City stands to hear of news of war, pictures, video

News of war reaching Bendigo in 1914


MORE than 70 people turned out to the Bendigo Town Hall to relive the moment the city found out Australia was at war exactly 100 years ago. 

The streets were lined with vintage cars, a marching band played while a paperboy handed out special copies of the Bendigo Advertiser from August 6, 1914.  

The declaration was communicated through a telegram, which was announced to the city, by Bendigo's mayor of the day, played by City of Greater Bendigo councillor Rod Fyffe. 

Organiser Chris Earl said he was pleased with the number of people who turned out to watch the re-enactment. 

"It was great to see so many in our community come out at lunch time to begin the opening bookmark four years of commemoration and remembrance but importantly to rediscover, learn and show our respects to the stories of those original Anzacs - the people who shaped our community and shaped our nation," he said. 

He said people had come together with the same spirit of goodwill seen of the streets of Bendigo a century ago.

"Australia, 100 years ago, was still a very young nation and still very much apart of British Empire," he said.  

"The nation at the time felt that their duty was to Great Britain, to the king, to the empire, to the country." 

Councillor Fyffe said the re-enactment gave people the chance to experience what it was like to hear the news of the declaration of WWI. 

"What we wanted to do was to bring out, not only the importance of the occasion itself, but to place it in historical context," he said. 

"I think as these events roll out more and more people will come along, and I am sure when we get to 2018 - celebrating the end of the war - it will be a huge occasion."

Bendigo RSL president Cliff Richards said it was essential the city commemorated a century since war was the start of World War I. 

"What a fabulous crowd to turn out and my guess is that a lot of these people would of had grandfathers or great grandfathers during the Gallipoli campaign or during the First World War. How magic is it," he said. 

Bendigo Historical Society member Barbara Poustie said most men were eager to enlist after hearing about the war. 

"They had to wait because the enlistment forms had not got (to Bendigo) yet. A lot of them all rushed because it was going to be a great adventure and they thought it was going to be all over by Christmas," she said. 

"None of them could foresee that it would be four years." 

Ms Poustie said she had watched, on television, the re-enactment of the first shot fired by the British allied forces during World War I at Point Nepean and said she was glad Bendigo had commemorated the event. 


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