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.