Tag Archives: Mt. Victoria



Per his military service record (Depot), Edgar Dawson was born at Bathurst, N.S.W.[1]  He gave his age as 29 years and 7 months, his marital status as married, and his occupation as labourer.  His description on his Certificate of Medical Examination was height 5 feet 8 ¼ inches tall, weight 116 lbs., with a dark complexion, bluish eyes, and brown hair. His religious denomination was Church of England.  He claimed that he had no previous military service.

His next of kin was recorded on his Attestation Paper of Persons Enlisted for Service Abroad as his wife, Mrs E. [Coral Edith] Dawson, Post Office, Bathurst N.S.W.

He completed his medical examination, and was attested by Lieutenant Frank Middenway, at Ashfield on 11th November 1915.

However, his Oath in his Attestation Paper was dated from 4th November 1915, and the date of 4th November 1915 was recorded at the bottom of the front page of his Attestation Paper near his signature, which was the day the Coo-ees marched from Hartley to Mt. Victoria.

An initial Application to Enlist in the Australian Imperial Force form dated 2nd November 1915 in his service record shows that he undertook a preliminary medical examination at Bathurst on 2nd November 1915, and “Route March Mt. Victoria” is written at the top of this form, so it appears he may have first presented to join the Coo-ee March at Mt. Victoria.

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

On 15th January 1916 Private Dawson went absent without leave.

On 17th February 1916 he was posted as a deserter.

Private Dawson returned to the Liverpool Camp with a Doctor’s Certificate dated 19th February 1916 stating he had been suffering from Entero-colitis.

His service record shows that on 22nd February 1916 his wife sent a letter requesting his discharge on the grounds that she believed that he was ‘not physically robust to go to the front’.

On 25th February 1916 Private Dawson went before a Medical Board that found him fit for military service.

On 3rd March 1916 Private Dawson’s wife sent another letter requesting his discharge due to their three young children aged 7, 5, and 3 years,  being sick with measles.

She sent another letter on 7th March 1916 stating that she also was sick and was not able to look after their children on her own. These letters did not appear to have any effect, and on 13th March 1916 Private Dawson went absent without leave again.

On 13th April 1916 Private Dawson was apprehended by the Military Police and taken to Victoria Barracks.

On 20th April 1916 he was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force ‘at wife’s request’.

[1] NAA: B2455, DAWSON E

Walter James MITCHELL

Walter James MITCHELL

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4842),  Walter James Mitchell was born at Cobar, N.S.W.[1]  He gave his age as 37 years and 5 months, his marital status as married, and his occupation as Contractor.  His description on his Certificate of Medical Examination was height 5 feet 7 inches tall, weight 147 lbs., with a fair complexion, grey eyes, and light brown hair.  His religious denomination was Presbyterian. He claimed to have had no previous military service.

A send-off was held on Thursday 28th October 1915 at the Court House Hotel in Cobar for Walter and his brother Robert Mitchell, Norman Franciso, and Andrew Lennox, and they were then cheered by many friends when they left Cobar by train on 30th October 1915 to join the A.I.F.[2]

Walter Mitchell completed his medical examination, and was attested, at Dubbo on 2nd November 1915, (the day the Coo-ees were at Lithgow).

Walter and his brother Robert Mitchell, Andrew Lennox, and Norman Francisco then travelled to catch up with the Coo-ees, and  were waiting to join the Coo-ee March when the Coo-ees arrived at Mt. Victoria two days later, on 4th November 1915.[3]

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

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was Cobar, N.S.W., and his next of kin was listed as his wife, Mrs H. G. [Henrietta] Mitchell, C/o W. Mitchell, Cobar, N.S.W.  His rank was listed as Acting Corporal.[4]

A farewell was held at the Masonic Hall in Cobar at the Masonic Hall on Friday 3rd March 1916 to bid farewell to Corporal Walter Mitchell, and his brother Private Bob Mitchell, and Private Fred Duncan. The Western Age reported that  ‘Corporal Walter Mitchell, on rising to respond on behalf of himself and his comrades, was loudly cheered’, and in a ‘very affected speech he said words failed to thank to people of Cobar for all the kind remarks and their nice presents’, and that they would ‘cherish them wherever it was their lot to be sent’, and that it was a ‘great wrench for him to go, but he realised duty had to be done, and he was going to do his little bit’.[5]

On 8th March 1916 Acting Corporal Mitchell, along with his brother, and many of the other Coo-ees, departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England, with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.  He arrived in Egypt on 11th April 1916.

On 16th April 1916 he was transferred to the 4th Division Artillery at Tel-el-Kebir, and taken on strength of the 10th Field Artillery Brigade, with the rank of Gunner.

On 22nd May 1916 Gunner Mitchell was transferred to the 37th Battery.

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

On 24th October 1916 Gunner Mitchell was taken on the strength of the 10th Field Artillery Brigade.

On 25th October 1916 Gunner Mitchell was appointed as a Temporary Bombardier.

On 9th March 1917 Temporary Bombardier Mitchell was sent to the 4th Australian Field Ambulance sick. On 12th March 1917 he was moved back to a Casualty Clearing Station, and reverted to the rank of Gunner.

On 19th April 1917 he was placed aboard the 20th Ambulance Train, and evacuated to the 14th Stationary Hospital at Boulogne, France.

On 22nd April 1917 Gunner Mitchell was placed aboard Hospital Ship Jan Breydel for evacuation to England, with meningitis.

On 23rd April he was admitted to the Addington Park War Hospital outside London, England.

On 18th May 1917 Gunner Mitchell was transferred to the Royal Herbert Hospital at Woolwich, England.

On 8th August 1917 he was transferred to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield Park, England.

Gunner Mitchell was discharged on the 18th of August 1917, and sent to the No. 2 Command Depot at Weymouth, England.

On 27th September 1917 Gunner Mitchell departed England aboard the H.T.  Suevic bound for Australia, for medical discharge with Myalgia debility after C. S. Fever.

He arrived in Australia on 20th November 1917.

Private Mitchell was welcomed home and presented with a silver cup by the people of Cobar, and the Red Cross Association, at the Masonic Hall in Cobar on 5th December 1917.[6]

Private Mitchell was discharged medically unfit on 31st January 1918.



[2] ‘Summary’, Western Age, 30 October 1915, p. 2. Retrieved August 5, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136723099

[3] ‘Summary’, Western Age, 6 November 1915, p. 2. Retrieved April 4, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136724708

[4] Australia War Memorial. First World War Embarkation Rolls, Walter James Mitchell, HMAT Star of England A15, 8th March 1916.

[5] ‘Cobar’s Farewell’, Western Age (Dubbo, NSW : 1914 – 1932), 10 March 1916, p. 2. Retrieved August 5, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136721446

[6] ‘Cobar Soldiers’ Red Cross Association’,Western Age, 7 December 1917, p. 3. Retrieved August 5, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136909226


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.