More than just a street name

The service of those who fought for Australia during WW1 and WW2 is at the forefront at The Glades estate in Byford.

Streets in the estate are named after soldiers from the Serpentine-Jarrahdale area and lead to an ANZAC memorial park, where thousands gathered for ANZAC commemorations last week.

Thousands gathered for the 2019 Byford dawn service. Photo: Ric Giblett.

One of the streets, Hanretty Rd, is named after Thomas Percival Hanretty, otherwise known as Percy, who served for Australia during WW1.

Brenda Young, from Kardinya, is Percy Hanretty’s second great-niece and said she must have met him at a young age.

Thomas Percival (Percy) Hanretty. Photo: Brenda Young.

“I don’t remember Uncle Percy but I must have met him because he lived with my grandparents and I was raised in my early years by my grandmother and grandfather because my mum had to work,” she said.

Before going off to war with his brother Ray, Percy worked as a timber mill hand.

Postcard Percy sent to his sister. Supplied: Brenda Young.

“Percy was in the 28th Battalion and he left on the 12th of January 1916 and returned on the 21st of January 1919,” Mrs Young said.

“Two years after the war, doctors removed a German bullet from his back.”

Thomas Percival Hanretty’s service record. Supplied: Brenda Young.

Mrs Young’s grandmother was the family historian and wrote stories of what family members, including Percy, got up to.

“My grandmother always drilled us and made history of family a very important thing to hold, cherish and pass on to others, to pass on to the family,” she said.

Below Mrs Young reads out some of these stories her grandmother had written about her second great-uncle.

Brenda Young reads about a time Percy’s clothes were taken as he swam. Video: Steven Thomas.
Brenda Young reads another story revealing Percy’s humorous side. Video: Steven Thomas.

Former president of the Serpentine-Jarrahdale RSL Ric Giblett said prior to the memorial park opening in time for the ANZAC centenary, the area lacked a tribute for those who served.

“There was nothing substantial in the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale that you could call memorial park,” he said.

The memorial park features a wall with the names of 320 local servicemen previously hidden on honour boards around the area, and a life-sized statue of a horse and Australian soldier.

Reefs from recent ANZAC Day commemorations line the memorial wall. Photo: Steven Thomas.

Mr Giblett said the public have embraced the local tribute.

“It has become an entity in the area and a lot of people are quite happy, especially in Serpentine-Jarrahdale, that it’s there,” he said.

Percy’s surname is one of many who grace the street signs surrounding Byford’s ANZAC memorial park. Photo: Steven Thomas.

Brenda Young said her second great-uncle would be really honoured some of those who served have streets named after them.

“I think it’s a very nice tribute to these people who went out and had to do terrible things so we could live how we are today,” she said.

“There should be more of it.”

The Glades developers LWP said while there are no further plans to name more streets after soldiers, they could revisit the idea as the housing estate expands.

Ric Giblett explains the process of finalising the memorial park and surrounding street names. Video: Steven Thomas.