Coo-ee, the call to march

Coo-ee, the call to march


Events
Road to war: A group of Gilgandra men walked 320 miles to Sydney during the Coo-ee march in 1915.

Road to war: A group of Gilgandra men walked 320 miles to Sydney during the Coo-ee march in 1915.

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RECRUITMENT for the war stepped up a notch with various marches across the state.

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RECRUITMENT for the war stepped up a notch with various marches across the state.

The Coo-ee March from Gilgandra, NSW, was the first and eight other marches became variously known as Kookaburras from Tooraweenah, Boomerangs from Parkes, North Coast Boomerangs from Grafton, Kurrajongs from Inverell, Wallabies from Walgett, Kangaroos from Wagga Wagga, Waratahs from Nowra, and the Men From Snowy River.

Various march re-enactments are planned for later in the year, including the Men from Snowy River re-enactment, which starts at Delegate in October on a day to be confirmed, and finishes in Sydney on Remembrance Day.

Brian Bywater organised the 1987 re-enactment of the Gilgandra Coo-ee march, and is playing a key part organising this year's centenary re-enactment.

Since deciding to re-enact the march five years ago, Mr Bywater, 75, has walked 15 kilometres a day to prepare.

But that's only half the daily distance he will march when the time comes.

Setting off late in October, it will take three-and-half weeks for the marchers to reach Sydney's central business district, where they will participate in the city's annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

"An average day will be 28km to 29km, and a heavy day will be 35km to 37km; that's quite a long way for a bloke of my age," Mr Bywater said.

Mr Bywater said training was a must for marchers, with blisters crippling a number of marchers in 1987.

They will wear the dress of the day.

"When the men left Gilgandra in 1915, they weren't in uniforms. They marched off in their trousers and waistcoats," he said.

"The army gave them each a rain coat before they got to Dubbo, and when they arrived in Lithgow were issued with a blue recruits uniform with white hats and they marched the rest of the way in uniform.

Where possible, the group will follow the footsteps of the original marchers and will camp in showgrounds and paddocks along the way.

The marchers are expected to set out on October 17 to arrive in Sydney on November 11, Remembrance Day.

Visit www.cooeemarch.org.au

The story Coo-ee, the call to march first appeared on Farm Online.

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