September 12, 2016
Maclagan’s unique history was celebrated by hundreds of former residents and visitors at the “Bismarck To Maclagan” Day held in the town on Saturday.
The town’s population at least tripled for the celebration of the centenary of the change of name which occurred during a bout of patriotic fervour – and perhaps, economic necessity – during the Great War.
After all, less than a year after almost 9000 Australian troops died fighting the Kaiser (or at least his allies) on the shores of Gallipoli, no one wanted to be seen celebrating a German hero, Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck, who is credited with creating a united Germany.
And Mt Bismarck butter, complete with a stencil sketch of the Chancellor on their crates, was being greeted coolly in export markets abroad.
Far better to celebrate an Australian Gallipoli hero, Ewen George Sinclair-Maclagan, who was in command of the 3rd Brigade 1st Division AIF when it landed at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915, and later fought in France at Pozières and Mouquet Farm.
So the good citizens, many of whom were of German descent themselves, successfully petitioned the Governor-in-Council to change the town’s name.
On Saturday, a bygone era was recalled with schoolchildren and Maclagan residents dressed in period costume.
A large parade – featuring horses, cattle, old tractors and farming equipment, as well as an interesting collection of cars – traversed a cleared farming paddock at the rear of the Maclagan Memorial Hall.
A large crowd lining the fence greeted the parade participants as they went by.
- Related article: Maclagan Recalls The Day Life Changed
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Maclagan Centenary Parade
[Click on photos to expand]