Thursday 8 October 2015

The Kangaroo March

1915. There is no Twitter, Instagram, no TV. The first licensed radio station would not operate until 1922. Mass communication was limited to newspapers which hadn’t anywhere near the distribution of recent times. So after the devastating events of Gallipoli, one of the best ways to gain new recruits was the recruitment marches.

One such recruitment drive came to be known as the Kangaroo march. It began in Wagga with eighty-eight young men who marched through such country towns as Cootamundra, Galong, Yass, Goulburn and Bowral calling men to join the ANZAC forces. Two hundred and twenty-two recruits arrived in Campbelltown where they gained a further five before leaving for Sydney. No more joined after this making it a truly ‘rural force’.

The Sydney Morning Herald described them as ‘sunburnt, hard-looking men…a clean limbed lot full of initiative and resource.’

The water cart accompanying the men had a stuffed kangaroo on display. A sign read ‘Don’t look! Hop on while there’s time.’

The re-enactment of this historic event comes to Campbelltown on Saturday the 10th of October concluding in Mawson Park. The journey, having taken 36 days, aims to pay tribute to the sacrifices those diggers made during WWI a hundred years ago.

By Michael Sullivan

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