The Gilgandra District has a strong interest in the history of involvement in the First World War. Men came from Gilgandra and all the surrounding towns; Gulargambone, Armatree, Collie, Curban, Tooraweenah, Breelong, Bearbung, Balladooran and Mendooran.

Australia’s first recruitment march, the Coo-ee March, began in Gilgandra in October 1915 in response to the need for reinforcements for the loss of troops in Gallipoli. William Hitchen led the men from Gilgandra to Sydney and ended the march with 263 new recruits. There has been one re-enactment in 1986 and the centenary re-enactment in 2015.

Tooraweenah’s Kookaburra March followed in January 1916. William Hitchen led this march to Bathurst, where it met up with the Central West Recruitment March. A re-enactment took place in 19196 and another is planned for 2015.

The Anglican congregation in Bournemouth, England decided to fund a church as a thanks-giving to a community which gave the most service in World War One. Gilgandra was chosen from all the countries in the British Empire and the St Ambrose Anglican Church stands today as a commemoration of the service given by hundreds of men connected to Gilgandra.

The Gilgandra District Diggers Database consists of names from the surrounding districts war memorials and the commemorations in churches and cemeteries. Service personnel are identified from the enlistment papers where they stated where they were born, present address, and next of kin address. Relatives and friends of the personnel have provided information which enables us to confirm the serviceman.

This is an ongoing project which aims to identify, research and record the stories, the images and the memorabilia of the men and women of WW1. If you can add information or photos to this collection, please contact us.

Margo Piggott



Gilgandra Museum and Historical Society

6 Castlereagh St

Gilgandra NSW 2827

Postal Address:

PO Box 36

Gilgandra NSW 2827

EMAIL: gilgandramuseum@gmail.com

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