This year marks the centenary of the start of the Great War in 1914.
A few months after the start of fighting, and after the terrible losses suffered at Gallipolli, enlistment numbers began to fall. Australia resorted to Recruitment Marches to bolster our numbers fighting abroad. Many of these marches started in late 1915.
One such was The Kangaroo March which left Wagga Wagga amid much fanfare on 7 December 1915 with 88 recruits. These young recruits soon passed through the towns of Junee, Cootamundra, Yass, Gunning, Goulburn and Marulan before approaching the Southern Highlands.
Here the march passed through Wingello, Penrose, Bundanoon, Exeter, Sutton Forest, Moss Vale, Bowral, Mittagong, Braemar, Colo Vale, Hill Top and Balmoral before making its way to Picton and finally Campbelltown where the now 222 recruits took the steam train to Sydney.
Next year the Southern Highlands will remember the Kangaroos of 1915 by participating in part of the re-enactment of the Recruitment March from Wagga Wagga to Campbelltown.
The Recruitment March Re-enactment, that traces the original route, will cover 524 kilometres over 36 days, and will make its way through the Southern Highlands during the September-October school holidays.
Organisers of next year’s Re-enactment March are inviting local schools, community organisations and individuals from across the Southern Highlands to take part in the event, and pay tribute to the selfless courage and sacrifice the original volunteers and their families demonstrated a century ago.
To learn more about the Kangaroo Recruitment March Centenary Re-enactment, Council will be hosting a free public meeting in Council’s Moss Vale Civic Centre Theatrette on Monday 23 June 2014 from 6.00pm.
To register your interest in attending, contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on phone 4868 0888.
Alternatively, visit www.kangaroomarch.org to find out how you can participate.
This article was published in the winter 2014 issue of Wingecarribee Today.