AROUND 160 people are officially expected to take part in Sunday’s centenary re-enactment of the famous Waratahs World War I recruiting march in Nowra.
But according to event organiser Clyde Poulton, the re-enactment could attract hundreds more, who might follow the march.
“The response to the whole idea has been fantastic,” Mr Poulton said.
“It will be superb to be able to honour the centenary of such a historically significant event, especially for the Shoalhaven.
“All the plans are in place, travel routes and events are all planned. We just need to weather to do its bit.”
The march will include 20 personnel from HMAS Albatross and the Army Parachute Training School, who will actually re-enact the Waratahs, while a number of family descendents and other local groups will also take part in Sunday’s march.
The march will form up at the Nowra Showground at 8am, stepping off at 8.45 followed by a quick service at the war memorial at the Nowra Showground gates.
The march will proceed down Junction Street and stop for an official farewell at the School of Arts in Berry Street at 9.20am.
From 9.50am the group will walk down Bridge Road, cross the Princes Highway and walk across the old Shoalhaven River bridge, where it is hoped to re-enact the famous photo of the Waratahs on the northern end of the bridge at around 10.20am.
From there, the march will proceed to Walsh Park, Bomaderry for another service, before boarding an historic steam train provided by the Lachlan Valley Railway for the journey to Berry.
The train is due to arrive at 11.33am, with the marchers walking to the Berry Showground for lunch, followed by a service at the war memorial at Alexander Street at 12.45pm before again boarding the train and travelling to Gerringong.
A memorial service will be held at the Gerringong RSL at 1.50pm followed by afternoon tea, which will complete day one of the 15-day journey.
The march will continue up the coast travelling through Kiama, Jamberoo, Albion Park, Dapto onto Wollongong, eventually finishing in Sutherland on December 12.
“People are most welcome to follow the march and follow in the Waratahs’ footsteps,” said Mr Poulton, who will also take part in the re-enactment, playing the role of Captain Ernest Blow.
On Tuesday, November 30, 1915, 50 men left Nowra, marching for Sydney as part of a recruitment drive for World War I.
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 120.
As part of the celebrations to mark the centenary, prolific local history author Alan Clark has produced a Centenary Edition of his popular book, The Waratahs.
The Centenary Edition will be officially launched on Friday (November 27) at the Nowra RSL Sub-Branch rooms in Junction Street, Nowra by president Fred Dawson at 7pm. The book will cost $20.
Local residents are advised there will be a number of road closures due to the Waratah March re-enactment on Sunday.
A number of roads will be closed within Nowra and Bomaderry and the Princes Highway between 9am-11am on the day.
These include -
Nowra - Junction Street, Berry Street, and Bridge Road will be closed from 8am. These roads will be progressively re-opened to traffic following the completion of ceremonies at 10am.
Princes Highway - The original eastern Nowra Bridge will be closed to traffic between 9am-11am. During this time a traffic contra-flow will be in place on the western Nowra Bridge allowing one lane to travel in each direction on the northbound carriageway of the Princes Highway. This traffic arrangement is necessary to allow a photo re-enactment on the Old Nowra Bridge.
Bomaderry - Bolong Road will be closed from 9am and be reopened by 11.30am as the march progresses to Bomaderry train station.
Local residents are asked to consider the road closures when planning movements on the day.
For more details visit www.livetraffic.com or call the 132 701 Traffic Information Line