Tag Archives: Parramatta

Day 33, Thursday, 11 November, 1915, Parramatta to Ashfield

Transcription of an extract from an article titled ‘The Route March : End of the Long Trek’ in The Farmer and Settler, 16 November, 1915, p. 3 [1 of 2 parts]

‘THE ROUTE MARCH
End of the Long Trek
DUST-STAINED WARRIORS IN CAMP.

Australia, to-day, realises that her best and bravest must gird on the harness of war to fill the gaps in the ranks of the Empire’s fighting forces; and the insistent “Coo-ee” from the firing line found a striking response when the great three- hundred-mile march of the West o’ Sun- set men reached the finishing post in the heart of the city of Sydney on Friday last at noon. Readers of the “Farmer and Settler” have followed, issue by issue, the fortunes of the recruits from Gilgandra, to the outskirts of the city, and each and every man of the contingent claims that more could be related of the last twenty miles than of the hundreds of the earlier part of the journey. If the “Coo-ees” were inspirited by the hospitality and enthusiasm of the folk, on the long stretches where the road reached straight and bare across the drought-red plains, or wound its way around shoulders of mist-capped ranges, the clamorous welcomes of the people of the foot-hills and the coastal belt was even more soul stirring.

During the march from Parramatta to Ashfield, the men experienced the most trying period of their journey. The dust dried in their throats, and they were jostled and jolted by the thousands of eager, excited loyalists that thronged the route, before, behind, and on all sides disorganising the military machine with their misdirected enthusiasm.

At Harris Park, the community bestowed the best of its viands on the eager soldiers. At Pittrow public school, a flag was presented amid martial ceremonies. Outside Granville, the Westmead Boys’ Band (still going strong) and the local cadets fought a passage for the recruits. After this they tramped through Auburn, dim with the soot of a hundred factories; Homebush reminiscent of the bush, the boys had left with its mobs of sheep, and wild-eyed, bellowing cattle ; then through the crowded suburban streets, packed with curious, excited spectators and choking with dust, to Ashfield.’

… [Cont.]

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116671136

Day 32, Wednesday, 10 November, 1915, Penrith to Parramatta

Transcription of an extract from an article titled ‘The Route March : In the Suburbs of Sydney’ in The Farmer and Settler, 12 November, 1915, p. 3 [3 of 3 parts]
… [Continued]

‘St. Mary’s.
The marching conditions were better on Wednesday morning, as the column set out for Parramatta, “via ports.” The four miles to St. Mary’s was soon covered, and the troops marched in briskly, headed by the local band. The Mayor (Ald. Brett) with other members of the council, and Mr. J. C. Hunt, M.L.A., gave the army its official welcome, and breakfast was eaten under the shade of the trees in Victoria Park, where the men fraternised with the local residents, and good heart-to-heart recruiting work was done.

Colyton and Eastern Creek.
At ten o’clock the men were “following the flag” again, along the road to the village of Colyton, where the school children presented Captain Hitchen, for the “Coo-ees,” with a “purse of sovereigns” and an Australian ensign. A recruit that joined there was one of the family of McGregors that has already given five sons to the Empire. As the family said their brave but tearful farewells to the sixth McGregor, all that witnessed the incident realised the fine loyalty of the McGregors, and also the suffering that the Hun fiends have brought upon the world.

At Eastern Creek the army was met by Col. Pringle, president of the Blacktown Shire Council, and Cr. James Angus, president of the recruiting committee. Luncheon was provided in the Walgrove school grounds by the ladies of Rooty Hill and Eastern Creek.

Prospect to Westmead.
At Prospect there were more welcomes and another meal; and there was an acceptable distribution of oranges, provided by the growers of Castle Hill, twenty miles away. Father Bernard and the band of the Boys’ Home met the troops soon after they left Prospect, and played them all the way to Parramatta.

At Wentworthville there was yet another distribution of cordials, and there the Parramatta welcome really began, for the Mayor (Ald. Graham) and Mr. W. F. Jago came out to meet the recruits.

Coo-ees marching through Parramatta (The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate 20/11/1915)

Coo-ees marching through Parramatta (The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate 20/11/1915)

Parramatta.
The last few miles of the journey through a semi-suburban residential district was a triumphal procession. Vehicles lined the roads, and hundreds of persons were gathered at every coign of vantage to see and to cheer the heroes of the west.

Coo-ees in crowded Church Street, Parramatta (Evening News 11/11/1915)

Coo-ees in crowded Church Street, Parramatta (Evening News 11/11/1915)

The column marched into the old town escorted by the Mounted Police, Fire Brigade, Light Horse, Cadets, Boy Scouts, returned soldiers, Parramatta Citizens’ Band, Westmead Boys’ Band, Burnside Homes Boys’ Pipers Band, and the Kings School boys. Alderman Graham welcomed the westerners and then the whole force made an imposing entry into the town, the streets of which were gaily decorated, and the population of which had turned out en masse. The school children of the district were assembled at the Town Hall, and their demonstration was the most striking of all.

Crowd watching the Coo-ees swimming in Parramatta Park (The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate 20/11/1915)

Crowd watching the Coo-ees swimming in Parramatta Park (The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate 20/11/1915)

The camp was pitched in a pleasant corner of Parramatta Park, and the men had the opportunity of a refreshing swim in the river, and a general clean up and cool off before the evening meal.

After being entertained at dinner in the Town Hall by the mayoress and the ladies of Parramatta, the men attended a recruiting meeting when speeches were delivered by the Rev. P. S. Waddy, head-master of the King’s School, and Rev. S. M. Johnston, Sergeant Coates and Sergeant-major Lee. The result of the meeting was that forty-one recruits were obtained.

Yesterday’s suburban junketings and “speechifications” may be passed over, the one pleasant fact being recorded that the “Coo-ees” made a fine recruiting impression upon the young manhood of the western suburbs, and it is certain that at tod-day’s finish in Martin Place, Sydney, there will be over three hundred sworn recruits answering the roll-call of “Hitchen ‘s Own.”

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116652489

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.