Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Not so quiet on the home front: Wagga Wagga, World War One and the Kangaroo March

1915 : a new year and a world war, Wagga Wagga was rapidly becoming involved in the national war effort by holding and hosting recruiting drives and other events .  Arguably the biggest of these was the Kangaroo March, which kicked off in Wagga on December 1, 1915. The Daily Advertiser reported on all the associated meetings, discussions and gatherings, the newspaper being the most up to date technology for disseminating the war news (which it liked to point out to its readers, on the front page: “ CABLES AND TELEGRAMS EVERY MORNING News before any other source” )

The Kangaroo March, by Sherry Morris and Harold Fife, is a detailed history of the Kangaroo March itself, but also offers insights into other aspects surrounding the effect of the war on the local area. Australia is currently commemorating the 100 years anniversary of ANZACS participating in World War One, so now is a good time to research all things 1914-1918. 

 There are many reputable websites with information regarding Australia’s  contribution to the war , for example the Australian War Memorial :

                                         Australians on the Western Front
                                         100 Years of ANZAC

But best of all you can come to the library and borrow a copy of The Kangaroo March, or book the microfilm reader to look at the Daily Advertiser’s war reporting, or use the library’s free wifi or computer access to look up World War One websites, or look for general or local information about the Great War.  See you soon! 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Wagga Wagga New Year - 1949 and local industry

Four years after the end of World War Two, Wagga Wagga was still experiencing a degree of postwar poverty, but the general outlook was one of optimism. Wagga Wagga promoted itself as an industrial hub in a number of manufacturing areas such as metal, timber, dairy and flour. 

Still recovering from the food restrictions imposed by rationing during the war, (rationing for butter and tea wasn't abolished until 1950) the city never the less looked forward to an economic boom time. A group of local businesses calling themselves "The Combined Manufacturers of Wagga Wagga " pooled their resources, and using the traditional community enthusiasm for a new year and a fresh start, published a leaflet advertising and extolling Wagga Wagga as a provider of employment, quality goods and services, as well as appealing to the rural and pastoral element with references to a golden era of farming in the area.


The people of Wagga Wagga had seen in the new year with many celebrations in the form of dances, theatre and general carousing in the streets - 1949 was also the year Thena Karofolis was crowned Miss Wagga (she also held the title of Miss Cafes) . The Daily Advertiser had estimated that ten thousand people filled central Wagga Wagga's streets singing and dancing, and this crowd was added to when theatres and movies ended, the patrons joining in the general celebrations. At midnight the crowds gathered round the Court House and sang Auld Lang Syne. Economically progressive Wagga Wagga was ready to tackle another year, moving further away from the difficult war years. 

The Wagga Wagga Industries Directory will soon be available to view within the library ! Come into the library and check out the local history section and just come to the loans desk to ask about viewing this and other material from the local studies collection.