MANY thanks to the shire gardeners and the Andrijich family from Hoddys Well for the creation of the special garden and Toodyay stone memorial for those killed and injured in the school bus/train crash in 1931.
Although a plaque was held at the school and another near the train station, very few people living in our community today know of this accident, which was one of the town’s greatest tragedies.
It happened on a foggy morning, when the school bus carrying 34 children from the Dewars Pool, Coondle and Culham areas was hit by a train on the level crossing at the corner of Clinton Street (now Piesse Street) and Charcoal Lane.
Five young boys aged six to 14 were killed, many more were injured and those attending this tragedy were witness to the most horrific scenes.
The funerals for these boys were attended by 2000 people, including the school children, and I don’t think we could even begin to imagine the sadness that surrounded this small community at this time.
So it was a very special day for many families who came from far and wide on July 17 to attend the unveiling of the new memorial by Shire CEO Stan Scott.
This was followed by 90-year-old Wally Fawell, whose little brother, six-year-old Allan, died in the accident.
He told a very moving family story of that time and the ceremony finished with a heartfelt prayer and blessing.
In this very peaceful setting, family members laid a wreath in remembrance of eight-year-old Norman Waters and flowers were placed for our mum, and her sister Ruby, who were both among the injured.
Many family stories were then shared over a cuppa and lovely morning tea put on by the CWA ladies.
A very big thank you to Jenny, Margie and Debra for your persistence and hard work to bring this very special day to fruition – it was appreciated by so many.