Tag Archives: Wellington

Joseph Thomas BRUCE

Joseph Thomas BRUCE

Per his military service record (Depot), Joseph Thomas Bruce was born at Corowa, N.S.W.[1] He gave his age as 23 years and 2 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as shearer. His description on his Certificate of Medical Examination was 5 feet 8 inches tall, weight 158 lbs., with a fair complexion, brown eyes, and brown hair. His religious denomination was Church of England. He claimed that he had no previous military service.

He completed his medical examination at Wellington on 22nd October 1915.  He then caught up with the Coo-ees, and was attested by Captain T. A. Nicholas at Orange on 24th October 1915.

His next of kin was recorded on his Australian Imperial Force Attestation Paper of Persons Enlisted for Service Abroad form as his mother, Mrs E. Bruce, Harris Street, Sydney.

On 6th November 1915 at Katoomba (the day the Coo-ees marched from Katoomba to Lawson), Private Bruce was charged by Captain A. C. Eade with drunkenness and using offensive language. Captain Hitchen was the witness to the offences. Private Bruce was fined 70 shillings.

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

On 3rd December 1915 Private Bruce was charged with being absent without leave and drunkenness, and was discharged from the A.I.F. not likely to become an efficient soldier.

[1] NAA: B2455, BRUCE J T

Day 9, Monday, 18 October, 1915, Wellington to Dripstone

Transcription of extract from an article titled ‘The Route March : Growth of the “Snowball”‘  in The Farmer and Settler, 22 October, 1915, p. 3 [part 1 of 3]

Growth of the “Snowball”

As the route march moves eastward the column not only grows in numerical strength, but it takes on more and more the character of a drilled and disciplined force. The men are marching well and   learning all they can of the game. One platoon has now been formed, and a second approaches full strength; acting non-coms, have also been appointed ; and as each fresh batch of recruits is added, the men are quickly “licked into shape.” The commissiariat department is working more and more smoothly; and the intelligence department is also getting into smooth running order. Mr. Harley Blackett has placed his car at the disposal of the force, and an intelligence officer goes over the ground in advance of the column checking the arrangements for camping and receptions, and studying the roads from the standpoint of a marching army with a certain distance to cover in a given time. The consequence is a clockwork adherence to the time-table.

The column marched out of Wellington nearly a hundred strong, including the staff and commisariat assistants; but the published story that there are already a hundred recruits is an “intelligent anticipation of events.” Twenty-six additional men joined at Wellington, so, with Gilgandra’s thirty-one, Dubbo’s nine, Wongarbon’s eight, and Geurie’s two, there were exactly seventy-six sworn recruits when the march swung out of town on Monday morning. Before the column had proceeded far the sergeant of police, an indefatigable recruiter, had overtaken it with four more in a motor car, and yet others are known to have thought the matter over, and to have decided to “catch up with the procession” in a day or two.  Advices have been received from towns along the line that numbers of men arc only waiting for the necessary forms to come along, when they will join the great march.

Soon after leaving Wellington, a fine, large ensign was presented to the captain by Mr. Bertie Gaden, and this flag now floats from the top of No. 1 transport waggon, in company with a Union Jack.

Lunch was prepared by the “Coo-ee’s” cook at Mr. J. Hoffner’s farm, a pleasant break in the day’s tramp.

Coo-ees being lead into Dripstone, NSW (Photograph courtesy of Gilgandra Shire Library)

Coo-ees being led into Dripstone, NSW (Photograph courtesy of Gilgandra Shire Library)

Dripstone’s Reception.
Dripstone turned out in force to welcome the “Coo-ees,” and a fine tea was provided in the hall by the ladies. Considering the smallness or the settlement the reception was a remarkably fine one. A noticeable feature of the entertainment afforded the column on its eastward march is that the smaller the place the more trouble is taken by the people to assist and entertain the men, and it might almost be said the heartier the welcome. As instances, Wongarbon and Maryvale, might be quoted. Wongarbon has certainly eclipsed all others, and its gifts and good cheer were out of all proportion to its size.

After the Dripstone tea a recruiting meeting was held, but the young men that remain are unresponsive when it comes to the point of enlisting. Q.M.S. Lee was spelled on this occasion, and the recruiting addresses were delivered by Mssrs. H. Blacket[t], Major Wynne, and W. J. Johnson. The evening concluded with dancing, which might have continued to the rosy dawn of another day if the boys had not brought in their blankets and commenced spreading them among the tripping feet of the dancers. Realising that it was not a fair thing to expect the recruits to march all day and dance all night, the hint was good humoredly taken, and the floor vacated.’

Click here to view the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116649160

Day 8, Sunday, 17 October, 1915, Wellington

Transcription of extract from an article titled ‘Hitchen’s Coo-ees’ in The Wellington Times, Monday, 18 October, 1915, p. 3.

Note: This extract also covers the recruiting meeting held on Saturday night on 16 October, 1915.

Program of events at Wellington (Wellington Times 14/10/1915)

Program of events at Wellington (Wellington Times 14/10/1915)

… [Continued]

There was a great gathering at the foot of Warne-street on Saturday night for the first of the recruiting meetings, but a start was not made until 9 o’clock to permit people from the shops to attend. A lorry was drawn up in front of Mr. Paul’s workshops, and on it were Alderman McLeod, the Mayor of Orange (Alderman McNeilly), Mr. H. M. Blackmore (secretary of the Wellington Recruiting Association), Mr. L. J. Astley (Dubbo Recruiting Association), and Mr. W. J. Johnson, formerly Federal member for the district, who was in khaki, and who had come to assist in the recruiting movement.
Alderman McLeod mad a fervid appeal. He regretted that he was not able to go personally, but he had made sacrifices, as must be done by all.
Alderman McNeilly (Mayor of Orange), Quartermaster-Sergeant Lee, Cr. Fuller, Mr. L. J Astley, and Private Johnson made stirring appeals in which the peril of the Empire was alluded to, and need for men strongly insisted on.
There was another big meeting at Bell Park on Sunday afternoon when spirited speeches were made by Alderman McLeod, Adjutant Diehms (Salvation Army), Sergeant Barker, Quartermaster-Sergeant Lee, and Private W. J. Johnson. Mr. Paul read a stirring letter from the front, and there was cheering when it was announced that the D.C.M. had been awarded to Colin Farlow, and that another son of Mr. Angus Campbell had enlisted at Sydney. Then Mr. Hitchens returned his thanks for the treatment of the Coo-ees, and there was intense excitement when the chairman presented the leader with a Union Jack with the words “Wellington,” on it, and the National Anthem, and cheers for the King and the Gilgandra recruits closed a most enthusiastic meeting.
This morning the Coo-ees left for Dripstone, and are due in Orange next Sunday.
After the Coo-ees had left this morning six more recruits came into Wellington and passed the doctor. They were taken along the road to join the company, four being conveyed by Mr. C. J. Shakespeare in his motor car; one by Senior-Sergeant Nies in a sulky, and the sixth by Constable Griffin in another conveyance.

With reference to the care of the recruits, Mr. Ferguson gave the Protestant Hall for their camp rent free, as well as the yard for the marquee for the officers, the Wellington Stores, Ltd., gave the use of the stretchers, and the procuring and arrangement of the beds were carried out by Messrs. A. Kennard and J. Bere, with the aid of assistants. Mr. R. M. Kimbell did the catering and cooked the food without charge, the flour being supplied by McLeod’s mill, and the bread baked by the firm above mentioned; while gifts of meat and other foods and money were liberally made by the tradespeople and residents. The recruits were served with plentiful meals during their stay, and a fine hot dinner yesterday, and Mr. Kimbell and his staff assisted by S. Green and J. Bere, did the waiting. The meals were served in the drill hall, which was decorated for the occasion by Mr. Stoddart and assistants.

About 10.30 on Sunday morning the bands, cadets, and military headed the Coo-ees in a march round the town.
There were special services at the churches yesterday. At St. John’s the Rev. E. S. Benyon, of Geurie, was the preacher. Father Eviston made reference to the occasion in the Catholic Church, and a united service of Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and Salvationists was conducted at the Methodist Church, the preacher being the Rev. H. R. Grassick.
Mr. Harry Taylor has consented to sell the impedimentia of the Coo-ees after their arrival in Sydney, and spell the horses used on the journey from Gilgandra, with the view to their subsequent disposal.

When the Gilgandra recruits reached in front of the district school this morning, they were halted while the 700 children were lined up and gave the boys a cheer. Each man was then presented with a box of chocolates, and had a flower pinned to his coat, and they went on their way to the sound of more cheering from the lusty throats of the youngsters.’

Day 7, Saturday, 16 October, 1915, Geurie to Wellington

Reception at Geurie (Sydney Mail 20 Oct 1915)

Reception at Geurie (Sydney Mail 20/10/1915)

Transcription of extract from an article titled ‘The Route March’ in The Farmer and Settler, 19 October, 1915, p. 3, [part 3 of 3 parts]:

The Snowball Growing
[Continued] …

Maryvale’s Luncheon.
The road to Wellington was fourteen miles long, but the weather was pleasant, and the going easy. Also there was a refreshing break at Maryvale, where a superb al-fresco luncheon of turkey and plum pudding had been provided by the generous-hearted women of the district Maryvale cheered the recruits and the recruits cheered Maryvale, and then  swung out on the road to Wellington.

Arrival at Wellington.
Outside the town, the column, now sixty strong, was met by bands, militia, police, riflemen, and cadets, Alderman M. McLeod and Mr. H. M. Blackmore, secretary of the Wellington Recruiting Association, representing the townspeople officially. Half the town and district took part in this outside welcome; and then in the council chambers there was speech- making and cheering and recruiting and donating— all in the most enthusiastically patriotic spirit. Ald. McLeod, Cr. A. E. Fuller, president of Macquarie Shire Council, Cr. Donald Ross, president of Cobbora Shire Council, and Mr. T. H. Thrower, M.L.A., member for the district, welcomed the recruits: and Mr. Hitchcn acknowledged the compliments of the speakers. Later the recruits were entertained at tea by the local Red Cross Society, and then marched to their sleeping quarters in the Protestant Hall.   Wellington added thirty recruits on Saturday, and much gear. Two horses were auctioned and £33 raised; an hotel collection netted £17; the employees of one store gave £5, and the proprietors more. “Go to the stores and get the   boots you need,” said one of the local re-cruiting committee; “we will foot the bill.” That was the spirit of the Wellington reception.’

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116648940

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.