The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
The Editor's Bivvy
From General Sir W.R. Birdwood we have received the following letter, dated from Headquarters,
Australian Imperial Force, B.E.F., France:
Thank you very much for sending me a copy of your publication 'The Kia Ora Coo-ee', which I am very pleased to have received. You are indeed 10 be congratulated on such an excellent publication, which will be read with interest by people in Australia and New Zealand, and our boys here, who are naturally always interested in the doings of their old comrades in Palestine. I only wish we could be all together again as in Egypt and Gallipoli, but as that is impossible, we look forward to receiving any news from Egypt, and in this respect your journal will always be welcomed. With my kind regards and good wishes,
(signed) W.R. Birdwood.
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The December issue of the Maga will be the final number, and we hope that all our contributors will do their "possible" and help us to make it the best of the series. The number of pages will be increased, so that plenty of bright articles, stories and sketches will be required to fill them. In order, to allow poets and other to turn out extra quality work, and get it to our bivvy in good time, the Maga will be published on about the 20th., instead of the 15th., of the month
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"The Road to Palestine and Other Verses" is the title of a collection of "Gerardy's" verses, to be published by the Australian Authors Agency, Melbourne. A few of the poems included have appeared in the "K.O.C." The volume, which is sure to be in great demand, will appear before the end of this year. We have long wished to include "Gerardy" in "Our Contributors" gallery, but have been unable to obtain a good photograph of him, so we give a brief biography here, sans portrait.
No. 307 Trooper E. Gerard, A.L.H., was born on May 22nd., 1891, in South Australia. During his infancy, his parents shifted camp to Western Australia, and "Gerardy" passed most of his boyhood on the Golden Mile. Leaving his studies at the age of 16, he served for three years with a coaphmaker and signwriter; then, considering himself a capable tradesman, he tried his hand at mining, and cultivated a taste in scribbling and versifying. He contributed various matter to West-Australian publications, including the "Kalgoorlie Sun". But twelve months' hard toil underground proved sufficent to satisfy his liking for gold-mining. Always sure of a living with the brush, "Gerardy" wandered around the different States of Australia, and gradually drifted into journalism. Previous to the outbreak of war, he followed press-work in Sydney, but a good deal of his spare time was spent in writing and destroying faulty poems. "Gerardy" easily escaped marriage, and joined the Light Horse early in January, 1915. He arrived on Gallipoli with his Regiment towards the end of August, 1915—a time when most established Anzacs were lavishly reproaching newcomers for not being on the job a little sooner. "Gerardy" has taken a fairly active part in most operations east of Kantara; and although he is rather young and inexperienced to have accomplished much in the literary line before enlisting, his war-verse, some of which has appeared in the "Bulletin", is admired by most Light Horsemen. "Gerardy" has done some valuable fatigue work for his Regiment, but he periodically becomes depressed. During such times, he speaks forlornly of his nativeland, and his intention of remaining abroad for the purpose of taking up an abandonded redoubt area in the heart of Sinai, where unbroken solitude abounds. Occasionally he forgets himself and recites at Field concerts; but he usually knows enough to give the Billjim audience the stuff that it requires. His chief enemies are the wastepaper basket, cold contempt and editorial stupidity; but he is determined to grind out unbroken miles of verse until something definitely cuts him short.
"Gerardy" uses several other pen-names under topical contributions. He has versified almost every incident of importance during the Egyptian campaign.
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"A Light Horseman's Sister", in averypleasant letter, shows how the folks at Home regard the "K.O.C." "Representative of a number of readers of your unique, well written magazine (she says), I am writing our oft expressed appreciation of the 'Kia Ora Coo-ee'. Your articles bring us into intimate touch with the life 'out there'. Ever since our boys' departure, we have striven, by letters, books and photographs, to keep them cognisant of all changes in their individual world of interest here in Aussie. They have, in like manner, first initiated and than endeavoured to familiarise us with the life and customs that form their new environment. But it was all so new that our conceptions of the Light Horseman's trials and joys, hopes and—-yes—fears, have been distorted and inaccurate. The 'Kia Ora Coo-ee' has corrected the inaccuracies and dispel ed distortions. Now, after reading the fourth issue, we feel we know our boys' lives. A few weeks ago I was relating some of the incidents from April and May issues to a returned Light Horseman. How his eves glistened as he recalled scenes akin to those I described! What a fund of reminiscences I tapped!"