March honours soldiers
HUNDREDS TURN OUT TO REMEMBER ANZACS
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.