The Town of Mosman Park’s ANZAC Day commemorations this year recalled the extraordinary courage and bravery of one local man, who defied expectations and limitations to bring honour to himself, his family and his nation, thereby setting a wonderful example for residents about what one person – one who some thought not up to the task – can do.
On a warm and sunny autumn day, community members gathered first for the traditional Gunfire Breakfast prepared by volunteers from the Rotary Club of Mosman Park-Cottesloe at the Alf Adams Pavilion, and then stayed for the Commemoration Service co-hosted by the Town of Mosman Park and the Mosman Park Sub-Branch of the RSL at Memorial Park, a fitting venue as it is a war memorial featuring plaques recalling the military service of many from our local district.
One of these plaques recalls the daring and can-do attitude of young James Park Woods, whose heroism was lauded by Mayor Brett Pollock in his speech. Mayor Pollock delighted the crowd with the story of how Private Woods was at first rejected when he tried to enlist – at the time the army recruiters decided he was too short to serve. Despite this setback, “Jimmy” served with great courage, single-handedly holding down a crucial offensive vantage point in one of the fiercest battles of the First World War, holding this position for hours whilst waiting for reinforcements. His courage on that day saw him awarded the Commonwealth’s highest award for bravery, the Victoria Cross, which was personally bestowed upon him by the King in 1919. Mayor Pollock’s speech was well received by the crowd, which included many members of the local deaf community, as this was one of only a few services in Perth translated into Auslan.
The service was led by MC Ben Pronk and featured songs performed by the Mighty Camelot Choir and the Last Post played by local Scout, Alex Kinsey, a student of Shenton College. Wreaths were laid by many community members including Rob Meecham representing the Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC; Dr David Honey MLA, Member for Cottesloe; Mrs Rachel Thomas, President of the Shire of Peppermint Grove; and the Mayor of the Town of Mosman Park as well as Mrs Maxine Coverley, Vice President of the Mosman Park Sub-Branch of the Returned and Services League.
Wreaths were also laid by local school children and community groups including students from Mosman Park Primary School and Iona Presentation College, Mosman Park Community Men’s Shed, St Hilda’s Anglican School Cadet Unit and Mosman Bay Sea Scouts who joined with veterans in the march-past, which once again was led by local legend and war veteran Ken Walker, who cut a dashing figure at 102 years young.
For the first time in many years, the three fountains in Memorial Park were returned to their former glory, having recently been renovated and re-coloured to their originally intended red, white and blue - relfecting the colours of the three branches of the Australian armed services.
Following the service, hundreds of residents, friends and neighbours including the Town’s elected officials Mayor Pollock, Deputy Mayor Johnson, Cr Carey, Cr Ledgerwood and Cr Baird stayed on to enjoy morning tea provided by the Town of Mosman Park, and to enjoy community fellowship, sharing family stories of war and sacrifice, and reflecting upon the meaning of ANZAC Day. Lest We Forget.