The End of the War – Swallow and Ariell

‘On Tuesday morning [12 Nov 1918], before 8 o’clock, the 700 girls and 650 men and lads employed at … Swallow and Ariell assembled at the factory – but not to work’. They cheered the King, the Empire, the Allies, and Australia again and again. They then formed a procession with the company’s motor wagons and led by a car they marched to the railway station ‘cheering and singing patriotic songs and carrying quite a forest of flags’. Tins were used as improvised kettle drums.

At the station they awaited the arrival of their Managing Director, F T Derham. Alighting from the train he was pleased to see his people in such a mood for rejoicing. He was received with ringing cheers. Mr Derham was then led through a parting created in the centre of the throng to the awaiting car where the employees insisted on an address.

Mr Derham said it was a great pleasure to join in the felicities of the firm’s employees on the victory of the Allies. It was fitting that the day should be for rejoicing and free of industrial activity. He referred proudly to the large number of employees of the firm who had enlisted and to the war work of the other employees and the ‘bee’ especially. He paid a tribute of reverent respect to the memory of the employees who had made the supreme sacrifice. This was received in profound silence. The National Anthem was sung and cheers were given for Great Britain and the Allies.

Formally dismissed from work for the day by Mr Derham, the employees reformed into processional order and with the motor wagons at their head, they filed in to Bay Street where they paraded up and down singing patriotic songs, including ‘La Marseillaise’ and waving flags. The firm’s horse vans and wagons, with the horses decorated with colours, brought up the rear presenting a fine spectacle for the Port citizens out on Bay Street that morning.

References:

1918 ‘Swallow’s Employees Rejoice.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 16 November, p. 3. , viewed 09 Nov 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88368398

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