THE war was over at last, and everyone wanted to celebrate the end of those long, hard years filled with worry and, too often, sorrow.
In Darlington Point, news of the Armistice was received on Monday, November 11 and barely 48 hours later, at 2pm on November 13, a celebration had been organised and was taking place. We are fortunate that a full record of the event was reported in the Riverine Grazier, and some scenes were captured by the camera of a local resident.
The modern reader may wonder at how quickly the news was spread throughout the district and the speed at which arrangements were made for the celebration, in a time when there were few motor vehicles and even fewer telephones.
The picture comes to mind of horses being quickly mounted, and each ridden full gallop cross-country to the nearest neighbour, to make the exciting news known to all. There was also a lot of ringing of bells and banging of tin vessels; anything to create a great noise and alert everyone within earshot that there was important news.
The celebration began with a procession that assembled by the Murrumbidgee Council Chambers in Carrington Street, the line being over half a mile long (almost one kilometre). Bunting had been erected in the street and decorations adorned the Recreation Hall, which stood about where the butcher shop is now situated.
The procession was led by Police Sergeant Thomas Johnston and his mounted police, followed by returned soldiers riding in a motor vehicle. Next came Shire councillors, executives of the local repatriation committee, members of Red Cross, schoolchildren and others. It was noted at the time that there were no bystanders to enjoy the spectacle, as everyone was taking part in the parade themselves, and taking pleasure in seeing one another there.
It was an event of great spontaneity, and all decorations would have been contrived from whatever was at hand.
Warangesda Mission Station entered a wagon depicting (as the Riverine Grazier described it) “a native camp in the days before Captain Cook planted the Union Jack...”’ This is possibly the vehicle that can be seen on the right in the photograph, adorned with gum tree branches.
After a number of speeches refreshments were provided in the Recreation Hall. Someone had wisely had the foresight to order the hotel opposite to be closed, the occasion being one when emotions might run high. The celebrations continued with an evening social and dancing until the early hours of next morning.