongarbon band, the school children, and the members of the rifle club, joined the great procession, and citizens, mounted, driving, and on foot escorted the force to its rendezvous, cheering all the way. On arrival at the town, Cr. A. F. Morely, on behalf of the Shire Council, welcomed the ”snowball army” amid a scene of, tremendous enthusiasm. After pitching their tents and washing off the grime of the roads, the recruits marched to the local hall, where they were the guests of the citizens at a banquet to which over five hundred persons paid for admission. Captain D. Bowling, head master of the local school, and captain of the rifle club, presided, and put into words the public appreciation of the route march scheme, and the general hope that it would be a huge recruiting success. Captain Nicholas and Mr. Hitchen briefly responded and Recruit Lee made a recruiting speech, the quality of which is suggested by the fact that at its close thirteen men stepped forward and gave their names, either to march under Captain Nicholas, or to come after harvest. A collection for wayside expenses brought in £18.’

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116648940

Day 4, Wednesday, 13 October, 1915, Mogriguy to Dubbo

Transcription of extract from an article titled ‘Coo-ees Column’ in The Farmer and Settler, 15 October, 1915, p. 3, [part 3 of 3 parts]:

[Continued] …

 Pleasant times at Brocklehurst.  
 Wednesday morning broke cloudy, with a promise of further rain, when the column took the road for Brocklehurst.  The ladies of Mogriguy had provided breakfast, and no time was lost in starting on the longest stage of the whole route march.  The effect of further rain on the black soil was to produce a sticky glue through which the men tramped.  As the rain continued, the transports were stopped, and the waterproof sheets donated at Gilgandra were unpacked; these kept the men dry in the nine miles’ tramp before lunch.

Mr. A. Carson, the school teacher, had arranged with the ladles of Brocklehurst to prepare lunch, and they did this cheerfully and well despite the rain.  The ‘Coo-ees’ did justice to this part of the programme, and were then treated to a round of patriotic kissing by a bevy of Brocklehurst girls.  The schoolchildren led the march on to the Dubbo road, and the girls escorted the recruits for a mile on their way despite the rain.

Coo-ees at Dubbo (Town & Country Journal 20/10/1915)

Coo-ees at Dubbo (Town & Country Journal 20/10/1915)

The Welcome at Dubbo.
It was four miles to Dubbo, and on the outskirts of the town the column was met by the recruits in camp at Dubbo, and the town band as an escort.  There was a great crowd at the centre of the town, where a procession was formed, comprising the school band, Dubbo troops, the town band, the ‘Coo-ees’ and the transport waggons. The procession paraded the main streets to the town hall, where the mayor, Ald. J. Barden, and two thousand citizens were waiting.  The scene was, one of unprecedented enthusiasm.  Before the civic welcome had well begun, however, orders were received that the troops should proceed at once to the show ground camp to have overcoats issued to them; and the whole crowd followed them there and back.

Naturally, the ladies, who had tea ready, were highly indignant with the authorities over their “unceremonious and unwarranted interference.”

Coo-ees at Dubbo (Sydney Mail 20 Oct 1915)

Coo-ees at Dubbo (Sydney Mail 20/10/1915)

The mayor was considerately brief in his speech of welcome, but none the less cordial.  After a light repast of tea and cakes, the ‘Coo-ees’ marched to the drill hall for a wash, and later to the Protestant Hall to a big ‘meat tea,’ of steak and eggs, bread and butter and jam; a pleasant change of menu after banquets and poultry and such delicacies.  At a great recruiting meeting on Wednesday night, addresses were given by the chairman, Ald. Barden, Mr. Grimm, M.L.A., and Mr. Lee, and two more men were convinced that they should find places in the ranks of the ‘Coo-ees’ to fight in the great cause of civilisation versus barbarism.  Just before the meeting began two Parkes’ men presented themselves, stating that they wished to accompany Hitchens’ army to Berlin, via Constantinople. Thus the snowball army grows as it rolls onward.

Yesterday (Thursday) the march proceeded to Wongarbon.’

Click here to view the article on Trove:http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116673914

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.