Rest day today in Goulburn, Sunday 27th and the sunshine and blue skies have returned.
Since the last news post: The Marchers strode out to wee hamlet of Jerrawa where a special surprise awaited. We camped at exactly the same location as the original Kangaroos ! We had a camp fire where the Kangaroos had one, and some of our descendants on the March quite understandably found that a moving experience.
The camp fire wasn’t the only warmth there; the people of Jerrawa know how to express a truly warm welcome. As has been evident so far, fabulous camp cooking with food melting in the mouth, lamb falling of the bones: you need to be here to appreciate it.
To the little town of Dalton next day for lunch, and then into a grey Gunning which made up for its overcast skies with the warmth and exuberance of its welcome. The 18lber put in its first appearance towed behind 6 horses. What a sight! The evening was filled with Paterson and Lawson outdoing each other again in ‘Dead Men Talking’ at the Gunning Hall, dinner and supper bookended the splendid performance. We were also entertainingly informed with a riveting history of the soldiers and families of the local area by a most enthusiastic speaker who had done all her own research.
Next day it was off down the Old Hume Hwy with an extended pause at the Hume Hovell Monument where we were regaled with the fascinating Hamilton Hume story from a descendant while we consumed – yep – more food! They say an army marches on its stomach, don’t they?
And so we came via a charming country road into the charged up town of Breadalbane – where every local there was there and a lot more besides. Close on 200 attended the turning of the sod for the new War Memorial alongside the almost new Breadalbane Hall. Then there was food and music and food and poetry and food.
Onward went the ‘soldiers’ the next day to enter Goulburn Mulwaree at Parkesbourne to be met by almost all the village and the Mayor Geoff Kettle. We heard stories of the Parkesbourne WWI soldiers, and we devoured morning tea-lunch aka ‘munch’. Waddled on the next 12kms through the prettiest countryside greeted by horses in paddocks whinnying to meet the horses passing them by. And so into Kippilaw Station alongside the Wollondilly River. If we thought the countryside round Harden, Junee and Cootamundra delightful with the huge splashes of yellow (canola) and green (wheat) like a chequer board across the land was pretty, well, this Wollondilly area was utterly charming. Kiddies on school holidays joined us for a time and we stopped at their gates to wave them back to Mum.
Day 21, Friday 25th and we came marching into Goulburn with police escort, down to the Showgrounds, where another feast put on by the Goulburn Kangaroo March Committee awaited us. Our simple ceremony was enlivened by the young students giving excellent renditions of local enlistees in 1915.
Day 22 dawned dully, but the cheer on the streets made up for the lack of sunshine. The parade formed up in Verner St, and we marched down Auburn St to Belmore Park for our Ceremony in the welcome presence of NSW Governor Hurley and Mrs Hurley. Angus Taylor, MP for Hume rode in on his horse, Member for Goulburn Pru Goward and Mayor Geoff Kettle for the people of Goulburn, a goodly few of whom surrounded us for the wreath laying ceremony co-ordinated by the RSL sub Branch Goulburn. There would have been >400 people in attendance.
More than 70 people then enjoyed listening to Dr Brendan Nelson speak to us about why our history is important, and therefore the re-enactment, to reinforce a sense of who we are so that we have more confidence looking to a less-than-certain future.
The evening was filled with a Bush Dance and Dinner at the Old Goulburn Brewery. The members of the Goulburn Kangaroo March Committee have really outdone themselves. Church Service today at St Saviours, then the rest of the day to see more of Goulburn.
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