PROBABLY every town in rural WA has a war memorial of some sort, generally with a Roll of Honour containing a list of the locals who enlisted in Australia’s armed forces, originally those from WWI, but most have continued to add names as other conflicts arose.
The Williams one is unusual for, apart from the large number of names, it has two clergymen listed, although further examination shows that it is because Williams was the base for the Bush Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood was established on July 11, 1911, at Williams to service the surrounding areas, 52,000km2 in total, with two of their number enlisting during WWI.
Padre Arthur Ernest White joined the Brotherhood in 1911 and in 1916, enlisted in the army and was posted to France, where his bravery was noted by the troops.
He returned to Australia in 1918 and in 1923, when visiting Albany on Anzac Day, he and 20 others climbed Mt Clarence before dawn, and as the sun rose, recited the Ode:
“As the sun rises and goeth down, we shall remember them”.
The first Anzac Day dawn service.
Local Williams businesswoman, Heather Rose, has grandfathers on both sides of the family who served in Europe during WWI, so four years ago, the family decided to visit the battlefields in France and Belgium where they fought.
Eventually 24 members of the extended family travelled to Europe and with their own bus and guide, not only examined the areas where they fought, but became fascinated by the history of that era.
As a result, mostly from the urging of daughter Miranda Woodhouse, now with her own marketing company “Moo Marketing”, they decided to erect a display in their business premises, the Williams Woolshed, to mark the centenary of the landing at Gallipoli.
Using her experience gained while working for the Royal Agricultural Society of WA, Miranda organised the material for the prime display as well as helping with the outside display on the main road through Williams.
This consists of silhouettes of the 123 men from the area who enlisted in WWI, with crosses being placed on the 25 who failed to return as well as another showing a digger being farewelled by his wife and children as he left for the war.
The inside resembles a typical dugout on the lines, with posters and photographs around the external walls telling the history of that conflict, from the assassinations in Sarajevo in 1914 through to the armistice in 1918.