Remembrance Day & Dedication Service

Sunday the 11th November 2012 was a special day for Pickering Brook in more ways than one. Firstly it was the first Remembrance Day since the opening of the new Pickering Brook War Memorial, and secondly was the official Dedication Service of the War Memorial. The Pickering Brook Heritage Group combined all this with a major Open Day of the Heritage Park. Blessed with magnificent weather for the day it proved to be a very special day. More than 150 local residents and visitors arrived prior to the 11 O’clock service which was ablely conducted by Stephen Lamont. Numbers were boosted by the arrival of a bus load of quests from the Mandurah/Murray National Servicemen’s Association and another bus load of local Scouts led by Bill Burrows.

The morning Remembrance Day Service was to be followed later in the day at 2.00 p.m. by a Dedication Service for the new War Memorial.

The scene was set for a moving service with “one minute’s silence” observed at 11 O’clock.


Frances Lamont recited a Poem “NEW GENERATION VETERANS”

We honour our old Veterans, we honour them with pride
and of all the horrors they have carried deep inside.
We know they served in Asia or New Guinea’s highland rains,
Vietnam or in Africa where many men were slain.

We know that fateful landing on Gallipoli’s dark shore,
wherever Aussies fought, we know there are so many more,
but now a new young generation needs our help as well,
they too have been to war and suffer with their private hell.

Though losses are not classed as great, their fears are just the same,
those electronic hidden bombs, still injure, kill or maim.
They fight against an enemy they find so hard to see
who mingle in the market place, then cause much tragedy.

Insurgents in Afghanistan hide in the rough terrain
or roaming in Iraq, where, wearing robes they look the same.
The suicide stealth bombers, don’t care who they hurt or kill,
Then, with their own beliefs, they try to break our forces will.

I know on ANZAC day, we all remember with a tear,
but all vets young and old, they need our help throughout the year.
support and listen to their stories, when they do get told,
lets honour our new veterans both young and old.

Shirly Mooney's Speech

My name is Shirly Mooney, ex member of the Royal Australian Army Corp. ARA. My ancestor, William Locke Drake-Brockman and his family, complete with servants and animals, arrived in the Swan River Settlement with Captain Stirling and took up land grant No.9 in the Swan Valley and surrounding areas. My family has served in the defence of Australia in every area of War since troops were sent to Africa to take part in the Boer Wars 1 and 2, WW1, WW11, BECOF, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, Peace Time ARA, Timor, Solomon Islands, Rwanda, and other peace keeping. At present time some family members are serving in Afghanistan. I am proud to say both men and women of my family enlisted and served in all branches of the armed forces.

As Australia prepares to commemorate the centenary of WW1 and the landing on Gallipoli Beach, it is time to reflect on the sacrifices and courage of the Nation since Australian Independence on 26th January 1901, when an Act of British Parliment enacted The Australian Constitution. The men and women served their King and Queen with distinction. Some 300,000 served overseas during 1914/1918. Those who were unable to fight, kept the farms and industry going. The wives, mothers and other women put on pants and pulled on the boots of their men, and turned their hands to farming, and doing labouring jobs in factories. They answered the call wherever they were needed. Many of whom had never done a hard days work in their life but rose to the occasion demanded of them.

There are many areas of Military History to choose from on occasions like this. Today I have chosen to recognise some of the gallant women of this district.

Sister Agnes M. Tait, born 1891 – died 20th June 1955

Miss Tait was a shy reserved lady, who became a Music Teacher, against the wishes of her family. She commenced her general nursing training at Perth Public Hospital, where she showed great talent and devotion to duty. At the outbreak of War in 1914, having completed her nursing training, she joined the Australian Army Nursing Service and served in Egypt. This was followed by time in Casualty Clearing Stations (CCS), in France and later in Europe and England. For the last two years of the War she served on Red Cross Hospital Ships bringing home the wounded servicemen back to Australia.


After WW1 she then completed her Midwifery Training at King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women in Subiaco, where she was invited to become a staff member. Sometime later she was invited to become the Matron of a home for delinquent boys. This being one of the disadvantages of war, children growing up without a male presence in there life. This position she held for some years. Her father Captain Tait retired and the family moved from Carmel to Kalamunda. Miss Tait lived in the family home caring for her mother, and answering many calls from local people for nursing help which came from many areas in the district. She became assistant to Dr. Barber at Kalamunda. Miss Tait died on the 19th July 1950 aged 90 years. Miss Tait always gave credit to the Military for her confidence in caring for civilian folk. She loved her time as a soldier, the hardships the nurses endured, the camaraderie they all enjoyed and the many years of friendships that followed. She was very reluctant to talk about her service and looked upon it as a job she was able to do, many say with great devotion. May she rest in peace.

Miss Edith Harler.

Miss Harler is seldom mentioned on occasion as this was a WW11 veteran. A courageous Military Nurse, who served in many areas, in particular New Guinea on The Ridge. Here she was pinned down with the men, when the Japanese Army was Advancing down the Kokoda Track. They were pinned down for many hours until Reinforcements could reach them from lower down the track. Here she served the wounded as best she could. Miss Harler went on to become the Matron of the Government School of Nursing W.A. In 1951 she was commissioned to the Rank of Lt. Col. Became Matron of 11 RAANC Karrakatta A CMF Unit. It is said that those who were fortunate enough to do their Nursing Training under her supervision, most certainly knew their subject well and were well fitted for any occasion likely to present themselves as a nurses carer.

Sister Jeannie O’Neil.

During the Occupation of Japan in 1946, Australia staffed a Combined Services Hospital in Kure. In 1951 Korea broke out and the Nurses in Japan were needed for the wounded in Korea. One of these Nurses was Jeannie O’Neil. Sister O’Neil worked long hard hours. Conditions in Korea were very difficult, with the summers being very hot and snow in the winter. The terrain was impossible to get Ambulances in close enough to evacuate the wounded. Many had to be brought down the hills on Flying Foxes rigged up or carried down on stretchers. Frost Bite was a huge problem . The men were made medically stable and then flown over to Japan for treatment and Hospitalization. Sister O’Neil remained in the RAANC, and was one of the first to be posted to Vietman during 1962/1972, to run the Australian Hospital at Nui Dat. Wounded were brought in by RAAF IROQUOIS 9 Sqn. Pilots who were their saviour of many wounded men who risked their own lives to get the wounded out. Sister O’Neil trained the SASR Medics for the task of caring for the wounded in the field. Many of her procedures are still carried out in current Peace Keeping Troop. Miss O’Neil passed away 4/5 years ago in Brisbane. She enjoyed her retirement breeding pigs.

Captain Carol Vaughan-Evans.

Medical Officer to SASR in 1995. Dr. Evans was deployed with a Peace Keeping force to Rwanda. Other personnel and infantry were present during a massacre at Kibeho. They risked their lives trying to help the wounded. They don’t talk about what they witnessed in the name of Peace.


Australia has women in Afghanistan at this time, doing many tasks that I don’t even understand. But I do know that female Nurses will always be a big part of any Military Action. They will always do what they can for the Civilian population when the shooting stops, and will always share their rations.


Harry Dickerson

It would be remiss of me not to mention Harry Dickerson who served as a trooper in the 89th Colonial Force. In 1915 on the 7th September he enlisted in the Australian Army at Blackboy Hill. He embarked per the “Magnolia” on 22nd November 1915. He was wounded in action on the 2nd July 1919 and returned to Australia on board the “Oxfordshire” on the 4th August 1919. He served in the 3rd Machine Gun Battalion, 12th Reinforcement 10th Light Horse. Harry Dickerson was an Aboriginal woodcutter from Pickering Brook. His date of birth was 1883. He had two brothers who served in WW1.

James Dickerson.

Trooper James Dickerson was born in 1884, enlisted in 1914 and embarked for Gallipoli in 1915 aboard “HMAT Surada”. Was wounded, and died at sea on a hospital ship returning to Australia. He was buried at sea 50 miles west of Cape Matapan. His name is recorded at Lone Pine, Turkey. He served with the 10th Light Horse.

Samuel Charles Dickerson.

Born in 1892 Samuel embarked from Fremantle in 1916 per Medic. He served in the 28th Battalion AIF. Disembarked at Alexandria in 1916 and served in France. Killed in action in 29th 1916. His name is recorded on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France.


It is impossible to mention all facets of war and commemorate all things that happen, good and bad. For me my memories of those I helped and comforted will stay with me forever. Those I prepared for burial I leave to the Padres.

The Navy, Army and Air Force had Nurses and Women in many areas of service. Each and everyone deserves the gratitude of our Nation, we already have it from our service men.

Thank you for inviting me to witness the dedication of this wonderful Memorial. Those that it is for, would be so very proud of their district and those who live here.

Lest we forget or Who dares Wins.

Laying Of Wreaths

Presentation Of The Ode

Presentation Of The Ode

Visitors and General Views

The President of the Pickering Brook Heritage Group, Beverley Giumelli thanked everyone for attending this special day and made particular mention to the following people for their help involved in making this a very memorable day.

Stephen Lamont for his excellent effort as MC for the event.

Mr. Bill Gaynor, State President Western Australian RSL Association

Members of the Mandurah/Murray National Serviceman’s Association

Guest Speaker Mrs Shirly Mooney

Mr. Gerry Hemy

Reverend Father McMahon

Bill Burrows and his Scout Troop

Flagraising Boys; Hayden Della Franca & Joseph Hardman

A special Thank You and Presentation was extended to Trevor Beard and Stephen Della Franca for the contribution to the earthworks connected with the War Memorial.

Thanks was also given to all the volunteers that worked so hard on the day doing the catering.

The President heaped praise upon her Committee of 12 members devoted to maintaining and preserving the rich history of this area. “When you have a Committee of 12 and 12 turn up regularly at Committee Meetings, that shows the dedication of these local people. These are a great group of hard working individuals.”


References; Article: Pickering Brook Heritage Group

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9. 11, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 Gordon Freegard
5, 10, 12, 16, 17, 25, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47 Warwick Hemy