Tag Archives: Orange

Updated photo of the Coo-ees at Orange

Macquarie Regional Library has kindly supplied me with a higher resolution view copy of the photograph of the Coo-ees at Orange for this website.  I have replaced the photo on the https://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/07/26/photo-of-the-coo-ees-at-orange/ page with this better image.

For those who follow my blog posts by email you might like to revisit this page and click twice on the photo to increase its size. They quality of the photograph is quite remarkable.

See if you can find the two little dogs in the photograph.  Harder to spot is a little black kitten!

Included in this photograph are the men who enlisted in the Coo-ee Recruitment March as they marched from Gilgandra to Dubbo, Wongarbon, Geurie, Wellington, Stuart Town, Euchareena, Molong, through to Orange, where the photograph was taken. (Some may be missing, including the 5 in Orange Hospital sick at the time).

If you have a photograph of a Coo-ee in your family photo collection that joined  the Coo-ee March between Gilgandra to Orange, please take a moment and see if you can find him in this group photograph.

Please send an email to me at cooeemarch1915@gmail.com if anyone can identify any of the people in this photograph.

Photo of the Coo-ees at Orange


The Coo-ees at Wade Park, Orange, October 1915. Photograph courtesy of Macquarie Regional Library

The Coo-ees at Wade Park, Orange, October 1915. Photograph courtesy of Macquarie Regional Library

This is a photograph of the Coo-ees who were in the Gilgandra to Sydney Cooee-Recruitment March, taken while they were in Orange in October 1915.  Inscribed on the back of the photograph is “The Coo-ees at Orange”.

Except for Captain Bill Hitchen from Gilgandra (sitting in the middle of the second row from the bottom), the people in it are not identified.

This original photograph is part of the Local Studies Collection at Macquarie Regional Library.  A high resolution digital copy can be purchased from Macquarie Regional Library for the purpose of private research and study, and the quality of the image allows you to zoom in on each face and see each individual Coo-ee quite clearly.  Further information about the photograph can be found on the Macquarie Regional Library website at http://catalogue.mrl.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/ENQ/OPAC/BIBENQ?BRN=170437

Included in this photograph are the men who enlisted as they marched from Gilgandra to Dubbo, Wongarbon, Geurie, Wellington, Stuart Town, Euchareena, Molong, to Orange, where the photograph was taken. (Some may be missing, including the 5 in Orange Hospital sick at the time).

There are approximately 104 men, and 23 women seated on a grandstand, which was situated at Wade Park in Orange. Most of the women are seated at the back.

Names of the dignitaries and local Orange people included in the photograph were reported in a 1915 newspaper article, and these people too need to be identified in this photograph. Per The Leader (17 November 1915, p. 8): ‘Seated in the group are the Mayor and Mayoress (Ald. and Mrs E. T. Neilly) Mr H. J. Leary, secretary of the Orange Recruiting Association. Mr. A. J. McCoy, headmaster of the Orange Public School, Mr. V. H. Millard, and the ladies who gave their services towards looking after “Hitchen’s Own” what time they were in Orange.’

A project I am working on is to identify as many Coo-ees as possible in this photograph. Please send an email to cooeemarch1915@gmail.com if anyone can identify any of the people in this photograph.

Day 16, Monday, 25 October, 1915, Orange to Millthorpe

Transcription of extract from an article titled ‘The Route March : Section Leaders Appointed’ from The Farmer and Settler, 15 October, 1915, p. 3, [part 5 of 5 parts]:

Leaving Orange (Sydney Mail 3/11/1915)

Leaving Orange (Sydney Mail 3/11/1915)

‘On Monday (yesterday) morning the “Coo-ees” formed in procession, and marched to the soldiers’ monument in Summer-street, where, at ten o’clock, the Mayor, Alderman McNeilly, presented a flag to the Orange unit of about twenty men. Corporal McLean received the flag on their behalf. The Mayor, in the course of an eloquent speech, said he trusted that McLean would lead the men by his own example of uprightness and loyalty straight to Berlin. Corporal McLean briefly thanked the Mayor, cheers were given, and the Mayor then bade farewell to the contingent and wished the men God speed. A light cart was presented also to carry the Orange kits, and all men were issued one kit-bag, of military pattern. The haversack kit is now limited to kit-bag capacity, and other superfluous gear is forwarded wherever desired by the men free of cost on the railways. The men looked well with the uniform appearance of the haversacks containing over- coat and such small things as toilet necessaries. The kit-bags and haversacks were purchased from Walder’s, of Sydney, and 200 blankets and 100 overcoats arrived from the military headquarters. The weather was cloudy as the column set forth, and more rain was expected. They arrived at Millthorpe last night for dinner at six, and a social evening followed. The route taken was via Lucknow and Spring Hill, where the “Coo-ees” were entertained at lunch and afternoon tea respectively.

The column will arrive at Bathurst on Thursday, and there they expect to add a number of recruits.’

Click here to view the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116655979

DAY 16 continued:

Transcription of extract from an article titled ‘Gilgandra to the Coast : the “Snowball” growing as it rolls’ from The Farmer and Settler, 29 October, 1915, p. 3, [part 1 of 3 parts]:

‘Gilgandra to the Coast

The Great Western “snowball” continually rolls eastward, increasing in size as it rolls. The men are generally in good health and in the best of spirits, the latter condition not entirely unconnected with the fact that the Minister for Defence has agreed to their being paid from the date of enlistment, whereas they had been under the impression that there would be no pay until they went into camp at Sydney. Mr. Pigott, M.H.R., was the medium through whom Captain Hitchen received this welcome information. The Minister has also instructed that dungarees are to be issued at Lithgow or Wallerawang, so that the men may finish their march in some approach to uniform.

At Blayney, Captain Eade took over the duties of enrolling officer from Captain Nicholas, and it is understood that at Lithgow, Captain Eade will be similarly relieved by an officer sent from Sydney to take the column in charge.

Orange to Millthorpe.
After leaving Orange, “Hitchen’s Coo-ees” took the road for Millthorpe. Three miles out, however, at Hinchenbrook, the lads found that a light repast consisting of tea, cakes, etc., had been prepared, and they had to storm this trench before they could advance any further. Mrs. Maddrell sang, “God be with you till we meet again,” the “Coo-ees” joining in the chorus. The girls then pinned bouquets in the dusty coats and marched along a mile or two with the column, carrying bannerettes. The rain held off, and cold winds made ideal marching weather.

Lucknow’s Welcome.
It was only three miles further to Lucknow, where, on arrival, the first thing that met the marching men’s eyes was the Union Jack that came from Lucknow, in India, to the school children, in exchange for a similar piece of bunting.

Mr. C. Blunt, and the Rev. R. H. Kelly extended a hearty welcome, and an invitation to dinner, and to the dinner that was set before them they did more than justice. Lucknow did as well in catering for the “Coo-ees” as they have in every other patriotic movement; £250 has been given locally for patriotic purposes, and there are seven young men to represent the little hamlet at the front. One more has decided to march with the column.

Arrival at Spring Hill.
Monday, the 25th, was destined to be a day of feeds, for after leaving Lucknow, with the best wishes of the inhabitants, warmly voiced, still ringing in their ears, the boys had only stepped out a mile or two when they found that Spring Hill had made arrangements for “after- noon tea.” The meal was worthy of a better name.

Millthorpe en Fete.
Winding along the road through the valleys of the Canobolas, between the famous May hedges, all in bloom, Millthorpe at last was reached about five o’clock. The wind was now piercing, and Millthorpe residents declared it the coldest day of the year. The town band met the column at the town boundary, and following Molong’s example, the shops wore closed, and all Millthorpe and the surrounding district assembled along the line of route to do honor to the boys from the west.

There was not room in Frape’s Hall to accommodate the number of persons that wanted to dine with the “Coo-ees.” However, meals were taken in relays, and the “Coo-ees,” fast becoming experts in the matter of eatables, declared that they had not had a better dinner than was placed before them by the ladies of Millthorpc. Mr. Hector was in the chair, and after the loyal toast and that of “Our Allies,” the Rev. Hugh Kelly proposed the health of Capt. Hitchen and his “Coo-ees,” to which the captain and Q.M. Sgt. Lee responded.

After the tables had been cleared away, an excellent concert was provided by local artists, and one or two of the recruits. This was followed by a recruiting appeal with two “converts,’ and the evening concluded with dancing until 3 a.m. Needless to say, most of the “Coo- ees” were in bed long before that hour.

Undulating to hilly is the kind of country being traversed now, all looking beautifully green after the recent rains.’

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116671286

Day 15, Sunday, 24 October, 1915, Orange

Transcription of extract from an article titled ‘The Route March : Section Leaders Appointed’ from The Farmer and Settler, 15 October, 1915, p. 3, [part 4 of 5 parts]:

‘Except for a march through the town in the afternoon to Cook Park where a recruiting meeting was held, Sunday was spent as a day of rest, church parades in the morning and evening being optional. Breakfast was prepared by the “Coo-ee” cooks, but dinner and tea were provided by the ladies.’

Click here to view the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116655979

Day 14, Saturday, 23 October, 1915, Molong to Orange

Transcription of extract from an article titled ‘The Route March : Section Leaders Appointed’ from The Farmer and Settler, 15 October, 1915, p. 3, [part 3 of 5 parts]:

Arriving in Orange (Photograph courtesy of Gilgandra Shire Library)

Coo-ees marching past the post office in Summer Street, Orange (Photograph courtesy of Gilgandra Shire Library)

The two miles between the night camp and the cook’s advanced party were covered before breakfast on Saturday morning, and then a move was made toward Orange.

It was recognised that the thundery appearance of the sky made it imperative that no time should be lost, but before a start could be made the rain began to come down. The programme arranged by the Orange people was that the column should enter the town at three o’clock, but the rain rendered it imperative to get the men under cover at the earliest possible moment, as a number were without overcoats, and were to receive them at Orange. The town was entered, therefore, about noon, and the Mayor, Alderman E. T. McNeilly, led the way by back streets to Wade Park, where clothes were dried and dry socks issued. One hundred and thirty pairs of socks had just been received from Misses Grant and Moyan, Kirrlbilli, Sydney, for the use of the “Coo-ees,” and they could not have arrived at a more opportune time. Tho Mayoress, Mrs, McNeilly, was found hard at work with a staff of ladies preparing a substantial meal, which was much appreciated by the men, as was also the 2-oz. of “medicine” per man prescribed by the Mayor; the “Follow the King” ideal is being lived up to all through the march, but the circumstances were held to warrant something “medicinal” after the wetting.

After dinner and a spell the “fall in” was sounded and the “Coo-ees”‘ were taken back to the town boundary where a procession was marshalled, and the formal entry made. Rain continued to fall at intervals; notwithstanding this, however, there was a great crowd along the route to the town hall. The Orange town band, the Light Horse, Citizen Forces, and Scouts were in the procession, and the guard of honor was a detachment of soldiers under Sergeant Crook, who had come front Liverpool, Holdsworthy, and Warwick Farm training camps, paying their own expenses, all for the purpose of doing honor to Hitchen’s “Coo-ees.” The Citizen Forces kept a clear space in front of the town hall, and the mayor and aldermen, the shire president, representative clergy, and Messrs. Fitzpatrick, M.L.A. (none the worse for his march and his wetting), H. R. M. Pigott, M.H.R., and many others, welcomed Captain Hitchen and his corps. Captain Hitchen was taken up to the balcony and introduced to the crowd, numbering about four thousand persons, and brief speeches were made by leading men. Captain Hitchen returned thanks, and in apologising for lack of words said that his thanks were none the loss heartfelt, so he would call on Q.M.-Sergeant Lee to speak for him and the “Coo-ees.” Lee got that part of the business over quickly, and, seeing so large a crowd assembled, he seized the opportunity of making a recruiting appeal. Nine men stepped forward to fill the blank files, and word was received that more would come later, so the “snow- ball” should be the bigger by fifteen men if they all pass the doctor.

The sun peeped out for a moment as the National Anthem was being played, but as the sky was again becoming overcast, the proceedings broke up with cheers for everybody, not the least hearty of which were for “Captain Bill Hitchen and his “Coo-ees'” as the great welcome banner put it.

A sumptuous banquet had been prepared under the pavilion at Wade Park, to which over a hundred hungry recruits sat down at 6 p.m. The Mayor presided, and later proposed the health of Captain Hitchen and his men, together with the health of the men that had volunteered that afternoon, and the men that were already soldiers, and had come from the training camps to honor the “Coo-ees.” Mr. J. L. C. Fitzpatrick, in supporting the toast, had a dig at the military authorities for their red-tape and cold-water methods in making these Orange recruits pay their own fares and expenses in welcoming the Gilgandra contingent, Q.M.-Sergeant Lee and Mayor Wynn spoke for the men.

A continental had been arranged to be held in Wade Park after tea, but as the weather still refused to behave, it was called off.’

Click here to view the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116655979

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.