CROWD GATHERS: The 28 recruits and soldiers line up for the march.
CROWD GATHERS: The 28 recruits and soldiers line up for the march. Harold Spreadborough

Centenary since patriotic march from Warwick to Brisbane

THIS year marks 100 years since the original March of the Dungarees and a time to reflect on the contribution men and women of the region made towards the war effort.

The recruitment of local men to fight in the First World War was an important moment in the history of Warwick.

On November 16, 1915, a group of 28 young local men joined soldiers from the Enoggera army base in the march from Warwick to Brisbane.

The Dungarees were answering a call for troops from Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes, following the shocking loss of life and casualty count from Gallipoli.

Patriotic marches were probably one of the most spectacular and successful ways of attracting young men into the services.

Potential recruits were canvassed from towns and rural communities.

Leaving Warwick on November 16, the Dungaree march made its way through Allora, Clifton, Greenmount, Cambooya, Toowoomba, Helidon, Gatton, Laidley, Rosewood, Ipswich and Oxley.

The 270km march ended in Brisbane, with 125 young men arriving to a tumultuous civic reception.

On December 11, a re-enactment led by cadets from 139 Army Cadet Unit and Warwick pipe bands will march through the streets of Warwick culminating at the Warwick Town Hall. A celebration organised by the Warwick Historical Society will showcase poems, songs and costumes of the period.

President Janice Flood said the celebration would be a reshaping of the original march and will reflect the history of the time period with a modern touch.

"Readings from soldiers' diaries, poems and speeches from the original march will provide an echo from the past," she said.

"Seating will be limited inside the hall but we will have a big screen set up to bring the festivities out onto the street."

Tickets will be free but as space is limited booking are important.

Members of the historical society will wear costumes from the era and anyone attending is encourage to get in the spirit and dress up for the occasion.

In a blend of past and present, commemorative walls displaying memorabilia, stories, poems and images contributed by local residents will be on display at Warwick, Stanthorpe and Allora libraries.

Doors open at the Warwick Town Hall at 5.30pm on Friday, December 11, with tickets to be made available later this month.



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