Waratah about-face a victory for common sense

There was a couple of big wins for Shoalhaven this week – aside from the historic victory by the Nowra-Bomaderry Jets in Group 7, we also had a victory for commonsense in relation to the re-enactment of the historic Waratah March.

The decision by the Roads and Maritime Services to allow a re-enactment march to cross the Shoalhaven River during centenary celebrations next year shows the powers that be have heard the wishes of local people.

The Waratah March from Nowra to Sydney, one of several so called “snowball marches” of World War I, was an incredibly significant event.

The march set off from Nowra with recruits from all along the South Coast and surrounding districts, so this is an incredibly significant event not just for Nowra but for our whole region.

It was in a time when news of the horrors of Gallipoli were beginning to filter back to Australia, and recruitment had stalled.

Many of those young men who set off from Nowra would go on to fight and die on the Western Front in France.

But the tale of their journey is about more than the soldiers – the Waratah March symbolises a much wider war effort that consumed the lives of everyone in our regional towns, just as much as it did for people in the city.

The recruits were farewelled at the Nowra Post office before marching along Bridge Road, then across the bridge to Bomaderry and on to Meroo and Berry.

The bridge crossing is such an important part of the journey of the Waratahs, and one can imagine the spectacle of the recruits going across the bridge, accompanied by musicians of the town band and being cheered on by huge crowds.

To prevent the community from witnessing a re-enactment of this major event due to red tape was more than annoying – it was incredibly insulting.

No doubt there will be more petty officialdom to battle in the months ahead for the Waratah Re-enactment Committee, and also for those trying to stage re-enactments of the other snowball marches around the country.

But let’s hope the authorities have been left in no doubt as to how important this piece of history is to our community.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.