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Walter Williams with his wife, son and grandson at the Hinsby Park War Memorial, ANZAC Day 2009.
A chance conversation with Walter Williams in Hinsby Park.
Walter Williams was named after his uncle Sgt Walter Langley Baxter (AWM Roll of Honour and NAA Service Record) whose name appears on the Annandale War Memorial in Hinsby Park.
Sgt Baxter served in the 18th Battalion which trained in Egypt before landing at ANZAC Cove on 22nd August 1915. Walter Baxter was injured at Gallipoli, and died at Ypres, Belgium on 20th September 1917, aged 24.
BAXTER, WALTER LANGLEY is recorded amongst "Commonwealth War Dead" at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
"Denison", Young St, 25 April 2009 - Photograph Marghanita da Cruz
Circulars were sent to next of kin seeking details regarding the deceased, Sgt Baxter's Roll of Honour Circular records that he had an elder brother who served in the 17th Battalion and that his mother Charlotte Baxter provided the information.
Sgt Baxter's family lived at Fort Denison before moving to Annandale. Sgt Baxter's mother, Charlotte, was rowed ashore to give birth to Walter Williams' mother.
When the family moved to Annandale, Walter's grandfather named their house, in Young St, "Denison". He made the nameplate from scrap ship metal.
Later Walter's parents bought "Denison" and Walter attended Annandale North Public School, where he was Dux of the school.
Walter was part of St Aidan's congregation, who he says were in competition with the Hunter Baillie congregation. However, Walter's wife was from Lakemba, so they were married there.
Walter remembered a Maternity Hospital in Annandale, probably the Queen Victoria Hospital for Women and Babies at 61 Albion St, which is now the Holy Family Convent.
"The Royal Women's Hospital, Paddington and St Margaret's Hospital, as well as Bethesda (a Salvation Army hospital) and the Queen Victoria Hospital, Annandale. From written and verbal accounts by mothers, it appears that there were details of the experience of giving birth to a baby who would be given up for adoption that were not confined to a particular locale or era. Personal accounts of women's experiences revealed..." - Australian Journal of Adoption
There was also a Convent in Collins St Annandale. He also remembers a nail factory in Whites Creek Valley and logs being floated in Rozelle Bay and Whites Creek, which was navigable before it was concreted.
Walter worked for Sydney County Council, who was responsible for electricity in Sydney. He recalls a time, when he was at the picture house (the Royal) and the movie was interrupted for an announcement that his services were required. So, he hopped on the Tram and headed into the city to get the electricity working again. The picture house was next to the Annandale Post Office and has since been demolished - there is a petrol station on the site.
Ersatz Grave, Hinsby Park, 7 May 2009
The war memorial, in Hinsby Park, was opened in 1921. Adjoining the Memorial is a "Plot of Remembrance". This is an "ersatz grave" to allow mourners to remember their dead at a more personal level. - www.warmemorialsnsw.asn.au
Ersatz is a German word meaning "substitute, compensation, amends, drafts reinforcement(mil). Ersatz-battalion (n) drafting battalion" - Collins Deutsch-Englisch English-German Dictionary.
"On 25 April, the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli in 1915, Australians and New Zealanders honour those of our men and women who have served and died in wars, peacekeeping and other operations. It is now 96 years since the landing, and 95 years since Anzac Day was observed for the first time in 1916." - parlinfo.aph.gov.au
Nissen Hut, Wisdom St Annandale. 25 April 2009. Photograph Marghanita da Cruz
The "Nissen Hut" was invented and built as housing for troops in WW1. It's semicircular, corrugated iron shape deflected shrapnel and bomb blast, making it a perfect bomb shelter.-www.nissens.co.uk
There are WW1 memorials in the Annandale Public School, Annandale Neighbourhood Centre (Former Annandale Council Chambers), Hinsby Park, Hunter Baillie Memorial Presbyterian Church WW1 Honour Board (Vestibule of Church), the Leichhardt Presbyterian Church Honor Roll (now located in the Hunter Baillie Memorial Presbyterian Church Vestry), Annandale North Public School and St Aidans. There is also the victory hall behind the former Methodist Church at 81A Johnston Street.
St Aidan's Litany Desk: "On Sunday morning, at St. Aidan's Church of England, Annandale, the Rev. R. Rook de- dicated a Litany desk to soldiers from Annandale who had died in the fighting line. The rames inscribed on the desk are:-Thomas Francis, Henry Preece, Robert Murdon, Selby Stewart, William M'Sparrow, and Lawrence Paul" - 1916 'SOLDIER HEROES.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 27 March, p. 10, viewed 6 March, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15660950
More about Annandale, its people and the Great War in Annandale's Great War: A Short Walk and at 1916-1930 - End of the Great War and Swinging 20s
This page www.ramin.com.au/annandale/story-25-april-2009.shtml last Updated: 25 August 2015.