New memorial commemorating the Coo-ee March unveiled at the official opening of the Coo-ee Car Park at Ashfield

New memorial commemorating the Coo-ee March unveiled at the official opening of the Coo-ee Car Park at Ashfield

On Tuesday 21st April 2015 the new Coo-ee Car Park was officially opened at Wests Ashfield Leagues Club. The Board of Directors at Wests Ashfield Leagues Club named it Coo-ee Car Park in memory of the 263 men who joined the 1915 Gilgandra to Sydney Coo-ee Recruitment March, which included 22 recruits who joined at Ashfield, when the Coo-ees stayed in the Drill Hall near this site on the night of 11th November, 1915.

A new memorial, in the form of a plaque mounted on a large rock from Gilgandra, which had been sourced by Margo Piggott from Gilgandra Historical Society, and transported with assistance from Gilgandra Shire Council, was unveiled in front of the car park on Liverpool Road near the entrance to the Wests Ashfield Leagues Club.

Coo-ee Car Park memorial at Wests Ashfield Leagues (Photograph: H. Thompson 31/5/2015)

Coo-ee Car Park memorial at Wests Ashfield Leagues (Photograph: H. Thompson 31/5/2015)

The plaque reads:

“Coo-ee Car Park
Opened in 2015 – commemorating 100 years since Ashfield
contributed 22 men to the “Coo-ee” march, which rested near this site
on 11 November 1915, on the trek from Gilgandra to Sydney
for enlistment in World War I.
The car park is on the site of the original Western Suburbs Leagues Club, celebrating 60 years of community commitment in 2015.
Set in basalt stone from Gilgandra, this plaque was laid in
the centenary year of the Gallipoli landing of 25 April 1915
that gave birth to the ANZAC spirit.
Wests Ashfield Leagues”

Mike Bailey, Chairman of Wests Ashfield Leagues Club, Kevin Connelly, President of Ashfield RSL Sub-Branch, and the Mayor of Ashfield, Clr Lucille McKenna, spoke at the official ceremony.

Special guests included the Mayor of Gilgandra, Clr Doug Batten, and Bruce Horwood, President of Gilgandra RSL Sub-Branch.

The Coo-ee March 2015 Inc.(Gilgandra Sub-Committee) looks forward to the Coo-ee March 2015 Reenactment marchers participating in a commemorative service at this new memorial at the Coo-ee Car Park at Wests Ashfield Leagues Club when they arrive in Ashfield on the evening of 10th November 2015.

The Coo-ee March 2015 Reenactment has been granted permission to stay the night at the adjoining Ashfield Boys High School. The gymnasium at the school where they will be staying is built on the original site of the Ashfield Drill Hall where the Coo-ees stayed in 1915, on the last night of their long march from Gilgandra to Sydney.

The Coo-ee March 2015 Reenactment marchers will leave this historical site at Ashfield Boys High School and Wests Ashfield Leagues Club early on the morning of 11th November 2015 to participate in the Remembrance Day parade being organised in the City of Sydney – 100 years to the day that the Coo-ees arrived at Ashfield, on the 11th November 1915.

The names of the 22 recruits who were attested when the Coo-ees were at Ashfield can be found on the 1915 Coo-ee March website http://cooeemarch1915.com/2015/04/17/the-22-ashfield-recruits/ which is being researched by Helen and Stephen Thompson, who are members of Coo-ee March 2015 Inc. (Gilgandra Sub-Committee), as a record of the Coo-ee March, and a memorial to the 263 men who answered the call of “Coo-ee! Come and join us!”, and fell into line in towns and villages along the way of the recruitment march from Gilgandra to Sydney in 1915. Individual entries are being written for each of these 263 men.

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