Historic Waratah March Re-enactment, Saturday 12 December 2015
On Saturday 12 December, the Waratah March Re-enactment will take place in Helensburgh starting at the library at 10.30 am. It will proceed down Walker Street, along Parkes Street to the War Memorial in Charles Harper Park. At the Memorial a short service will be held. The Historical Society will be presenting a display related to World War I in the Rotunda in the Park.
One hundred years ago volunteers marched from Nowra through the Illawarra to Sydney to gather recruits to fight in the Great War.
On Tuesday, November 30, 1915, 50 men left Nowra, marching for Sydney as part of a recruitment drive for World War I. Those 50 men formed the nucleus of what became known as the March of the Waratahs. Along the way, the group visited towns and villages, recruiting volunteers, and by the time it reached Sydney had swelled to 117.
The volunteers marched under the Waratah Banner and wore civilian clothing including distinctive white hats and waratah badges. They entered camp at Liverpool on 17 December 1915. After training, most left Australia between March and June 1916 as 1st Battalion reinforcements to fight at Pozieres in France.
The Waratah March reached Stanwell Park and Helensburgh on Tuesday, 14 December 1915.
Nine men from the Helensburgh joined the March and enlisted. One of the men was William Barrie who was killed in Belgium on 4 October 1917.