Tag Archives: Wongarbon

Day 6, Friday, 15 October, 1915, Wongarbon to Geurie

Leaving Wongarbon (Sydney Mail 20 Oct 1915)

Leaving Wongarbon (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 2 of 3 parts]:

The Snowball Growing
[Continued] …

‘Geurie’s Reception.
On Friday morning the route march passed on to Geurie, arriving at one o’clock, just in time for the trenchman’s feed that the contingent’s own cook had prepared at the Royal Hall from viands locally supplied. In the afternoon escorted by the local band, the school children and hundreds of district residents, the recruits marched to the park where a successful recruiting appeal was made. Three men signed on to follow the drum, and four others signified their intention of following after harvest. Afternoon tea in the park, to which every home for miles around had contributed a hamper, was followed by a social, with more recruiting speeches. As a result of a tarpaulin collection in the afternoon the sum of £18 was handed to Mr. Hitchen before the column left. The Governor-General, who was passing through Geurie, sent word that he would like to meet the contingent. They were therefore paraded at the railway station on Saturday morning, and his excellency and Major Sands inspected them. He declared the Gilgandra scheme the finest recruiting movement in Australia, and promised to be in Sydney to welcome the army when it marched in and stormed the city.

The Governor-General’s words of warm approval greatly heartened the men, and they started on their way to Wellington with an additional spring in their step.’

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

Day 5, Thursday, 14 October, 1915, Dubbo to Wongarbon

Transcription of extract from an article titled ‘The Route March’ in The Farmer and Settler, 19 October, 1915, p. 3, [part 1 of 3 parts]:

The Snowball Growing
Last issue of the ‘Farmer and Settler’ left the Great Western Flying Column at Dubbo, where Captain Nicholas and his men met with the right royal reception to which they were entitled as the King’s men off to the wars. The most popular man in the western districts of New South Wales at the present time is Mr. W. T. Hitchen, the man that started the snow-ball rolling, and every town along the line lifts its corporate hat to Gilgandra and its recruiting association, the members of which made “Bill Hitchen’s idea” an actuality of the recruiting campaign.

Wongarbon’s Welcome.
The column marched out of Dubbo with colors flying shortly after noon last Thursday, a great concourse of people in the streets wishing them God-speed, and twelve local recruits falling in behind. The school band played the march out of town, and gave the boys a final cheer. Wongarbon was reached at tea-time. Three hundred people met the march a mile out of town. The Wongarbon band, the school children, and the members of the rifle club, joined the great procession, and citizens, mounted, driving, and on foot escorted the force to its rendezvous, cheering all the way. On arrival at the town, Cr. A. F. Morely, on behalf of the Shire Council, welcomed the ”snowball army” amid a scene of, tremendous enthusiasm. After pitching their tents and washing off the grime of the roads, the recruits marched to the local hall, where they were the guests of the citizens at a banquet to which over five hundred persons paid for admission. Captain D. Bowling, head master of the local school, and captain of the rifle club, presided, and put into words the public appreciation of the route march scheme, and the general hope that it would be a huge recruiting success. Captain Nicholas and Mr. Hitchen briefly responded and Recruit Lee made a recruiting speech, the quality of which is suggested by the fact that at its close thirteen men stepped forward and gave their names, either to march under Captain Nicholas, or to come after harvest. A collection for wayside expenses brought in £18.’

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.