Discovery of 100-year-old honour board sheds light on Maylands’ Druids

Frank Pola. Picture: Will Russell
Frank Pola. Picture: Will Russell

A COMMUNITY group will unveil a board thought to be one-of-a-kind in Australia, honouring Maylands members of the United Ancient Order of the Druids who served in World War I.

The 100-year-old honour board, which has been in storage for many years, features a 400mm replica shell and names of members of the Maylands branch of United Ancient Order of the Druids and the battles they served during WWI.

Maylands Historical and Peninsula Association president Deborah Chinnery said the board was displayed at the old Druids hall on Caledonian Avenue, now the base for the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows.

Historical association founder Frank Greenslade recognised the historical significance and kept the board about 20 years ago when the Odd Fellows took over the hall and stored it at Halliday House, where it then ended up in the City’s storage facility.

Last year the storage facility was transformed into the Bayswater Community Men’s Shed, where historical association and men’s shed member Frank Pola spotted it among a pile of things piled on top, set to be thrown out.

“It was a little bit worse for wear so the men’s shed decided to spend a bit of time on it, fixing it up,” Ms Chinnery said.

“Frank has researched into the board itself and is unaware of anything else like it in Australia.

“It’s so confronting when you see the size of it, it just alerts you to the damage and absolute destruction of war.”

Ms Chinnery said Mr Pola, Bob Corby and John McLennan have spent time researching the histories of the people listed on the board; Druids were typically secretive.

“(The Druids) have actually done so much for the community, he said if we hadn’t found the board, we would never had known the extent of what these people did for other people, particularly for widows,” she said.

She said one person they researched was 17-year-old William Frederick Devine, a Maylands shop assistant who was part of the Druids group.

He was a bugler in the Australian military and was shot in the wrist in France, and did not regain use of his hand.

The honour board now hangs on the wall in the historical association’s base at the old Maylands Police Station and will be unveiled as part of an Anzac Day service.

The service starts at 8.30am at the Maylands war cenotaph and the board will be unveiled afterwards in the old police station.