War book shows love of country
Bob Woodhouse with some of the war memorabilia left to him by a friend. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

The burst of patriotism in the lyrics to the song We Have Heard The Call sits inside a little booklet about the World War I training camp at Blackboy Hill, Greenmount.

It is followed by a series of rare photos of WA soldiers at the camp training for the rigours of battle.

We are shown the Diggers wearing protective clothing and headgear as they learn to fight.

They are seen doing squats as part of their physical training - the 10th Light Horse reinforcements are shown parading on horseback, signallers hold flags, soldiers learn to throw "bombs" (grenades) and a group of men take a dip in the river near Swan View.

They are also shown how to dig trenches, which would turn out to be possibly one of the most important skills they could acquire for the years of war to come. The booklet forms part of a collection left to Bob Woodhouse, of Willetton, by a friend about 10 years ago.

ANZAC CENTENARY

Swimming near Swan View

We have heard the call of our brothers o'er the sea,
Fighting in the trenches of far Gallipoli;
We are training in the camp and soon you'll hear our tramp,
As off the transport swinging you hear us shout these songs.
Here we are, here we are, here we are again,
Come to do our little bit at the front;
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, no! no! no! no! no!
Australia will be there, Australia will be there.

Titled Blackboy Camp Souvenir and Christmas Book 1915, its cover provides space for anybody wanting to send it as a Christmas gift to fill in their name and the recipient's.

The booklet was issued "under the auspices of the Blackboy Hill Garrison Institute" and compiled by a Sgt-Maj. WM Duns.

It contains lyrics to other verses, too, such as It's a Long Way to West Australia and Right on to Berlin We'll Go.

The back cover is an illustration by well-known WA artist of the time Ben Strange, which shows a Digger clutching a gun and asking: "Won't you come and help us?"

Bob Woodhouse from Willetton has come across a treasure trove of war memorabilia he had kept in a fishing box. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

Other items of historical interest left to Mr Woodhouse include an embroidery sent home from a WWI soldier in Egypt, poem books from the 1930s, a Perth Cup program from 1945 and a football fixture card from 1935.

He got them out of a storage container after reading The West Australian's story about Blackboy Hill.

State Library of WA historian Steve Howell said the library had a copy of the booklet and several other publications by W. Duns.

When at last he reached the shore of Egypt's sunny clime,
Hard at work with pack on back the sand hills he would climb;
He saw old Pharaoh's pyramids, the sphinx and donkey boys,
And when the transports came along you heard this bloomin' noise.
It's a long way to West Australia, it's a long way to go.
It's a long way to West Australia, to the sweetest girl I know;
Goodbye Midland Junction, farewell Perth so fair,
It's a long, long way to West Australia, but my heart's right there.

The West Australian

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