Hunger March - Perth To Canberra

Mirror (Perth) Saturday 4 October 1930 p. 4. 

Unemployed Strike Rough Time
In Hunger March To Canberra

With blistered and swollen feet and suffering acutely from thirst and heat, the party of 14 unemployed which left Perth on September 17 with the intention of undertaking a "Hunger March" to Canberra, has experienced a rough time. One of their number, in a letter which reached "The Mirror" this week, tells a graphic story of their trip and its hardships.

When 14 members of the unemployed strode away from the Perth Esplanade on September 17 en route for Canberra most people predicted they wouldn't get far. The idea of the men was to undertake what they termed a "Hunger March" all the way to Canberra to impress on the Federal Government the seriousness of the unemployed position. Here is how one of their members describes their experiences:

ZANTHUS (130 Miles from Kalgoorlie)

"We arrived in Kalgoorlie on September 18, and had a good spin so far as food was concerned. We collected about £8 in cash and enough food to carry us about 100 miles. We were guests of the Cremorne Skating Rink and had a good time. The majority of us tore our clothes and had to ask the girls to mend them for us.

"On Monday, September 22, we started off for Karonie, 66 miles from Kalgoorlie, which is a dickens of a long walk per foot. All the trains rushed by and would not give us a chance to hop on!

"We left Karonie on Friday last for the 946 mile camp 37 miles away, and arrived on Saturday morning with blisters the size of half crowns on the soles of our feet.

"We left there for Zanthus on Saturday afternoon and arrived in Zanthus on Monday morning—another 25 miles on—with feet nearly the size of little watermelons. Some men had to


as they were unable to wear boots. The people gave us practically nothing, so we decided to jump the express. When the train came in we were ready, only to find a team of police aboard who threatened to pinch us if we attempted to get on, so we gave the people on the train a speech and asked them for cigarettes and money to enable us to carry on. We collected about £1 and 12 packets of cigarettes and 4 ounces of tobacco (fine cut) and 3 plugs.

"We told the residents we would not starve so it would be advisable to give us food, or we would kill their goats and eat them as we had done in Boulder City.

"Well, we have had a crook spin here, but we can't be worried as they say in the Talkies, and will be start ing out on another 375 miles stretch this week.

"If we had not met some railway men working on the line between Karonie and the 946 mile camp we


as we had run out of water, and they supplied us with some. Then we had to carry two men the last six miles as they could not walk owing to the shortage of water. It's been a terribly rough time."

On their present rate of progress it will be many weeks before the men reach Canberra.

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