Tommy Roads Updated August 2019

Research by Gordon Freegard

Last updated August 2019

William Roads was born at Yankalilla, South Australia on the 23rd July 1863. On the 19th May 1884 he married Mary Ann Mills also from Yankalilla. Mary Ann was born on the 25th April 1864. William was a typical Roads – only about five feet six inches tall, of stocky build and with brown eyes. Before he was very old, another typical family similarity developed; he became hard of hearing. In his later years he had to carry “a little black box” into which his children had to speak (or shout) to make him hear. Thomas Roads was the first son for William and Mary Ann Roads. He was born on 18th February 1889 and baptised on the 25th July 1889 in Christ Church, Yankalilla on the same day as his sister Fanny. With the discovery of gold in Western Australia they were tempted to move to the glamour State. So in 1903 they pulled up roots and took their young family of then, six young children to Western Australia. Thomas, then a strong boy of fourteen when his parents went to Western Australia.


His father bought eightysix acres of land at Walliston, about twelve miles east of Perth, which he named “Wissanger”. The property was on the left hand side of Canning Road, near the intersection of Grove Road, just past Lesmurdie. On this land Tommy shared with his father the initial hard work of clearing and establishing an orchard. They planted apples, apricots and plums, and also developed an extensive poultry run and goat herd, and the inevitable pen of pigs. In this way the family was basically self supporting until the trees began to bear fruit. The orchard and farm prospered. Fruit and eggs were gathered and packed to be sent by rail to the markets in Perth. It was a real family enterprise with everyone playing some part in the production or packing.

William died on the 30th August 1936 and is buried at Karrakatta Cemetary, Perth, Western Australia. His wife Mary Ann died 9 years earlier on the 20th September 1927.

Tommy’s second eldest sister Fanny, married Sydney Rootes in Perth in 1907. Syd spent all his working life with the Darling Range District Council. In 1909 he was appointed Foreman and held the position for twentytwo years. When he retired in September 1931 he received a gold medal for his work and service to the District. Richard, the first born of twins, was born on the 16th November 1906 at Walliston. As the older brothers and sisters married and left home, Richard gradually took over more of the responsibility for the farm and orchard, and by the time his mother died, Richard was his father’s “right hand man”. On the 29th December 1929 he married Vera Caldow at Walliston. He bought a home and settled not far from “Wissanger”. After his father sold the orchard, Richard worked for a few years with the District Council, and in the Second World War enlisted in the R.A.A.F. At the end of the war he was for two and a half years manager of the Swan Brewery and later, Supervisor for the York District Council until he retired..


On 5th September 1914 Thomas married sixteen year old Mabel Maude March Truran in Perth. Mabel was born in Geraldton on the 30th October 1898, daughter of Emily Annie Truran. Conditions were harsh and Thomas and Mabel worked hard and long to establish themselves and provide for a family of twelve children. They settle at Pickering Brook in a small corrugated iron clad cottage, on the Weston property, that had no running water or electricity. Tommy was a always a keen gardener and soon established a large vegetable and flower garden as seen in the picture below. Mabel was an expert dressmaker and made all the children’s clothes. They were immaculately dressed but as times got harder and the family increased, it was more difficult to maintain that standard.

Thomas began working for Frank Weston, cutting and carting firewood for the city dwellers – who at that time, all had to depend upon wood fires for cooking and heat. Felling and cutting timber was strenuous work; they only had the most primitive tools, axe, mall and cross cut saw. When the timber was cut it was hand loaded on to drays and taken to the railyards at Pickering Brook and transferred into rail trucks, again by hand. Frank Weston eventually had enough, so Tommy Roads carried on the business himself, and in the end he was forced to retire with a strained heart.

About 1927 when Marchettis took over the Weston property Tommy and Mabel Roads with their seven children, moved to a small wooden cottage on Pickering Brook Road just past the original Pickering Brook Store and across the road from the Pickering Brook Station. It was one of four or five cottages that ran from the shop east to what is now Weston Road. Tommy manage to do light work at the Smailes and Weston’s Sawmill that operated for a short time right across the road from where he lived. He was in charge of removing the sawdust. The Roads cottage site can be found by a huge “Irish Strawberry Tree” planted by Tommy Roads in about 1890 and still growing strong today, 120 years later. It has been listed as a local Heritage Site and is marked by a plague.

Tommy did not find life very kind – apart from the physical struggle to survive, he had greater sorrow when Mabel died on the 5th January 1939, only forty-one years old. She had twelve children in twenty-three years, the last only two months before she died. Mabel was another victim of the early years which were so devastating for women. The very harsh and primitive conditions broke many a mother’s heart. Mabel’s eldest daughter Sylvia, said “she died worn out both in body and spirit.

Tommy was a regular visitor to the Kalamunda Hotel and was well known by the local Locomotive Drivers and staff on the railway to Pickering Brook. The story is told that they would blow the whistle just prior the leaving Kalamunda thus giving Tommy time to stop drinking, gather his weeks supplies from the Hotel and jump on the train. On an occasion when Tommy’s favourite horse was ill, it made its way to the well near the house where it laid down and died being as close to its respected master as it could get. Laurel cared for her father for many years of his retirement in the old cottage on Pickering Brook Road. Tommy surprisingly lived to reach eighty-one years, and died in Santrilla Hospital on the 2nd October 1970. At that time he was Grandfather to 33 and Great Grandfather to 16 children. He and Mabel are buried at Karrakatta.

Sylvia born 6th August 1916 at Nurse Beadon’s Private Hospital, 10 Smith Street, East Perth. At eighteen years old she married Charles Kelly from Barton’s Mill on 5th December 1934. Four children from this marriage; Raymond Charles (Died June 2019), Thomas William (Died 15th March 2008), Leslie Colin (Died 12th October 2000) and Colleen Margaret. Second marriage was to John Chandler Smith on the 2nd November 1962. John, who was born in Glasgow Scotland on the 19th November 1910, was a past member of the 28th Battalion and the 24th Anti/Tank Company died on the 2nd July 1974. Slyvia reminisces of the times she would walk to the Pickering Brook Store to make a small purchase, only to find the owner, Alice Beard, merrily playing the piano in a room in the house that adjoined the shop. They had to wait for her to finish before attracting her attention to be served. Sylvia longed to have her own piano and to be able to learn to play like Alice because she was such a good player. Sylvia lives alone in Victoria Park at 95 years old (2011) and is quite a music buff. She has a huge well used record collection and she gives the old gramophone a real workout. Twice weekly she walks to the shops and the local music shop owner drives her home.

Myrtle born 2nd September 1917 in East Perth, died 4th February 1988 in Pickering Brook. Married William John Edward McCorkill 3rd July 1937 who was kindly known by the family as “Ompa”. Two children from this marriage; David and Kathleen Maude. Myrtle and her husband worked an orchard property that was immediately behind the school. McCorkill Road was named after the family. The Pickering Brook Sports Club paid tribute to her upon her death describing her as a fine lady, Life Member and a dedicated worker of the club.

Mavis born 17th August 1919 at Nurse Beadon’s Private Hospital, 10 Smith Street, East Perth, died 7th December 1964. Married Walter Edward Heydon (Ted) Davey 8th July 1944. Ted was born on the 10th May 1916. Three children from this marriage; Graeme, Patricia Maude and Frederick. They had a small orchard property on Pickering Brook Road, just past the school. She operated the local Telephone Exchange and a school Tuckshop from the front room of their house. Mavis was a foundation member of the Pickering Brook R.S.L. Sub-branch and Women’s Auxiliary. Was Captain and Associate of the Pickering Brook Sports Club Golf Association. At the time of her unfortunate death she was Vice President of the Pickering Brook Sports Club and member of the Pickering Brook Ladies Night Tennis Club. She was described as a tireless worker for the club. Mavis was murdered in 1964 by a young orchard worker employed by them. Tommy Trantom was charged and convicted of her murder.

Walter Thomas William born 9th December 1920 in Pickering Brook, died 21st January 1963. Married Winifred Hope Stirk 10th September 1941. Winifred was born on the 11th January 1924, died on the 25th November 1992 in Royal Perth Hospital. Four children from this marriage; Michael Walter, Terrance Ernest, Jennifer Jayne and Jane Maree.

Mabel born 25th August 1924 in Pickering Brook. Married Alfred Lloyd Neck on the 16th November 1948. Alfred was born on the 1st June 1910 and died on the 31st July 1986 in Carlisle. One child from this marriage; Ross. Alfred died July 1976.

MABEL 1948c #48

Richard Sydney Arthur born 4th January 1927 in Pickering Brook, nicknamed “Dusty” died 23rd February 1994 in Royal Perth Hospital. Married Thelma Jean Wilkinson 19th September 1946. Thelma was born on the 14th May 1928. Four children from this marriage; Kenneth George, Ronald Frank, Dennis Sydney and Shelley Elizabeth. Kenneth was killed in 1978.

Colin born 3rd August 1930 in Pickering Brook, died 3rd January 1980 in Royal Perth Hospital. Married Thelma Doreen Smith 23rd January 1953. Thelma was born on the 14th May 1932. Four children from this marriage; Merralyn, Colleen, Jeffrey and Vicki.


Kenneth (Twin) born 10th September 1932 in Pickering Brook. Married Jeanette Anne Walters 1951. Anne was born on the 21st March 1934. Five children from this marriage; Judy, Alan, Raymond, Steven and Michael.

Florence (Florrie) (Twin) born 10th September 1932 in Pickering Brook. Married Alan James Chapman 12th September 1953 in Victoria Park. Two children from this marriage; Brian John,and Paul Thomas.

Douglas Bernard born 27th September 1935 in Pickering Brook. Married Gail Patricia Anderson 30th July 1960 in Victoria Park. Gail was born on the 29th April 1941. Four children from this marriage; Karen Debbie, Tammy Gay, Nola Patricia and Trevor Douglas. Died aged 75 years old at St. John of Gods Hospital, Subiaco on 24th November 2010.


Laurel born 28th November 1938 in Pickering Brook. Married Bruno Gava 12th September 1959. Bruno was born on the 19th May 1934. Two children from this marriage; John Frederick and Walter Thomas. After leaving school Laurel (nicknamed “chook”) operated the Telephone Exchange at her sister Mavis’ house, for eight years until she married Bruno Gava. During his time courting Laurel, Bruno would borrow the family ute so he could take her to the pictures at Roleystone. He had to take turns on borrowing the ute with his brother, so it was every second week. Laurel lives in Pickering Brook on part of the original Weston property. One of her sons, Wally lives next door with his wife Katherine and their two children, Luke and Olivia. Her other son, John lives at Jane Brook, with his wife Donna and their three children, Kayla, Shannon and Megan.

Every endeavour has been made to accurately record the details however if you would like to provide additional images and/or newer information we are pleased to update the details on this site. Please click here to email us at We appreciate your involvement in recording the history of our area.

Reference:                Article:     Pickering Brook Heritage Group
                                                     Roads Across the Oceans, Doug Roads-Maschmedt

                                   Images:     1, 2, 3, 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 27, 28, 30, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52 Kalamunda & Districts Historical Society
                                                     5, 6, Roads Across the Oceans, Doug Roads-Maschmedt
                                                     7, 8, 9, 16, 17, 21, 22, 24, 25, 29, 32, 34, 35, 39, 41, 54, 55, 56, 61 Sylvia Smith
                                                    15, 18, 23, 26, 31 Pickering Brook Heritage Group
                                                    19, 20 Gordon Freegard
                                                    33, 37, 40, 53, 57, 58, 59, 60 Laurel Gava
                                                    36 Ross Herbert