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 [1 of 3 parts]
‘THE ROUTE MARCH
In the Suburbs of Sydney
OVER THREE HUNDRED MEN NOW MARCHING.
Before this issue of the “Farmer and Settler” reaches the great majority of its readers, the Great Western Route March will have ended, the “Coo-ees” will have been welcomed in the heart of Sydney by assembled thousands of the people, and will have gone into camp to complete their training.
In many respects the last week on the road was the roughest of the whole thirty two days’ march, and the greatest test of the physical stamina and the temper of the men.
When the column left Lawson on Monday morning, the mountains were swathed in the smoke of bush fires, and as the miles brought them nearer the capital the men found the roads growing rougher and dustier, the humid heat more oppressive, and the flies and the smoke twin plagues to complete their discomfort. The other side of the picture was the cheery courage of the men themselves, and the enthusiasm and generosity of the people at every wayside town and hamlet.
As the army approached Hazelbrook it was met by the school children and practically the whole population. Gifts of cigarettes and other comforts were made, the children sang the National Anthem, and the troops marched through, cheered by the “motto” that had been stretched across the road: “God-speed, and a safe return — Hazelbrook to the Coo-ees.”
One of the interesting episodes of the Hazelbrook welcome was the presence of an Afghanistan and South African veteran, Lieut. E. G. Facey, who could not resist the impulse to step it out to the martial music of the Leura band.
A warm welcome awaited the column at Woodford. Under the trees a cold luncheon had been spread, and while the men refreshed themselves, Captain Dakin and Mr. G. J. Waterhouse voiced the good wishes of the people.
A ceremony that touched the boys was the presentation of an Australian flag by Private Nutting, on behalf of his comrades of the local military convalescent home, Professor David’s house, lent to the Government for the use of the returned soldiers. A contingent of the wounded soldiers assembled and cheered the “Coo-ees,” and this was a compliment that went to the hearts of all; they carried that Anzac-Australian flag in the place of honor through townships passed through later.
Linden and Faulconbridge.
From Woodford to Linden was down hill, on a road that twisted between blackened patches of recently burned timber. Linden was a non-stop station, so, helped along by the cheers of the residents, the column forged ahead.
Soon after noon the hamlet of Faulconbridge, the last resting place of Sir Henry Parkes, came into view. An escort of mounted troopers joined the column here, but there was no halt until Springwood was reached.
The procession that entered Springwood consisted of the “Coo-ees,” Leura band, mounted troopers, a squad of local riflemen and a piper specially sent by the Highland Society. Springwood was en fete, flags flew everywhere, and banners of welcome hung across the road. A charming tableau was presented by the school children, the boys dressed in khaki as soldiers and tho girls garbed as nurses. After a parade of the township the army camped at Homedale estate, dined and rested — all except a squad ordered out at the double to take a bridge head of the enemy, an advancing tongue of bush fire.
At night a thousand persons attended a promenade concert and listened to fine recruiting speeches by Mr. H. Blackett and the local clergy.’
Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116652489