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Contingent of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force marching near Circular Quay, Sydney

Date: 16 January 1915
Medium: Emulsion on glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Glass plate negative
Object No: 00024586
Place Manufactured:Circular Quay

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    Description
    This photograph depicts a contingent of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force marching from disembarkation at Circular Quay on their way to Victoria Barracks in Paddington, Sydney on 16 January 1915. 'The Australasian' reported that they were returning from New Guinea, had disembarked at Circular Quay and marched up George Street to the Town Hall, Liverpool Street and Oxford Street before finally arriving at Victoria Barracks. The troops comprised a small volunteer force of about 2,000 men, whose purpose was to seize and destroy German wireless stations in German New Guinea.
    SignificanceThe Samuel J Hood photographic collection records an extensive range of maritime activity on Sydney Harbour, including sail and steam ships, crew portraits, crews at work, ship interiors, stevedores loading and unloading cargo, port scenes, pleasure boats and harbourside social activities from the 1890s through to the 1950s. They are also highly competent artistic studies and views - Hood was regarded as an important figure in early Australian photojournalism. Hood’s maritime photographs are one of the most significant collections of such work in Australia.
    HistoryOn 18 August 1914, a contingent of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) marched through Sydney for final embarkation at Circular Quay. Fourteen days after Britain declared war on Germany, the ANMEF contingent made their way through streets flooded with tens of thousands of well-wishers. It would be the start of many marches to come throughout the war, and one of the many photographer Samuel J Hood captured with his Folmer and Schwing Graflex camera.

    The ANMEF was a small volunteer force which comprised eight companies of infantry, 500 naval reservists and time-expired Royal Navy seamen drawn from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Their mission was to seize and destroy German wireless stations in German New Guinea.

    True to its dramatic style of reporting, 'The Sydney Morning Herald' gave its account of the day, beginning with: ‘The Empire is engaged in the greatest struggle in its history.’ That morning, before the contingent left camp in Moore Park, State Commandant Colonel Wallack reportedly addressed the men, he was ‘sure they would do their duty nobly and return to Australia with honour’. People crowded the streets cheering as the ‘khaki column’, led by military bands, marched along Randwick Road (now known as Anzac Parade), Oxford Street, College Street passed St Mary’s Cathedral, up Macquarie Street and finally to Fort Macquarie, where the Sydney Opera House now stands.

    As with many of the marches to come, newspapers vividly described how ‘every window and balcony was packed with sightseers, waving flags and kerchiefs’, cheers and music filled the air, miniature Union Jacks and Australian flags were stuck in rifle barrels and ‘gleaming bayonets’ shone in the sun as the bands played ‘Advance Australia Fair’. Hood’s photographs were published in Melbourne’s 'The Australasian'.

    As the troops boarded ferries leaving their loved ones ‘weeping on the shore’, the Governor Sir Gerald Strickland arrived at the scene as the crowd of 30,000 strong began singing ‘God Save the King’. Waving and whistling to those left ashore, the men of the ANMEF departed the Fort for Cockatoo Island where troopship HMAT BERRIMA was docked.

    HMAT BERRIMA departed Sydney the following afternoon, 19 August 1914, and the troops returned on 16 January 1915. Hood was again present to capture their disembarkation at Circular Quay, five months after their grand departure. Though their mission in German New Guinea was Britain’s first successful military campaign of the war, it also signalled Australia’s first casualties (six died, four injured) in what was to become the country’s bloodiest conflict. In addition to the men killed and injured during the mission, the loss of Australia’s first submarine HMAS AE1 and 35 crew on 14 September further tarnished the German New Guinea campaign and marked the RAN’s first major tragedy.

    Source: Nicole Cama, 'The ‘triumphant procession’ of the ANMEF', 18 August 2014, http://anmm.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/the-triumphant-procession/
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: STREET MARCH IN CITY BY AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS

    Web title: Contingent of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force marching near Circular Quay, Sydney

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