Cowra celebrated with a great day for the children in 1918

News of the end of World War I on November 11, 1918 was met with scepticism in some quarters of Cowra but it wasn’t long before the celebrations commenced according to Cowra’s newspaper the Cowra Free Press.

“When the news came through it was received with a considerable degree of Scotch caution,” the Cowra Free Press reported.

According to an article printed in the Cowra Free Press on Wednesday, November 13: The returned soldiers, school children, and Red Cross, headed by the Cowra Brass Band, marched from the Council Chambers to the intersection of Macquarie and Kendall streets, where a halt was called, speeches being, delivered by the Mayor, Shire President, and Rev. Jas. Barr, the latter saying that some time ago he  had said a prayer, “God damn the Kaiser," and his prayer had so far been heard that Wilhelm was seeking a change of climate by way of Holland.”

Three rounds where then fired to honour those who had not returned home.

“A retiring party of returned soldiers, under Lieut. Oonry, fired three rounds in honor of their dead comrades,” the Free Press reported.

This was followed by “The singing of the National Anthem and the playing of “The Marsellaise” by the band concluded a most enthusiastic celebration.

“Rev. Jas. Barr then' made an appeal for funds towards the picnic, which was heartily responded to,” the Free Press reported.

The following Saturday, November 16, the Free Press reported on the celebrations held on November 13 under the headline Huge Peace Picnic A Great Day for the Children.

"You will be entitled to rejoice. The people of this Empire and the Allies have won a great victory, greater than has ever been recorded in history. Let us thank God," -Mr. Lloyd George.

“The sentiments expressed in the above were acted upon by almost the whole of the residents of our district on Wednesday, when "the day" was fittingly celebrated. The people's demonstration took the form of a children's picnic on the showground -and a right merry gathering it |was.

“The day's proceedings opened with a procession in the following order from the Council Chambers: The Mayor (Ald. A. E. Smith) driven in a car by Mr. A. Turner. Cowra Brass Band under Bandmaster Bergin. Returned Soldiers, led by Lieut. Oonry. Members of Red Cross Society. Members of Manchester Unity and Independent Order of Oddfellows. Forty motor vehicles. Fifty other vehicles. Vehicles of a nondescript order drawn by a large draught horse and a scraggy piebald animal, representing the flight of the Kaiser from Berlin driven by Mr. C. Miller. Vehicles drawn by creamy horses. Public and Convent School pupils, numbering over a thousand.

“Arrived at the ground the flag was saluted and all heads bared while the National- Anthem was played by the band. 

“Addresses were then delivered by the Mayor and several others and after cheers for the King, the Allies, and the boys in khaki the large concourse left for various portions of the ground bent on having at least one good day in their lives.

“Sports for the children were then run off under the direction of Messrs Tubman, N. Ryall and others, each event being very keenly contested.

“The work of feeding so many at such short notice was no light one but in the hands of our local caterers the task was easily accomplished, which is a high tribute to their capabilities and resourcefulness.

“The Mayor was secretary to the function and Mr. A. Turner President both of whom, together with the- members of the various committees, are to be heartily congratulated on the completeness of their arrangements.

“The splendid sum of £160 was collected in one day towards defraying the cost of the outing. The surplus is to be given to the Repatriation Fund,” the Free Press reported.

News reaches Woodstock

The news of wars end was met joyfully at Woodstock, according to the Free Press.

“Some of the more enthusiastic of our residents conceived the idea of visiting Woodstock for the purpose of acquainting the residents of that village of the glad tidings. They reached there about 2am, some of the visitors having brass instruments, on which 'they played patriotic airs.

“They were enthusiastically received by the residents, who joined heartily in the demonstration.

“Mrs. HSD Hay caused considerable enthusiasm by singing the stirring French National Anthem “The Marsellaise" from the balcony of her residence,” it was reported.