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The Southern Highlands

Since our last news…. we’ve concluded our time in the Goulburn Mulwaree Shire marching on out of Goulburn on Monday to Marulan. Well, to be accurate the first part was by bus, cars, horse floats, etc.  Private land was negotiated for much of this day, including access to a quarry’s land. The day ended in the setting sun at the Marulan War Memorial with Goulburn Mayor Kettle there, Marulan is his home town, and yet another phenomenal feast at the recently refurbished Marulan Hall.

Next morning we were off to the northern-most town in the Shire: Tallong where the locals outdid themselves in providing lunch time fare in or around the Hall.  A tribute to the soldiers of 100 years ago followed very nicely co-ordinated by the new local teacher, and Mayor Geoff Kettle farewelled us commenting that he was relieved we hadn’t re-enacted the riot the original Kangaroos did while on his patch.

And so into the Southern Highlands arriving in Wingello on the western side of the railway. Sunset saw the campers at the Wingello Hall for our Daily Commemoration, welcomed into the Shire by Deputy Mayor Ian Scandrett, and this was followed by table service indoors in the Hall and entertainment by a fine 5 person troupe who retold World War I in music, poetry and prose – all Australian. CJ Dennis, Banjo Paterson, et al.

The next morning, on the same western side, the March took us up Kareela Road, and into the grounds of the beautiful Sylvan Glen where a special ceremony was held to honour Jemima Rush 19th Century mother from that property whose husband had died in 1908, had 9 children, and saw 4 of her boys off to War. Only 2 came home. Angela’s almost daily tribute to Mums, She who gives her son, was never more apposite, modified to the plural.  Jemima’s great-grand-daughter, Jean, planted a rowan tree in her ancestor’s honour. John Hescott gave the dedication.  Penrose School students sang with guitar accompaniment by Jo Caseley. Jack Lynch gave a fine rendition of Roses of Picardy.     The solemnity was followed by an extra scrumptious Devonshire Tea.

Then a couple of kms later we were forced to stop yet again for more Penrose hospitality with a Ploughman’s lunch at the Hall.

Toddled (what’s this ‘March’ business?) on into bonny 150-year-old Bundanoon. A fine village welcome greeted us and we paraded in the last kilometre. Here we stayed at the same camp site as the original Kangaroos did – Bundanoon Public School. The tent put-ter-up-erers have got their task down to a fine art now – nice neat rows, everything ship – well, army – shape.

Following which, our Ceremony included students from the school in their uniforms – salient because this is still school holidays – and did their school proud with their tales of yesteryear Kangaroos. And, as has become almost legendary on this March, we were fed fabulously.

Thursday 1st October dawned delightfully and final preparations were in place for the arrival of the Premier and other dignitaries including Minister and Member for Goulburn Pru Goward, Minister Elliott, Federal MP Angus Taylor, WSC Mayor Larry Whipper and Deputy Mayor Ian Scandrett.  Bundanoon’s welcome was extended by Danien Beets, Vice President Bundanoon Community  Association, and then the Kangaroo March Commemorative ceremony proceeded with David as MC.

Again, the KM Re-enactment was thrilled to have the contribution of Australia’s Federation Guard for the Catafalque Party. A tricky manoeuvre in a tight garden space around the Memorial, but managed with aplomb by these highly professional soldiers. The ceremony ended with the Anthem and the RSL Rural Commemorative Youth Choir in their colourful costumes followed with two items.

The hall was the venue for a substantial morning tea and then later dinner and a show, with some ‘down time’ in between.

The next day, Bundanoon village saw us off northward bound over the back road to Exeter, which is home to most of the KM organisers. Members of the village welcomed us at the Village boundary and we marched into the ‘CBD’ – 3 shops – on round the corner for the obligatory photo of the same place the original Kangaroos have been regularly depicted. Into the Hall and grounds where a splendid feast awaited us.  (Have we mentioned the food on this epic journey?) Exeter Village Association turned it on.  Then EVA President Steve Aspinall bade us welcome, contributed to our Commemorative Ceremony with The Ode.  And almost on the stroke of 2pm the phalanx formed up again, and off across the railway line and away to Moss Vale.

A parade down Moss Vale main street and thence into the Show grounds our home for 3 nights. Two of those shared with Scouts having a mini jamboree. Much needed rest days ensued. Monday, public holiday and shoulder the swags again and off to Mittagong via Burradoo and Bowral.

Enlist now to march in the Kangaroo March Re-enactment.