Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

A Last Farewell

Newcastle in 1916

The first A.N.Z.A.C. Day commemorated at Newcastle on 25th April 1916 was attended by thousands of people. A Parade in the morning was followed by several church services and afterwards the 35th and 36th Battalions re-formed and returned to the Gardner Memorial in Hunter Street for wreath laying. In the evening a Concert was held in King Edward Park.

This was surely a poignant day in Newcastle, for as the citizens gathered to remember the young men who had fallen at Gallipoli, they knew that before the end of the month the men of 35th regiment (Newcastle's Own) and the 36th regiment - their sons, brothers, husbands, sweethearts and friends, would embark on their own voyage towards the perils of war.

Anzac Day Parade

The Newcastle Morning Herald described the ceremonies held on this first A.N.Z.A.C. Day, 25 April 1916:

Newcastle yesterday paid impressive tribute to the memory of the Anzac landing, and the Australians and New Zealanders who fell in that historic fight on Gallipoli. From early morning crowds thronged into the city from the suburbs and from the adjacent centres. Business was practically suspended during the forenoon, for major attention was devoted to the observances arranged by the committee, headed by the Mayor, and the Returned Soldiers' Association.

But though crowds thronged the city streets, there was no appearance of carnival, rather there was an appropriate air of quiet reverence, though the tinge of pride in the achievements of the Australians and New Zealanders was not absent. The services held in churches of all denominations after the military procession were very largely attended. A great many of the ships and other business places, as well as vehicles, were draped in black and purple, and there was also a free display of bunting, all flying at half-mast, and in which the public offices and the ships in port participated.

The procession was formed up at the junction of Porcher-street and Hunter street West, and proceeding through the city, was composed of the Naval Band, Naval Contingent, Returned Soldiers. Veterans, Naval Reserves, 35th Battalion with band, 36th Battalion and band, 16th Infantry Band, and Military Cadets. It was a lengthy procession, and the marching of the sailors and soldiers excited admiration. The returned soldiers were greeted with lusty cheering. which was doubled in honour of a number not sufficiently recovered to be able to walk, and a couple of whom were blind, who were conveyed in motor cars.

The two battalions - the 35th and 36th, in training at Broadmeadow were also greeted with encouraging cheers. All the various units of both battalions were in the parade. As the procession passed the Gardner memorial to fallen soldiers in front of the Post Office, beside which were Alderman M. J. Moroney, Mayor of Newcastle, Commander Frank Gardner, the donor, senior military officers, and relatives of deceased soldiers - were impressively saluted. As the procession left Hunter-street and proceeded up Watt street, contingents of men fell out, and were marched to their respective churches, whilst the remainder proceeded to the Cathedral. The soldiers attended the memorial services in large numbers, and so did the civilians.

After the church services the procession was re-formed in Hunter-street, and assembling in the neighbourhood of the Gardner memorial awaited the striking of midday. At that hour a gun was fired from Fort Scratchley, and immediately the band of the 36th Battalion played the National Anthem, all traffic was suspended, and 60 seconds silence was observed. The various units in the procession were immediately afterwards dispersed. During the forenoon proceedings a large number of wreaths were placed on the Gardner memorial, over which was spread the Union Jack and the Australian ensign. The wreaths included tributes from the Mayor and Mayoress, the Northern Branch of the New South Wales Rugby League, Returned Soldiers' Association, the ladies' committee of the Soldiers' Club, the Newcastle Police, the Newcastle Surf Club, numerous citizens and relatives of soldiers who had fallen

The Gardner Memorial

The Gardner Memorial mentioned above, situated outside the Newcastle Post Office, was presented to Newcastle by Commander Frank Gardner V.D. The foundation stone was laid on 28th March 1916. It was 8ft high and when the marble figure was placed on top the height was lifted to 14ft. Ravensfield stone was used and the columns, tablets and basin were of white marble. The marble figure of the life size soldier was carved in Italy and wasn't placed on the foundation stone for several months and so wouldn't have been in place on this first A.N.Z.A.C. Day march. [2] The memorial is believed to be Australia's first memorial of the Great War that incorporated a soldier statue [3]

Evening Concert

In the evening of Anzac Day 1916 a grand open-air concert was held in King Edward Park. The event was preceded by a procession of the returned soldiers together with the men of the 35th and 36th Battalions, and the naval and military units of the Newcastle district. Between 7.15 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. that evening various Military Bands, Soldiers, Cadets and Firemen marched to King Edward Park via Auckland, Hunter and Watt Streets. The park was festooned with lights and surmounting the dome of the rotunda a replica of a crown formed of coloured lights dominated the place. In front of the stand was a framework of electric globes encasing the legend, 'Remember Gallipoli' and over this was a Maltese Cross of multi coloured lights. Several thousand people attended the event which was presided over by Mayor M.J. Moroney.

The 36th Battalion Band opened the proceedings with the march 'Goeze', following with 'They Lie Sleeping in Gallipoli tonight.

They Lay Sleeping at Gallipoli Tonight


There were vocal performances of 'Sons of New Britannia' and 'Sons of Australia', 'Queen of the Earth', 'Island of Dreams', 'Boys of the Dardanelles', the 'Waldemere March' and 'The Bravest of the Brave'. Following these performances recruiting speeches were delivered.

The men of the 35th and 36th Battalions were then presented with badges emblematic of the departing troops. They were printed on satin ribbon. Those of the 35th on brown satin and inscribed Newcastle's Farewell to the 35th Battalion April 1916. Godspeed our Boys. The 36th Battalion badges printed on white satin, were inscribed with the words: Newcastle's Farewell to the 36th Battalion April 1916. Good Luck! Godspeed.

1st Australian Horse Regiment - Newcastle 1899

With the coming of the war, older residents of Newcastle may have recalled scenes from years gone by; those of a former war and of loved ones departing never to return. A momentous day in the spring of 1899 ever to be remembered when hundreds of the 1st Australian Horse regiment were bid au revoir from Queens Wharf at Newcastle.

Farewell to 1st Australian Horse Battalion at Newcastle 1899
Farewell to the1st Australian Horse Battalion Newcastle November 1899

The 1st Australian Horse was a volunteer militia unit raised in 1895 by Colonel J.H.K. Mackay.

Col. Mackay recruited men from all over country New South Wales. The first of the regiment left Newcastle on 14 November 1899 on board the transport Langton Grange, and consisted of two officers and 32 other ranks, with 36 horses. They arrived at Cape Town, South Africa, on 13 December [5]

The men were regarded as excellent horsemen and the regiment wore a distinctive uniform of dark green with black embroidery, in a hussar pattern. It would be hard to imagine the crowds that formed in Newcastle to farewell these soldiers if not for four amazing photographs published in the Australian Town and Country Journal in that year. The photographs are of the soldiers marching through Union street near Arnotts Paddock; in Hunter Street (above); in formation on Queens Wharf; and embarking on the ship. They show just how grand the departure had been. Follow this link to see the other photographs

Nearly seventeen years later there was a concerted effort to have the 35th and 36th Battalions also embark at Queen's Wharf as they had so spectacularly in 1899, in order that they could be farewelled by their families in Newcastle. In Melbourne Senator Watson and others had petitioned the Minister for Defence and naval and military officers too. An interview had also been made with Brigadier General Ramaciotti. All of whom favoured the request however in the end it had not been allowed, apparently because of shipping restrictions.

Farewell at Broadmeadow Camp

The 35th and 36th Battalions were farewelled at Broadmeadow instead. If those who had hoped for a departure by ship were disappointed, they need not have been, for the people of Newcastle turned out in their thousands at Broadmeadow to give a last farewell to 'Newcastle's Own'

On the last day of April 1916 a huge crowd of relatives and friends gathered early in the morning at the Broadmeadow camp where the men of the 35th had been in training. It was a sight to be remembered as fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives, sweethearts and friends all mingled with the khaki clad boys. As the musical regimental call of the 35th was sounded followed by 'fall in', some of the crowd gathered outside the parade ground to see the battalion form up and march out from the camp for the last time. As the battalion fell in the men with their overcoats rolled and carrying their white kit bags one could not fail to be impressed with their fine physique. The reputation that Australia has already won in the hands of such men as those of the 35th [6]

The short distance from the camp to the station was thronged with people. As the troops moved along, the crowd surged forward until all chance of keeping the ranks intact was futile. Women and girls overcome with a desire to be with their father, brother or sweetheart defied all military order and rushed in amongst the troops. By the time the station was reached, the men of the 35th were drifting in through the crush one by one [7]

A Last Farewell

Broadmeadow Station...
Farewell to those off to the First World War, Broadmeadow. Hunter History Collection. Image courtesy of Newcastle Regional Library

There were thousands of spectators waiting at Broadmeadow Train Station to farewell the 35th regiment.

The Newcastle Morning Herald gave a stirring eye-witness account of the departure....

It was an unforgettable sight. The Battalion left Broadmeadow camp yesterday on their way to the front to do their share in the greatest war of all time. Nature was in a radiant mood. It was a typical Australian autumn day - bright sunshine and a clear sky. A happy omen? Let it be hoped so.

The band of the 36th played a number of patriotic airs, and as each train left Broadmeadow station, broke into the strains of Auld Lang Syne.

The bell of the Broadmeadow Fire station was rung and detonators on the rails of the railway line were exploded as part of the send off. Finally when the last troop train drew out of the station at twenty minutes to twelve o'clock to the accompaniment of cheers from thousands of throats and the waving of hats and handerchiefs, the band of the 36th played God Save the King and so went from our midst the 35th Battalion

1918 Peerless Quartet - Auld Lang Syne...

Notes and Links

1). ADFA Project

2). Newcastle Honour Roll - 35th Battalion's Fallen - A list of all deaths in the battalion published in the Newcastle Sun 6 May 1918


[1] Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate 26 Apr 1916

[2] Newcastle Morning Herald 31 March 1916.

[3] Dr. Richard Walding Research Fellow School of Science Griffith University.

[4] Tyrrell, Edward H & Cowan, Sam. (1915). They lie sleeping in Gallipoli tonight

[5]. Australian War Memorial

[6] Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate 1 May 1916, p. 5

[7] Lyne, M.E., Newcastle's Own, The Story of the Battalion, Newcastle Sun, 8 March 1920 p.1.

[8] Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate 1 May 1916, p. 5