In Moonlight – 28 April 1915

Glenda Cloughley
First page of the musical score for <em>In Moonlight</em> from <cite>A Passion for Peace</cite> About A Passion for Peace

In April 2015, Glenda Cloughley’s new choral drama A Passion for Peace gave a big Canberra citizens’ voice to the same love of harmony that drew 1300 women together from 12 warring and neutral nations for the only international peace conference of the First World War. Forgotten by military historians but influential and prescient of all the 20th century’s great advances in international human rights law, the 1915 International Congress of Women took place in The Hague during the same week as the Anzac forces' Gallipoli landings.

The 90-minute work is a passion in the same sense as Christians’ traditional Easter passions –– showing how human love, imagination and wisdom can be strong enough to bring renewal, even from the midst of appalling destruction and suffering.

Canberra’s A Chorus of Women presented the world premiere season of A Passion for Peace in Albert Hall for the Congress centenary. With musical direction by Johanna McBride, the Passion cast and production team included some of Canberra’s finest soloists and instrumentalists, a 50-strong Chorus of Women, Arawang Primary School Choir in the role of Children’s Chorus, and the voice and rap beats of Canberra-grown producer-singer-songwriter Danny Pratt.

The Passion season was the centrepiece of a five-day Festival for Peace, also organised by A Chorus of Women. The production was supported financially by: the ACT Arts Fund; the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture; the New Zealand High Commission; the embassies of Belgium, Denmark, the European Union, Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden; and numerous generous citizens of Canberra.

The Children’s Chorus move at full tilt to Danny Pratt's Morse beat

The Children’s Chorus move at full tilt to Danny Pratt's Morse beat in The Telegram Rap, A Passion for Peace, April 2015

About ‘In Moonlight – 28 April 1915’

This excerpt from the Passion libretto is set on 28 April 1915, the first night of the Congress. Beginning in moonlit country surrounding the two-year-old city of Canberra – a habitat of the Powerful Owl – the poetry opens into a worldwide view as the full moon flies around the Earth. Gallipoli, France, Belgium, the south coast of England and the Dutch capital are all illuminated on the way to the Chorus of Women’s dramatic voicing of the first Congress resolution.

The excerpt includes the names of 24 soldiers who enlisted from the Canberra region, and quotations from the Gallipoli diary of George Cloughley, Glenda’s grandfather from the beautiful town of Riverton on the south coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Note on Text and Layout

Unvoiced words in the text are singers’ roles and stage directions (shown in italic script), and place and song names (bold text).

In Moonlight – 28 April 1915

Storytellers Trio

28th of April
The round earth is wrapt
in the spell of a huge moon …

Powerful Owl calls


Where Molonglo River
crosses the plain
People round Canberra
hear Powerful Owl call

Canberra Ngambri
Ngunnawal country

Here, where an ideal city is planned
Traumatime stories engraved in the land
Here, where an ideal city could rise
New names enlist on Traumatime’s roll

Individual chorus women call each Canberra soldier’s name as though from a dream

Edwin Oldfield… Charlie Lee… Frank Cotter… Billy Clark… Wilf Monk… Stan O’Grady… Len Brownsmith… Henry Buckpitt… Michael McMahon… Michael Scannell… Ernie and George McLaughlin… Charlie and Ernie Mayo… Charles Campbell… Bill Carney… Mack Southwell… Tom Maxwell… Ernie Murray… Jack Cregan… The Chaplain Frederick Ward… Andy Cunningham… Walter Moore… Jack Webb


The frosted ground sparkles
dusted in silver
Two-year-old city
with men gone to war
Trees breathing quiet
Round hills silent
Only Owl’s call

Powerful Owl calls, continuing

in the soft nest of night
Oracle bird
singing of change
Dark song piercing
stone and bone

Owl falls silent

Storytellers and Women’s Chorus

28th of April
High in the sky
The full moon’s gone sailing


At Gallipoli moon floats in the night
spreads silver shrouds over beaches and hills
where three thousand bodies of young men lie still

Women’s Chorus

These are the three thousand three-day-old dead
Young Turks and Anzacs gone to war
Sons, brothers, husbands who will come home no more


After his first day up Shrapnel Gully
caught among corpses of men and mules
a lad from Service Corps our 20-year-old Grandad
on a hill above the lines lifts his gaze to the sky

There in the moonlight
this dreamer and singer
confines in his journal confides to his grandkids
the noises he’ll hear the rest of his years

Already in his ears that Traumatime music!
Trying to pour out of his head …

The Young Grandfather

Vibrating shocks! Shrieking shells!
Shouts and cries! Pounding dread!
Down in that gully sharp snipers’ crack
Whistling bullets criss-cross the dead

Where shrapnel rips water
there at the Cove blood on the beach…

falling into reverie

… The beach is bathed in light
like the sea at home …
so far away yet almost here


And now westward and north
the quiet moon flies
covers battle-worn Belgium
in silver and black

fills mirrors of water all over France
lakes and rivers ponds and streams
with tranquil illusion of beauty and peace

And over the Channel bright sleeve of sea
women are waiting one hundred and eighty
Passports cancelled because it’s said

The very official English voice of Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, Chief Permit Officer

‘There’s much inconvenience
in holding large meetings of political character
so close to the seat of war.’


They’re still listening for news of permits to travel
Listening for news of a Netherlands ferry …

Women’s Chorus

… Now, we women …

The opening bars of Resolution One sing softly at a distance


Can they hear the women singing?
Can they hear the women bringing
their longing their grief
to the moonlit Hague?

Music swelling mightily in full Congress session

Performing ‘In Moonlight: 28 April 1915’

Performing ‘In Moonlight: 28 April 1915’ in A Passion for Peace

Robin Dalton, The Young Grandfather at Gallipoli, with Storytellers (from left) Glenda Cloughley, Maartje Sevenster and Judith Clingan
(Photo by Peter Hislop used with permission)

Resolution One
Chorus of Women led by Jane Addams

Now, we women
in international congress assembled
protest against the madness and horror of war
involving as it does
the reckless sacrifice of human life
and the destruction of so much –– so much
that humanity has labored through centuries
to build up


1. An April 2015 premiere season live performance recording of Resolution One can be viewed at

2. A Passion for Peace was live webcast and an entire performance, including ‘In Moonlight’, can be viewed via

3. Glenda’s Centennial Fanfare ‘We Women are a WILPF’, recorded by A Chorus of Women, can be viewed as broadcast into the 2015 Centennial Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in The Hague at