The Kangaroo March Committee is comprised of citizens who live adjacent to the route of the 1915 Kangaroo Recruiting March from Wagga Wagga to Campbelltown. The Committee is an all-volunteer group and their purpose in coming together is to re-enact the Kangaroo March a century on in September and October 2015.
In so doing, our re-enactment mission focuses on commemorating the historic event of the March, inspiring the current generations to achieve success in life as a reflection of the value derived from the WW1 sacrifices and educating children on the history of the long and continuing fight for freedom.
- To pay tribute to those local diggers recognising their contributions and sacrifices for the WW1 cause of freedom
- To pay tribute to the families, especially mothers, who were left grieving in Australia in consequence of that war
- To help communities along the route commemorate the 36 days of the March
- To motivate the children of the cities, towns and villages along the route of the March to learn about a significant portion of our local and national history
- To inform the broader community of a memorable event of our collective past
- To advise of recruitment opportunities and peacetime capability and delivery of the ADF
Strategies, programmes and tactics
- Education: Creation of a Children’s Choir bringing to life the songs and music of the time and their reflection of the lifestyle and practices of those days. Provision of materiel and speakers to contribute to local school classroom projects. Opportunities for families to visit the modern camps.
- Commemoration: Reading and/or displaying names of locals who fell in WW1 at each city/town/village along the route. Marchers wearing WW1 uniforms. Marchers carrying replicas of the original banners carried. Participation by members of the Lighthorse. Motivate opportunities to upgrade or improve maintenance at local war memorials. Dawn and sunset flag ceremonies each day at camp sites. Relevant daytime ceremonies or dinner functions at selected major centres.
- Honour: Read and display the names of the local volunteers at each location along the route. Read and display the names of local families who lost, and grieved for, the diggers of WW1.
- Community engagement: Close liaison and engagement with local community leadership. Maximise participation opportunities as the March reaches each community. Provide pre- and post- publicity as well as “on the day” commemoration. Search for activities that leave a genuine legacy of the re-enactment.
- Cost Recovery: The majority of cost will need to come from sponsorship, donation of servicesand supplies and volunteer labour. Submissions will be made for available grants from all levels of government to supplement efforts.
- Communication: Prior to start of March – progress reports to the NSW Centenary of ANZAC Commemoration Committee. Regular dialogue with key individual stakeholders. During March – press releases, photo opportunities, focus on local media.
- Health, Safety, Environmental Stewardship: Goal is zero HSE incidents over the period of the March. Detailed liaison with Police, RMS and relevant agencies to arrive at a written plan and operational HSE procedures for each day on the road. Modern industrial HSE management practice will be tailored to the Kangaroo March programme. A risk management plan has been developed and will evolve with the project timeline. Controls and resources will visibly implement the HSE procedures throughout the March.
- This is a commemoration to honour the local sacrifices made in WW1 and is not a commercial festival.
- Education and understanding our history is a vital key to the future.
- We need to understand the magnitude and intensity of sacrifices of the past and create community and personal value from the freedoms that were so hard won.
- Maximised community engagement along the route.
- This is not ANZAC day.
Progress as at June 2015
- All Grants applied for now received.
- RMS and Major Events Police conveyed their requirements regarding TCPs and their implementation. All noted on our Maps now on website (Itinerary page)
- Medical Assistance package agreement committed to.
- RFS groups along the route are assisting with Traffic Control and Logistic support in a formal agreement.
- Members of the Australian Military Vehicles Collectors Society are to be our camp relocation team with their wonderful veteran military vehicles and muscle!!
- Our Education Package has been released to over 150 schools along the route of the March. Developed by professional teachers it aims to convey a sample of life 100 years ago, as well as an understanding of the politics of the time, what it meant to lose the ‘breadwinner’ overseas for 3 or 4 years, and so on.
- More little RSL Rural Youth Choir ‘mobs’ are being developed along the route to participate as the March progresses through each community.
- Camp sites are being locked-in following completion of DAs. Privately owned premises that have been sought / offered also in final agreement stage.
- Camp infrastructure is coming together … steadily.
- More stories about ‘our’ Kangaroos are coming to light and steadily going up on the website. Research is slow…but rewarding and fascinating. Historians / descendants en route are offering their knowledge. The Kangaroos are becoming ‘our’ family too.
- Stories of what was happening elsewhere (the war, in Australia, other Recruitment Marches) on each of the 36 days of the March are being compiled ready for the participants in the March to get a snapshot of ‘the day in the life’ back in 1915.
- Commemoration Ceremony programme defined and a flag pole made for our ‘going down of the sun’ 30-40 minute solemn reflections each day.
- Communication made with all who may wish to March for part or all of the way, and formal registration process underway.
- Some quaint intriguing trifles are being produced for the purchase of, but only for those on the March.
- Some yet-to-be-finally-quantified contribution is proposed from the ADF – something we have felt is most significant as we wish to reflect the Military tone which was applicable in 1915. The Kangaroos had, in fact, enlisted when they joined the March.
- And last but so not least, the burgeoning community groups all along the route firing with enthusiasm to create a very special experience for the students and parents in their towns and villages. Bush dances, bush poets, a cricket match, street parades, historical displays, WW1 museums open, damper & billy tea, steam trains. And all that fun comes with costs that many of the local Councils through which we will pass are substantially contributing to in in-kind support. For this we are most grateful.
Progress as at December 2014
- Route finalised with particular reference to the requisites of the RMS and the NSW Police.
- Some grants received, more applications in the pipeline.
- Federal MPs along the route being very supportive.
- Many schools along the route taking up the opportunity to participate in the choir ‘mobs’ being formed to enhance the experience for young students.
- RSL sub branches, as their time and skills permit, are involving themselves in our progress.
- Several Local Councils/communities along the route have contributed to the formation of a local committee to oversee the activities in towns and cities along our route, e.g. Junee, Wagga Wagga, Wingecarribee, Wallendbeen, Harden-Murrumburrah, Goulburn, Yass, Gunning, Bundanoon and Campbelltown to name several.
- Lions Clubs, CWAs, Men’s Sheds have all made substantial contributions to our project, for which we are most grateful.
- Historians along the route are providing further information to that which we have from the book (our ‘bible’) The Kangaroo March.
- A couple of High Schools are involving their students with research for their WW1 History Unit to flesh out the historical matters pertaining to the period of the original march.
- The RMS are providing detailed maps to assist our planning, and these will be promulgated via our website in first quarter (Q1) 2015.
- Choir ‘mobs’ along the 520km length of the route are practising the songs of yesteryear and a recent ‘anthem’ penned by our own Music Director, OJ Rushton.
- Coverage by the media(the ABC, local radio and papers) is most welcome and growing as 2015 rolls around.
- Our ‘going down of the sun’ daily Commemorative Service has had many contributions made by musicians (composers and performers) along the route.
- An evening at the Australian War Memorial Museum has been booked to have a very special service and dinner en route, where the Kangaroos will be given particular recognition that evening.
- Health, safety, and care matters through the course of the march have been thoroughly addressed, and whilst still being finalised, are at the 90% complete stage.
- Horse and rider/driver combinations procedures have been nutted out and a process will be advised through the website or in a Bulletin in early(Q1) 2015.
- Stories about ‘our’ Kangaroos are steadily coming to light, and being given some airing on the website.
Progress as at December 2013
- Refinement of route details undertaken – work in progress. Almost final.
- Submissions to Councils and MPs for grants, acknowledgements received.
- Invitations sent to all likely interested parties to attend Launch in December with 3 months’ notice.
- MPs offices along the route helped promote the Launch in their newsletters to constituents.
- Willing assistance with information provided by the Australian War Memorial Museum.
- Visits to schools in Wagga area to engage and coach young students to sing 1915 songs at the Launch.
- Intensive planning for Launch on 7th December
- Period costumes, hired, made or bought.
- Production of Launch Booklet.
- Interaction with Wagga community, especially the RSL Sub-branch who ran the Memorial Service at the Launch; the Wagga Council.
- Liaison with the Governor’s office to finalise details of her presence.
- Media press releases to newspapers, radio, and appearances on the ABC’s Australia All Over Programme with Macca.
- Interview on Channel 7’s Sunrise programme.
- Mayoral reception in Wagga on the morning of the Launch.
- Liaison with the NSW Centenary of ANZAC Advisory Council who held their December meeting in Wagga to coincide with the Launch.
- The Launch itself.
- Members of the greater Wagga community came to help volunteer in the tents in the Gardens, cadets participated as ‘recruits’, to be waved off. The Riverina Concert Band played stirring music, the Army Band from Kapooka played suitable music pre and during the Memorial Service.
- Volunteers set up sound systems, taped cables, the RSL set up shade for the Official Party, ran a sausage sizzle.
- Media coverage from all sectors: comprehensive. The Wagga Daily Advertiser notable.
- Four descendants of Kangaroos and their families came on the day, including the first enlistee, Mark Redhead’s family, all the way from the Hunter Valley.
- Stories of Kangaroo Men coming to light as the momentum grows, people sharing their memorabilia.
- Further costings being assessed to arrive at as accurate as possible fee structure for participants.
- Further traffic management matters in process of being resolved.