The Dungarees

The Dungarees Recruitment March (1915) went through our district
Because Australia had no standing army and the militia forces were by law unable to serve overseas, an all-volunteer expeditionary force, the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), was formed from 15 August 1914.
Ten “Snowball” recruiting marches were initiated by recruiting committees in country towns, mostly in NSW. They were not official activities, but were generally supported by Army personnel.
The Dungarees March was a “snowball” recruitment drive in southern Queensland. Twenty-eight men left Warwick on 16 November 1915 on a march to Brisbane. At each town speeches were made, recruits were sought – and the men were feted and fed by the locals.

On 29 November 1915 the Dungarees column marched along Ipswich Road through our district (from Goodna to Oxley).

THE “DUNGAREES.” IPSWICH TO OXLEY….The first evidence of the welcome prepared for the men by the residents of Oxley was encountered at Darra, where the “Dungarees” were met by members of the Sherwood, Indooroopilly, Toowong, and Taringa Rifle Clubs, accompanied by the No 1 Depot Expeditionary Forces Band. These joined in the march to Oxley… The Brisbane Courier 30 November 1915 p 7

The Dungarees leave Ipswich, 29 Nov 1915
 Source: Australian War Museum H02203… In 2007, Darra resident Irene Bolton (then 100 years old) remembered the Dungarees’ last stop at her school, Oxley State School (the Darra school did not open until the following year). “They marched from Ipswich that day and Mum made a heck of a lot of cakes to help feed them – they slept under the Oxley school that night I think.”

The march ended in King George Square (then Albert Square) the next day, 30 November 1915, met by an enthusiastic crowd and an official reception.
The Dungarees March covered 160 miles (270 km) and ended in Brisbane with 125 recruits. In a small way, they helped provide reinforcements for the Anzac forces which had sustained heavy losses over the previous months.
In 1998 a re-enactment Dungarees March followed the same route (see below).
The Military Motorcycle Club, Queensland plans a Dungarees Re-enactment Run in November 2015.

Note a group of men carry a large banner depicting the soldier from the “Call from the Dardanelles” recruitment poster, behind which another declares “We are from Stanthorpe, come and join us”…

Dungarees – “so named because of the type of uniform provided by the State Recruiting Committee, and the name adopted by the young Queenslanders who volunteered to enlist in this way.”
The Dungarees Re-enactment March (1998) also went through our district
28 people (including 4 women) made the march from Warwick to Brisbane
Dungarees E Abraham 1998The re-enactment of the Dungarees march is planned to arrive in Brisbane in time to participate in the 1998 ANZAC Day march, simultaneously combining with Eric Abraham’s 100th birthday.* It will be a fitting tribute to a very special group of Queenslanders who gave so much for us so long ago, and to a man who is the last surviving representative of their sacrifice.”
*Eric Abraham was the last Dungaree – he enlisted at Ipswich aged 17 and died in 2003, aged 104.

In 1998, aged 100, he was involved with the Re-enactment March. In the same year, he revisited the battlefields of France – a party of 4 old diggers attended ceremonies to commemorate 80 years since the end of the Great War.

Also in 1998, Eric was interviewed by RIHG members Gert Riley and Lesley Eason.


EXCERPT from Proposed program for section Ipswich to Oxley:

Thursday 23rd April 1998
7.00 am March out Ipswich camp
11.00am March in Richardson Park, Goodna (Lunch) 17.5km
11.45am March out, Richardson Park

(The “Dungarees” entered our district, marching along)

Wilruna St
Wacol Station Road
Ipswich Road
Manoeuvre Round-about Centenary Highway junction
Service Road north side
Manoeuvre across Hardcourt Road – vehicles via Rowe Tce, Winslow St and Hardcourt Road
Service Road north side

(The “Dungarees” left our district to Oxley, marching along)
Jutland St, Munbilla St, Oxley Rd, Bannerman St
2.00pm March in Oxley School
4.00pm March in Police Academy 30km
(They stayed overnight at the Police Academy and marched to Brisbane the next day).
For more, see:

“The Dungarees: an account of the recruitment march from Warwick to Brisbane by volunteers for the First World War and the re-enactment 1998” compiled by Nat McCaughey
*Nat McCaughey was President of the Brisbane Committee for the Dungarees Re-enactment March in 1998.