History to repeat itself

IN DECEMBER 1915, 88 men marched out of Wagga to the wave of womens' handkerchiefs, bound for war.

They were the men who started what was to become one of the city's greatest moments in history they were the men of the Kangaroo March.

And on Saturday, December 7, the city will once again taste the fever of war time with the official launch of the Kangaroo March centenary re-enactment being organised as a part of the 2015 Anzac celebrations.

NSW Governor Marie Bashir, former Chief of Defence General Peter Cosgove, director of the Australian War Memorial Dr Brendan Nelson and NSW president of the Returned and Services League (RSL) Don Rowe have been confirmed as guests.

Rhondda Vanzella, vice-president of the Kangaroo March Centenary Re-enactment Association (KMCRA), is now hoping the community will come out in force to support the event.

"We want to give people a chance to get a taste of what 2015 will hold," she said.

"There will be girls with their white handkerchiefs waving off the soldiers who will walk past and salute the governor just as they did back then."

The event will include a community barbecue before a commemorative service and wreath laying for the fallen at the cenotaph at 1.45pm.

The official proceedings will be far from boring with Wagga RSL sub-branch president Kevin Kerr running the launch with a bit of theatre as a loud-voiced leader rustling the men together urging others to join the fight for king and country.

Officials will present a number of speeches, but the real stars of the event will be a choir of 50 school children in period costumes who will entertain the crowd and 88 men from Wagga's Army reserve unit in uniform, re-creating the start of the walk. Mrs Vanzella is encouraging the community to get along on the day before the official proceedings start with tents set up for residents to share their family history of the war and service.

"There will be a tent where people can bring photos, memorabilia and record their stories as a part of the day," she said.

People interested in walking in the 2015 re-enactment will also have the chance to sign up to take part.

DETAILS

The Wagga RSL subbranch will begin its annual Poppy Appeal in the lead-up to Remembrance Day on November 11.

■ The Poppy Appeal will run from November 5 to 11.

■ What: Official launch of the Kangaroo Re-enactment

■ When: Saturday, December 7 from 12.30pm. Official proceedings to begin at 1.45pm.

■ Where: Wagga Victory Memorial Gardens

■ Note: The organisers want your help. Bring along family history from WWI including photos, memorabilia and stories told to you. A tent will be set up by re-enactment organisers to collect as much local information as they can to be used as a part of future celebrations.

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