From Here They Marched
THE MITCHAM AIF CAMP, LOCATED IN WHAT IS NOW THE ADELAIDE SUBURB OF COLONEL LIGHT GARDENS, WAS THE TRAINING GROUND FOR THOUSANDS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIAN VOLUNTEERS WHO ENLISTED TO FIGHT FOR THE AIF IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR.
The camp, opened in bare paddocks in early 1915 after earlier camps had proved inadequate, overcame significant early difficulties to become what was proudly claimed to be ‘the model camp for the Commonwealth’.
From Here They Marched tells the story of the camp and how men from all walks of civilian life were brought together and prepared for the discipline of military life and for war.
It shows how the military authorities approached the task of also meeting the physical and social needs of as many as 4400 men at a time, all newly away from their home and families, and facing an uncertain future.
The surviving memories of those who passed through the camp, newspaper reports, the few remaining documents from the camp, and contemporary photographs are used to bring this vibrant, ever changing community of men to life.
The part played by other military training camps in and near Adelaide which were used for short periods during the war is also described. This includes the Morphettville and Ascot Park/Oaklands camps where the men of the earliest contingents did their training before taking part in the landings at Gallipoli.
Mitcham camp is an important part of the historic landscape of Adelaide, and the final chapter presents a case for the preservation of the memory of the camp in Colonel Light Gardens.