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Toodyay War Commemorations

Lest we forget

Published:
Wednesday, 30 June, 2021 - 16:13

The Toodyay Returned Soldiers Association formed in late 1918 or early 1919.

The ninth and final Welcome Home event, organised by the Toodyay Soldiers’ Welcome Home Committee, was held on November 26, 1919 in the Toodyay Town Hall. Over 500 people attended.

The following year the Toodyay Honour Board (a wooden tablet with brass plates), commemorating the sacrifice of WW1 soldiers, was unveiled at the Town Hall.

Toodyay 1914 - 1919 Roll of Honor

In 1921 the Toodyay War Memorial was constructed. A decision was made to erect a stone obelisk rather than build an operating theatre in the local hospital. The funds for the obelisk were raised by public subscription.

Also that year a war trophy arrived - a German Machine Gun captured by the 10th Light Horse Regiment in Palestine – which was placed at the front of the Toodyay Road Board Chambers.

(In 1937 this trophy came to be considered ‘a doubtful ornament’ and it was banished to the back of the building. No further information on the gun is available but it is assumed it left Toodyay in the early 1940s after military authorities requisitioned war trophies to be melted down for use in WW2 armaments.)

ANZAC ceremony at Toodyay 1923

The above compilation of three individual images shows an ANZAC ceremony being held at the Toodyay War Memorial in around 1930.

In 1932 this memorial was upgraded with additional plaques and trees were planted in the surrounding park. In 1948 it was proposed a Toodyay District Honour Roll for WW2 soldiers be made and this was finally unveiled in the Toodyay Town Hall in 1954.

Money was being raised by the RSL for a new hall. By 1955, however, a decision was made to divert this money to partially fund the extension of the existing Town Hall auditorium including a new stage and an additional room at the back. The upgraded hall was renamed the Toodyay Memorial Hall.

Toodyay Memorial Hall foyer
Toodyay Memorial Hall interior

In 1964 a new street created beside the Toodyay Memorial Park (as a result of the realignment of the new standard gauge railway line) was named Anzac Terrace. Further landscaping improvements at the Memorial Park were carried out in 1971, 1983, and 2017.

In 1988 Commonwealth funding was received as part of Bi-centennial celebrations and the memorial itself was upgraded. A platform and low walls around the obelisk made from local stone were installed. Additional plaques commemorating those who had served during WW2 and the Vietnam War were erected.

Acknowledgements: Photos of the 1914/19 Toodyay WW1 honor board and interior of the Toodyay Memorial Hall were also supplied to and used on the Places of Pride, National Register of War Memorials website maitained by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra: https://placesofpride.awm.gov.au/memorials/251106