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1918: Yesterday’s Great Celebrations.

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The Armidale Chronicle, Wednesday, 13 November 1918



The procession which preceded the celebration in the Park yesterday afternoon was remarkable in the his- tory of Armidale. It was the largest, as well as the most historic on record. Dense crowds lined the route and occupied every coign of vantage. The cheering was deafening. It is safe to say that every citizen took some part in the celebrations. Punctually to time the procession was started on its way by the Marshal (Capt. T. Webb). It was led by the City Band and patriotic tableaux and devices preponderated in its make-up. The Fire Brigade made a brave show with two lorries. A coffin, with the inscription, “To L with the Kaiser,” attracted a great deal of notice. It had been arranged by Mr. G. Piddington, undertaker. Every interest in the city was represented. The military and cadets, and children from all the schools and boys and girls from the colleges, marched, carrying flags, as did the Friendly Societies in regalia. The Red Cross workers and associated branches of women war-workers were cheered. The Junior Red Cross was similarly honored. The Pipe Band lent color and spirit to its part of the procession. Numerous decorated motor cars brought up the rear.

At the park the crowd was equally dense. The Mayor (Ald. Purkiss) presided.

After the singing of the hymn, “O, God our Help in Ages Past,” the Mayor read the following telegram from Mr. H. W. Lane, Member for Armidale, who had been called away that morning:—Congratulations for Liberty won. Peace assured. With sympathy to all who have suffered through the tragedy of this great war. He explained that that gathering had been arranged at a special meeting of the City Council the previous day. He congratulated the people of Armidale upon the orderly way in which they had conducted their “maffick,” despite their great excitement. He urged them, in spite of their victory, to retain their sympathy for the relatives of those who had made the supreme sacrifice, and to bear in mind also their duty to the men who would be returning. The Mayor read the terms of the armistice, his reading being punctuated with cheers, “If that is not unconditional surrender,” added the Mayor, “I don’t know what is.”

“Thank God,” declared Archdeacon Johnstone, “Prussianism is smashed.” But in the smashing of that Prussianism there had been sacrifices, and it was their duty to look after those men who were returning from the fight. He congratulated the people upon their orderly conduct, and also placed on record the splendid work done by the operators at the local telephone exchange.

Sergt. Campion was loudly cheered. At his request the audience stood in reverent silence in honor of the comrades who fell at Gallipoli. He appealed for support to the Returned Soldiers’ League, and urged both the League and the Rejected Volunteers’ Association to organise, so that they could kick for what was coming to them when the time came.

Cheers were given for the Red Cross when Mrs. Hickson rose to commence her address. She invited all the soldiers to attend a dinner that evening, given by the Red Cross, and also thanked the people of Armidale for the help given the Red Cross during four years of war. “But,” she added, “this work must not yet cease.”

Major Richardson, M.C., as the representative of the military, pleaded for consideration in any faults they might find with individual returned soldiers, and help for them in overcoming them.

Ald. W. Curtis, representing the Chamber of Commerce, was the next speaker, and made a very strong appeal to the people to be mindful of the duties that followed peace.

At this juncture the rain, which had been threatening for some time, arrived, and adjournment was made to the Town Hall. The large crowd were unable, however, to all find accommodation in the hall.

Other speakers were Rev. H. S. Buntine (Presbyterian), Chaplain-Major Orames (Salvation Army), Rev. H. Putland (Baptist), Rev. H. E. Andrews (Methodist), Mr. H. Rafferty (Rejected Volunteers’ Association), Staff-Sergeant-Major Johnson (Recruiting).

Mr. S. J. Kearney and Canon Forster were included in the list of speakers, but were unable to be present.

Written by macalba

November 12, 2018 at 11:11 am

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