Title: The Coo-ee March, Gilgandra – Sydney, 1915
Author: Meredith, John
Condition: Near Mint
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 1981
Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 100 pages
Comments: A detailed account of the Gilgandra to Sydney Australian Imperial Force (AIF) recruitment march that occured in 1915. Following the disaster of Gallipoli and the heavy casualties in France in the latter half of 1915, recruiting figures for enlistment in World War I had dwindled. Numerous recruiting rallies became increasingly ineffective.
It was at this dark hour that Gilgandra’s butcher, R.G. Hitchen and his brother Bill, (the local plumber) had the idea of organizing a route march of volunteers to Sydney, enlisting recruits as they marched. The idea caught the imagination of the public, and the Coo-ees (as the volunteers were known) became national heroes.
The action of “Hitchen’s Own” and the subsequent marches which followed were responsible for a dramatic upturn in recruitment figures. 26 men left the little western town on that Castlereagh River. They were feted at each town on the route, and the stirring story of their march has become part of the official war history of Australia.
Recruitment meetings were held in each centre and their number increased to 263 by the time they reached Sydney. The story of that great march is recorded step by step – told first hand from the lips of the last survivors.