How The Recorder covered the armistice in 1918

Below is a story published in The Recorder on November 12, 1918, after the signing of the armistice. At the time, The Recorder was published daily and frequently carried updates from the war. 



There were exciting scenes last night in the streets of Port Pirie, such as had never been witnessed in them previously. 

All day the people were in a perfect simmer, due to the fact that news was expected at any hour of the signing of the armistice by Germany. 

There were a few bold enough to give expression to the belief that it might be a few days before peace was made but the indications were too clear to establish such an opinion.

The crowds began to gather in the streets soon after tea. The chief centre was in Ellen Street, opposite The Recorder office, where some thousands collected to celebrate the glad tidings. 

It was a joyous, orderly crowd, well provided with lungs, with which they were continuously demonstrating. 

Songs and cheers alternated, as the abbreviated contents of cablegrams which came to hand from our Melbourne office were given to the people. The announcement that the Kaiser had abdicated was greeted with rousing cheers, followed by the heartiest groans for the individual.

The Crown Prince, now no longer heir to the throne of Germany, came in for a share of public disapprobation, marked by lusty groans.


The crowd was greatest shortly before midnight. There was a perfect sea of upturned faces right across Ellen street, to the opposite footpath. It was a "sea"' on which there was no "wave of discontent." There was a smile on every face, developing in cases into the "broadest of grins." And almost, every throat joined in unison to sing the songs. 

By the time the people had livened up that war early in the evening, too it was considered high time to produce some instrumental music to place the singing on "regular" lines.

Our townsman, Mr Wiedeman, was equal to the emergency. He placed his piano in his trolly and brought it to The Recorder office, in front of which the demonstration was continued fill after the hour of going to press. 

There was no difficulty in obtaining accompanists and Miss Kellett and Mrs. H. R. Neale officiated during the evening. 

It was quite a patriotic budget, of songs that was forthcoming. The National Anthem and the Doxology were prominent in the impromptu program.

"Tipperary," after a long absence from official programs, was revived, and was sung with infinite pathos. Other songs projected from the temporary stage and spiritedly rendered were Rule Britannia. Sons of the Sea, The Anzacs, Fighting Navy, Australia will be There, When the Boys Come Home, Yankee Doodle, the Marseillaise, The Long Trail, and others. The most popular of songs were frequently repeated. 

But the vocalists were not allowed to have everything their own way. As stated, cheers followed every song. Our boys at the front must have felt their ears tingle, so often were they remembered. The Allies were frequently cheered to the echos whilst England, Canada, America, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy, etc., were not overlooked. And when the crowds had cheered almost every conceivable thing on earth, except, Germany and her Allies, they turned their attention to The Recorder office, and "demonstrated" frequently in its favor.


It was long after midnight when the rollicking, laughing, singing crowd decided to waken up the silly people, or, at least, those whom they regarded as silly, in other parts of the town, and try to infect them with some of the exuberance of spirit which filled them with joy. Rev. Father McEvoy got up on the trolly, and after a few words of congratulation he suggested the procession. 

And the people were just in the humor for anything of the kind. Sleep seemed to be some abstract thing which they desired to put away from their thoughts. 

So motor cars were requisitioned, and the lorry with its piano and its load of vocalists and instrumentalists and procession set out on its march down Ellen Street, into Norman street, thence into Florence street back into Ellen street, to the front of The Recorder office.


Whilst the people jubilated the mechanical instruments which were to have been requisitioned to send abroad the "gladdest of glad" news, were strangely silent. 

It was not until after midnight that the whistles at the Smelters works sent forth the shrill but welcome notes of joy. The delayed political message, which had been promised from Adelaide, was long in coming. 

If the people had waited for that announcement before giving expression to their joy, there would have been a considerable amount of grumbling. It was not until after 1 o'clock this morning that the Mayor Mr A. B. Forgan and councillors, who were waiting rather impatiently at the Town Hall, after the meeting, received an "official" intimation from the Premier that the armistice had been signed.

It was then about time to go home and prepare for the "official demonstration," which will take place at 12 noon today in Ellen street, opposite the Town Hall. 

The band will be there. There will he short speeches, a couple of resolutions, and some singing. It is expected that a great crowd will be present, and the people will no doubt give further proof of their great joy.


If the photographer was about last night he could have obtained plenty of matter for some highly interesting films. The blue jackets from the gunboat Protector, which has been in the harbor now for many days, were much in evidence during the jubilation. 

They brought with them the gunboat's mascot, a line specimen of the bulldog, which was hoisted aloft on the piano. It remained there during the greater part of the proceedings, it seemingly impassive yet interested spectator of the great moving spectacle.

 It was a perfect symbol of Empire, and as such the animal was regarded. Another scene of a different nature was quietly enacted. 

It had few spectators, but it was eloquent of the great tragedy through which the world has passed. 

A mother, bereaved of some dear one who had fallen in action in defence of the liberty which the world has just, regained, was completely prostrated by the evidences of joy around her. She was overcome by the thoughts of the one she had lost yet the feelings of sadness were no doubt tinged with pride, at the knowledge that "someone" had died in the performance of his duty. 

One of the sights of the evening was the number and variety of small flags displayed.