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]
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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