Thousands of Dunedin people will march in the footsteps of
their forefathers, as the city gears up for the first major
World War 1 centenary event in September.
In the first significant event for the people of Otago and
Southland after the declaration of war on August 4, 1914,
1700 troops left Dunedin Railway Station on September 22 on
their way to Port Chalmers to board a troop ship bound for
The men, 1100 of whom were in the Otago Infantry Regiment,
with a further 600 in the Otago Mounted Rifles, had camped at
Tahuna Park and Forbury Park for six weeks of training.
More than a year of intense planning will come to fruition
when the centenary of Embarkation Day is commemorated on
September 28 with a series of events based around a parade
from the Oval to the Railway Station at 11am.
Chair of the embarkation commemoration committee Prof John
Broughton said the parade was the city's major World War 1
centenary event for this year.
The embarkations were ''hugely important'' occasions, with
many involving parades and bands, and drew large crowds, Prof
''Our commemoration will also be a huge event - the parade
will be led by brass and pipe bands and will include vintage
vehicles, horse-drawn vehicles and people in historic
dress,'' he said.
''The public will be welcome to take part, perhaps carrying
photographs or medals, or can simply be there as
The parade will be followed by an Edwardian market in the
area next to Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, with stallholders
asked to dress up and sell antiques and crafts with an
Edwardian period theme.
The day's events will start with a memorial run from Tahuna
Park to the Oval at 9.30am, and schools, sports clubs,
community organisations and workplaces are all welcome to
''We are making this a whole family day, so we want everyone
to come along and take part,'' Prof Broughton said.
An embarkation commemoration service will be held at St
Paul's Cathedral on September 21.
The Dunedin City Council's World War 100 committee, chaired
by Mayor Dave Cull, is planning a city-wide event for each of
the next four years. Future events will include the
centenaries of Anzac Day in April 2015, the second battle of
the Somme in 2016, and Passchendaele in 2017.