The Waratah March will be held in Helensburgh this Saturday, December 12.
The march will start at the Library in Walker Street and concludes with a service in Charles Harper Park.
It’s been organised by the Helensburgh Historical Society to commemorate 100 years since the Waratah Recruitment March of 1915.
According to Allan House of the Historical Society, when Britain declared war on Germany, Australians were asked to volunteer to join the campaign. The Government argued for conscription and put forward two referendums, however both were defeated.
Several recruiting marches were therefore held across the country, to recruit volunteers to ‘fight the Hun’. One of these was the Waratah March which began in Nowra on November 30, 2015 and passed along the coast up to Kiama, Dapto, and Wollongong, before heading along Lawrence Hargrave Drive through the Northern Illawarra, right up to Helensburgh, where it arrived on Tuesday December 14, before heading on to Heathcote, Rockdale and into The Domain, which was an 18 day trek.
The volunteers marched under the Waratah banner and wore civilian clothing, including distinctive white hats and waratah badges. They entered camp at Liverpool on December 17, 1915. Following training, most left for Pozieres in France between March and June 1916.
The following was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald:-
The following are the local lads who signed up:-