March hon­ours sol­diers


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HUN­DREDS of peo­ple gath­ered in Vic­to­ria Park at St Marys on Sun­day to pay their re­spects dur­ing the com­mem­o­ra­tive Coo-ee March.

The fa­mous re­cruit­ment march be­gan when 26 men left Gil­gan­dra in 1915 at­tract­ing re­cruits for World War I on the way to Syd­ney.

St Marys RSL sub-branch pres­i­dent Ron Kelly de­clared the St Marys stopover a suc­cess as the com­mu­nity banded to­gether to re-cre­ate the hos­pi­tal­ity shown to marchers a cen­tury be­fore.

“It went very well, we ex­pected a cou­ple hun­dred would come and that’s what we got,” Mr Kelly said.

“It was great to see so many show an in­ter­est in what th­ese peo­ple are do­ing – walk­ing from Gil­gan­dra to Syd­ney is a very long way.”

Mr Kelly said feed­back from the march par­tic­i­pants was “very pos­i­tive”.

“They were very pleased, they said this was only the sec­ond stop so far where they were able to sit dur­ing the ser­vice and then at lunch they ate un­der cover and at a ta­ble,” he said.

Mr Kelly said the event was a credit to the hard work of all in­volved, par­tic­u­larly sub-branch sec­re­tary Tony Fryer.

“Tony did a hell of a lot of work to get things or­gan­ised,” he said.

Mr Kelly said a high­light of the ser­vice was when a poppy was se­lected from the Poppy Park at Pen­rith and marched over to the St Marys ser­vice, where it was laid in mem­ory of Pri­vate Sa­muel Luke who joined the Coo-ees and en­listed in World War I at the site.

The hon­our of plac­ing the poppy was given to Dorothy Seale, who re­cently dis­cov­ered she shared a fam­ily link to Pri­vate Luke, who was killed serv­ing in France.

Mr Kelly said the re-en­acted Coo-ee March was set to reach its des­ti­na­tion – Martin Place – at 11am on Re­mem­brance Day.

He said the sub-branch would host a Re­mem­brance Day ser­vice at the St Marys RSL Club’s South Creek Rail­way Sta­tion.

He urged res­i­dents to ar­rive at the sta­tion by 10.40am on Novem­ber 11.

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