MORE than two years of meticulous planning will deliver Junee Shire an exciting and colourful community celebration to mark the Kangaroo March re-enactment travelling through the district.
The re-enactment march will enter the shire on Monday, September 7, and enjoy festivities in Junee, Illabo and Bethungra until it moves into Cootamundra Shire on September 11.
“We had a mountain to climb, but all of a sudden we are just about at the top,” said Susan Moloney, secretary of the 18-member Junee Shire Kangaroo March Re-enactment Committee.
“I think the community is working hard because they want to pay the utmost respect to the men who went off on the march, but not just the men, their families, also.”
The re-enactment begins in Wagga on September 5 and ends 524km and 35 days later at Campbelltown on October 10. It commemorates a recruitment drive to enlist men for World War I in the wake of disastrous losses at Gallipoli in 1915. The original march left Wagga on December 1, 1915, and moved through several Riverina shires as it marched north east to Sydney.
Mrs Moloney said a commemoration service would be held at the Junee Cenotaph at 2.20pm on September 7 following a handover of a replica of the Kangaroo March flag to Junee mayor Neil Smith by Wagga mayor Rod Kendall.
A World War II Spitfire will fly over the Cenotaph at 3pm. Other activities in town include a Rotary barbecue for marchers at the showground and an evening of entertainment at the Anthenium Theatre, including war news film clips, old-fashioned sweets and music.
On September 8, activities include a presentation of a World War I painting by Janess Sutton, a descendant of Junee Kangaroo Marcher William Lidden, and a 50-year presentation to the Red Cross and CWA.
Illabo school children will meet marchers at the village’s cenotaph on September 9, followed by a commemoration ceremony at 2.20pm and a dinner and interactive theatre evening in the showground pavilion from 6pm.
There will be a dinner for marchers at the Olde School T-House at Bethungra on September 10 during which a piece of leadlight artwork made by Annette Black to honour the Kangaroo March will be unveiled.
Junee RSL sub-branch president John Robertson said he thought the celebrations would be great. “I think it will be something people will always remember,” Mr Robertson said.
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