Drumbeat of war to sound once again

ON Tuesday, November 30, 1915, 50 men left Nowra, marching for Sydney as part of a recruitment drive for World War I.

COO-EE: Chairman of the Shoalhaven Anzac Centenary Committee Rick Meehan, Waratah March Re-Enactment Committee chairman Clyde Poulton and Shoalhaven Historical Society life members Robin Florance and Alan Clark are trying to organise a re-enactment of the famous 1915 South Coast recruitment drive.

COO-EE: Chairman of the Shoalhaven Anzac Centenary Committee Rick Meehan, Waratah March Re-Enactment Committee chairman Clyde Poulton and Shoalhaven Historical Society life members Robin Florance and Alan Clark are trying to organise a re-enactment of the famous 1915 South Coast recruitment drive.

Those 50 men formed the nucleus of what became known as the March of the Waratahs.

Along the way, the group visited towns and villages, recruiting volunteers and by the time it reached Sydney had swelled to 117.

As part of the Anzac centenary celebrations, a re-enactment of the Waratah South Coast Recruitment March will be held in November next year.

A Waratah March Re-Enactment Committee has been established to plan the event, with an open public meeting to be staged at the Nowra RSL Hall next Tuesday at 3pm.

“We already have a number of organisations such as the Shoalhaven Historical Society, the Nowra Red Cross and the Nowra RSL Sub-Branch on board,”

committee chairman Clyde Poulton said.

“We are trying to make contact with all of the groups and families of the volunteers that took part or were organising the event in 1915.

“Fortunately, we’ve still got a lot of connectivity spanning that 100 years.

“Take local legal firm Marriott Oliver. Both partners, Thomas Marriott and Herbert Oliver, were on the organising committee in 1915, that firm is still in existence.

“And there are groups like the Nowra Rifle Club, which was also involved, making its range facilities available to the volunteers prior to leaving Nowra.

“We are trying to compile as much information on the volunteers and the march as possible as background from surviving family members.

“We would also love to see any further memorabilia or photographs.”

While it may not be logistically possible to recreate the whole march as undertaken in 1915, Mr Poulton said early plans were to stage something in all of the villages and towns the march passed through.

“We want to start the march in Nowra like they did 100 years ago and we want it to be a big social occasion, just as it was 100 years ago.

“Full details still have to be finalised and the aim of the meeting is to let people know of our plans and also get feedback.”

The re-enactment event will be staged from November 30 to December 18, 2015.

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