A 'Kangaroo' From The Front Tumut's VC Arrives.
31 October 1919 Adelong and Tumut Express and Tumbarumba Post
A Grand Reception. The Morning's Proceedings. On Wednesday last, prior to the arrival of the train, the town of Tumut was agog with excitement, there being a huge crowd assembled at the Railway Station - the largest mass of people, it has been Said, that the site has seen since the opening of the railway. This eager crowd of spectators was in readiness to pay its respects to our gallant V.C.- Pte John Ryan - when he entered the precincts of his native town.
The cock-a-doodlo-do of the engine was audible in the distances and carried out its rejoicing right up the straight, but as the train drew into the platform amid the ring of cheers and the lively tune of the band, the shrill screech was simply drowned.
Pte Ryan, on alighting, was immediately seized by two of his comrades-in-arms (a body guard of whom were in front of the platform), hoisted shoulder high and conveyed to a decorated motor car. Conspicuously prominent on the forefront of the car was a living image of a kangaroo: for Pte Ryan was one of the noble band of warriors terming themselves ''The Kangaroos,' who enlisted from the Riverina to fight for King and country. A procession was formed up consisting of the Concordia Band, school children, Junior Red Cross, Red Cross ladies and V.A.D's, returned soldiers, and a large number of vehicles, the hero of the hour being escorted through the flag-bedecked streets to the front of the Red Cross rooms in Wynyard-st. Here, the proud holder of the Victoria Cross was once more seized by the Diggers and de- posited on a decorated lorry.
Once more rang out a prolonged rally of applause, re-echoed, as it wore, by the smart salute of recognition by Pte Ryan. On the right hand of the Digger sat his father and on the left his mother, the latter being the recipient of several beautiful bouquets of flowers.
After the singing of the National Anthem, the Mayor rose and publicly welcomed Pte Ryan back to the town and district, saying that the people of Tumut should feel proud that one of our boys came back with the V.C. While in Sydney he had heard it repeatedly asked: 'Where is this Tumut ?' While in a restaurant he had heard the same question asked so many times that he got exasperated and there and then told the people publicly where and what Tumut was, and let them know that it produced boys of the right sort. He was sure that the brother Diggers who had returned would not be jealous of the little extra touch that had been given the reception of one so thoroughly deserving.
Mrs R. M. Thompson, President of the local branch of the Red Cross Society, also added a few words of welcome, expressing her opinion of the great honor Pte Ryan had conferred on the Tumut district and on Australia. It was something for the rising generation to remember in future years. Ald J. Elphick said this was the most illustrious day as far as the returning of our men was concerned. Pte Ryan had acquitted himself in such a way that he is recognised by the world. Proudly the people think of him.
We know that the V.C. is an emblem that everyone cannot win. It has been said that the poor man's son would not be recognised for their deeds, but to-day we have with us the son of a democrat recognised, and it is our duty to do homage to him. He congratulated the parents on the possession of such a worthy son. Pte Ryan, V.C, on rising to respond, was once more greeted with gusts of applause. He said he was indeed pleased to be back in Tumut and thanked all heartily for the splendid reception, especially the school children.
After the singing of 'For He's a Jolly Good Follow' and 'God Save the King,' followed by three lusty cheers for Pte Ryan, three for his parents and three more for the 55th Battalion, the gathering dispersed.