Tag Archives: Hartley

Photo of the Coo-ees at Hartley

Photo of the Coo-ees at Hartley

This great quality photograph of the Coo-ees lined up outside the Royal Hotel at Hartley on Thursday morning, 4th November 1915, shows them standing at attention, wearing their new white hats and blue dungarees that they had been issued with at Lithgow, ready to set off on the Great Western Road to Mount Victoria.

Coo-ees outside the Royal Hotel at Hartley 4/11/1915 (Photograph courtesy Denis J. Chamberlain OAM)

Captain Eade is standing at the front of the column on the left, with Corporal Bill Hitchen standing beside him in the centre front row.

The “Mac” referred to in the caption was Robert McGarry (1864-1942), who was the proprietor of  Royal Hotel at Hartley, where he had a wine licence and provided accommodation. The Royal Hotel was a popular “half-way house” for tourists and travellers to stop for refreshments and a rest in motor cars and on motor cycles at the time.[1]  Mr McGarry had officially welcomed the Coo-ees to Hartley on behalf of the village residents the afternoon before, and other members of his family had also assisted in the hospitality that had been provided to the men, which had included a ‘splendid dinner and breakfast’.[2]

This historic building is still standing, and the marchers on the 2015 Coo-ee March Re-enactment took the opportunity to pose for a photograph in the same location 100 years later, on 4th November 2015.

Coo-ee Marchers outside the old Royal Hotel at Hartley 4/11/2015 (Photograph: H. Thompson)


[1] MOTOR CYCLING. (1915, November 1). Lithgow Mercury (NSW : 1898 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved January 20, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article218448014 ; MOTOR-CYCLIST POSTPONE FLEXIBILITY CLIMB OF U.C.C. (1915, September 4). Saturday Referee and the Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1912 – 1916), p. 3. Retrieved January 20, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article117550162

[2] THE MARCH OF THE “COO-EES.” (1915, November 8). Lithgow Mercury (NSW : 1898 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 20, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article218445047


Day 25, Wednesday, 3 November, 1915, Lithgow to Hartley

Transcription of an extract from an article titled ‘The Route March : Through Lithgow District’ in The Farmer and Settler, 5 November, 1915, p. 3 [part 3 of 4]
… [Continued]

Under the shadow of Hassan's Walls (Sydney Mail 10/11/1915)

Under the shadow of Hassan’s Walls (Sydney Mail 10/11/1915)


Lithgow turned out in force to see the last of the “Coo-ees,” and each man was given a tri-color ribbon bearing the inscription, “Lithgow, 3/11/15. ‘Coo-ee!’ Good Luck!” as a souvenir of the occasion. Some ladies also attended with a bag of sweets for each man. The Lithgow camp  recruits marched out with the Gilgandra column as far as the Cooerwull Academy, where a brief halt was made. The boys of the academy had rigged flags across the road, and they met the march with cheers. The boys also presented the column with a kettledrum.

Al fresco lunch at Bowenfells (Sydney Mail 10/11/1915)

Al fresco lunch at Bowenfells (Sydney Mail 10/11/1915)

Lunch was laid at Bowenfells, under the trees opposite the oldest Methodist Church west of the Mountains, Nearby stand an old lock-up and hotel, both dating back to the earliest convict days. There was a surprisingly large assemblage of our friends from Lithgow and other towns further in the Mountains, together with chance tourists that had heard of the approach of the “Coo-ees,” and had come along to see them. Lunch was alfresco, with full and plenty, and it was speedily demolished by the hungry boys, for the walk had been warm and the way hilly.

Only five miles remained for the afternoon’s march, and as the country sloped downwards once more, an hour or two was spent in chatting with the visitors. A little diversion was caused by the discovery that one of the “Coo-ees” had   hitherto escaped the barber, and had a fine crop of curly hair. He was quickly captured by his mates, the camp barber was summoned, and the offending locks removed forthwith.

Reception at Hartley Vale (Sydney Mail 10/11/1915)

Reception at Hartley Vale (Sydney Mail 10/11/1915)


The column made its way into Hartley, headed by a battery of motor-cars, and the road was lined by school children, waving flags. It was strange to see the old courthouse, erected in the early thirties, with all its suggestions of the triangle and leg irons; It was strange to see this old building, the scene of many a convict tragedy, turned into a banquet hall in honor of the boys of the near west, who were going out to battle for the country.

The “Coo-ees” were warmly welcomed by the residents, and afterwards tea was accounted for, and blankets spread under the stars for the night’s bivouac.

Mr. J. McGarry, one of the most enthusiastic workers in entertaining the recruits, is the grandson of old John Mc-Garry, who had the Royal Hotel in the forties. The hotel has been in the hands of the family for three generations, and the place is an excellent example of the architecture of the old colonial days.’

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116680017