Kangaroo March has maritime flavour

Published on SGT Dave Morley (author and photographer)

Location(s): Wagga Wagga, NSW

As part of a re-enactment of the 1915 Kangaroo Recruiting March, 77 Royal Australian Air Force members, eight Royal Australian Navy members and three Australian Army soldiers marched down Fitzmaurice Street, Wagga Wagga, NSW, on Saturday, September 5, 2015, representing the 88 Wagga Wagga men who took part in the original march.

The 88 members dressed in coveralls and floppy hats to imitate the original marchers. (photo: SGT Dave Morley)
As part of a re-enactment of the 1915 Kangaroo Recruiting March, 77 Royal Australian Air Force members, eight Royal Australian Navy members and three Australian Army soldiers marched down Fitzmaurice Street, Wagga Wagga, NSW, on Saturday, September 5, 2015, representing the 88 Wagga Wagga men who took part in the original march. The 88 members dressed in coveralls and floppy hats to imitate the original marchers.

It's a long way from the sea but Navy played a leading role in the Kangaroo recruiting march re-enactment, which left Wagga Wagga on 5 September.

As part of the re-enactment of the 1915 march, 88 Australian Defence Force members from Royal Australian Air Force Base Wagga marched from Wagga Council Chambers to North Wagga.

They represented the 88 Wagga Wagga men who took part in the original march, which finished at Campbelltown on Sydney’s outskirts 520km later.

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Petty Officer Jonathan Ward from Royal Australian Air Force School of Technical Training (RAAFSTT) at RAAF Base Wagga, was involved in local liaison to have RAAF and RAN members take part in a re-enactment of the 1915 Kangaroo Recruiting March at Wagga Wagga on Saturday, September 5, 2015.

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Petty Officer Jonathan Ward from Royal Australian Air Force School of Technical Training (RAAFSTT) at RAAF Base Wagga, was involved in local liaison to have RAAF and RAN members take part in a re-enactment of the 1915 Kangaroo Recruiting March at Wagga Wagga on Saturday, September 5, 2015.


Staff member at the Royal Australian Air Force School of Technical Training, Petty Officer Maritime Logisitics - Supply Chain Jonathon Ward was involved in liaising with the Wagga RSL sub-branch to make it all happen.

He said the base had a good relationship with the local RSL.

“When they asked for our help we were happy to give it,” he said.

“It’s been a great turnout and I’m pretty happy with the result.

“I think everyone’s happy to take part in such an incredible part of Australia’s history.”

The 88 marchers included eight Navy members, 77 Air Force members and three soldiers. Like the original marchers, they wore dungarees and white floppy hats.

Avionics trainee, Seaman Carrik Taylor, said volunteering for the march was a good opportunity to learn more about Wagga.

“I only posted in a few weeks ago and thought it would be a good way to spend a Saturday morning,” he said.

“My wife and daughter came along to watch as well. It was much bigger than I thought it would be.”

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Aircraftwoman Hayley Olsen and Royal Australian Navy Seaman Carrik Taylor, both avionics trainees from RAAF Base Wagga, took part in a re-enactment of the 1915 Kangaroo Recruiting March at Wagga Wagga on Saturday September 5, 2015.

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Aircraftwoman Hayley Olsen and Royal Australian Navy Seaman Carrik Taylor, both avionics trainees from RAAF Base Wagga, took part in a re-enactment of the 1915 Kangaroo Recruiting March at Wagga Wagga on Saturday September 5, 2015.


Director-General Centenary of Anzac Planning Team Brigadier Phil Winter said the Kangaroo march was one of several commemorative marches taking place across Australia.

“The marches will occur between now and Remembrance Day and re-enact the regional recruiting marches of 1915, when the losses at Gallipoli saw communities respond to the call for more Australian volunteers,” he said.

“The marchers have had some moving ‘country-style’ Australian welcomes, such as farmers putting fresh sprigs of wattle on their gates to mark the trail across some of the farms and fresh fruit from locals’ crops and Anzac biscuits being laid out at the billy stops.

“It has brought a few tears to some of the marchers, by all accounts, to have that sort of country reception from families who are descendants of many of the marchers or original landowners.”

Royal Australian Navy officer Lieutenant (LEUT) Kingsley Longman from the Royal Australian Air Force School of Technical Training (RAAFSTT) at RAAF Base Wagga, Australian Army officer Major (Maj) Cindy Hinds from 1st Recruit Training Battalion (1RTB) at Blamey Barracks, Kapooka, NSW, and Royal Australian Air Force officer Group Captain (GPCAPT) Ross Jones from RAAF Base Wagga, lay a wreath at the Wagga Wagga cenotaph on Saturday, September 5, 2015, as part of the Kangaroo Recruiting March re-enactment.

Royal Australian Navy officer Lieutenant (LEUT) Kingsley Longman from the Royal Australian Air Force School of Technical Training (RAAFSTT) at RAAF Base Wagga, Australian Army officer Major (Maj) Cindy Hinds from 1st Recruit Training Battalion (1RTB) at Blamey Barracks, Kapooka, NSW, and Royal Australian Air Force officer Group Captain (GPCAPT) Ross Jones from RAAF Base Wagga, lay a wreath at the Wagga Wagga cenotaph on Saturday, September 5, 2015, as part of the Kangaroo Recruiting March re-enactment.