Tag Archives: Meadow Flat

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 21, Saturday, 30 October, 1915, Yetholme to Wallerawang

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

 ‘Yetholme to Wallerawang.

The track from Yetholme to Wallerawang was mostly down hill, by the route, we took on Saturday, via Meadow Flat and Thompson’s Creek.

Sunny Corner again co-operated, this time with Meadow Flat, to provide luncheon for the recruits, the meal being laid out on the grass by tho school house. Bouquets and cigarettes were supplied to each man, and after an excellent “lunch,” which might well have been called a dinner, the remainder of the nineteen miles was tackled to “‘Wang,” as the local people prefer to call the junction town of Wallerawang.

Three miles from the day’s destination the school children at Thompson’s Creek presented bouquets to the “Coo-ees,” and a little further on, at the cross roads the entire population of Portland assembles  to greet the boys from the west.

Mr. Carmichael, M.L.A., who had arrived by the mid-day mail, was also there having travelled out in the Portland coach, together with a large number of Wallerawang townspeople. Speeches were made, and by request of the officers they were made short, as the men are finding “spruiking” the most tiresome part of the march. The Portland Town Band then took the lead, and the journey was resumed to Wallerawang, which town was entered about five o’clock.

Camp was pitched at once in the school grounds, and preparations made to attack the dinner that had been prepared by the good ladies, assisted by a contingent of enthusiasts from Portland.

As experience has shown that men can not march on cakes and trifles, the committee of management has taken upon it-self the responsibility of issuing directions as to what food shall be given the men. The ladies of the west seem to think that the only way to give the men a good time is to fill them up with pastry. No fault can be found with the cooking, as every “Coo-ee” can testify, but it is not marching food. On this occasion, however, the officer’s advice was followed, and the men “bogged into”‘ plates heaped with gold old corned beef and piled high with carrots in a manner that fully justified the demand for “plain food.”

Another matter in which official intervention has been found necessary was that of smoking materials. All along the route tobacco and cigarettes have been provided, generously, usually handed out at meal times by the ladies. As a number or the boys have colds hanging to them still, medical advice was sought, and they were told that the colds would never be shaken off while they continued to smoke such excessive quantities of cigarettes. Therefore only a limited quantity is now allowed, and any surplus is taken charge of by the quartermaster-sergeant and changed by obliging store-keepers for pipes and tobacco.

It is a tall order to ask a small place like Wallerawang to cater for a hundred and fifty men for five meals, and it takes three men nearly an hour to carve the meat. The ladies have gone to it with a will, and with the invaluable assistance of Mr. Sean (in whose hall the meals are prepared), together with other assistants, ‘Wang did well.’

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