Blackboy Hill

Entrance

Memorial

Memorial Area

At the outbreak of WW1 the government needed a camp to provide basic training for those volunteering for the Army,Blackboy Hill was unoccupied,covered in light scrub and close to the railway in Midland. In the first instance a tented camp was established but this was all but destroyed in a storm so in 1915 a more permanent camp of timber huts with concrete floors was built with the assistance of workers from the Midland Railway Workshops. During the war period some 32,000 volunteers did their training here,one of whom was John Simpson of Gallipoli fame who,as John Simpson Kilpatrick- British Merchant Seaman,had jumped ship in Fremantle and enlisted in the AIF . After the war the camp was used for a time as an isolation Hospital during the Influenza epedemic and then fell into disuse until the depresssion of the 30s when it was occupied by unemployed men,it was not used in WW2;the huts being dismantled and used elsewhere. In the 1950s the West Australian Govt.decided to develop the site for housing,the RSL asked for a site to be set aside for a Memorial to the men who had trained there. Today,apart from the Memorial, there is no trace left of the Camp,the whole area being a housing estate with a school.

 

This Memorial comprises four steel arches in a landscaped area of about half an Hectare in Innimincka Rd.off Gt.Eastern Highway,Greenmount;some five kilometres East of Midland. The apex of the four arches are aligned on the axis of the Sun as it sets every April 24th ( the last sunset before the Gallipoli landing)and represents the spirit that arose amongst the soldiers that trained here,as the afternoon lengthens the shadow from the arches impinges one upon the other until the whole is shaded. The photo on the right above was taken at approximately 4.30pm on April 24th and shows the shadowing in progress. The design was by Ean McDonald,Architect,the site being blessed by the Chaplain General Bishop Tom Reilly and the first sod was turned by the Govener General Sir Charles Gairdener in November 1958. By 1962 sufficient funds had been acquired to commence work, a seat facing the memorial (rear wall can be seen on left in R/H photo) was added in 1964 by the Gallipoli Legion of ANZACS and in 1969 a pine seedling(now a large tree)from Gallipoli supplied by Legacy was planted by Bishop Reilly behind the Gallipoli Legion seat on the same axis as the Memorial. A paved area commemorating soldiers who trained at Blackboy Hill and subsequently won the Victoria Cross is immediately in front of the Memorial,it was donated by the Perth RSL.A sunset service is held from 5.30pm 24th.April followed by a night vigil and dawn Service on Anzac Day. The entrance arch (foreground in L/H photo)was erected in 1989 and contains panels explaining the history of the site with a plan of the Camp as it once was.

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