William Byers Wood: Fifth Mayor of Guildford 1891 – 1892

Entrepreneur, risk taker, mover and shaker. Born 1856 died May 31 1912 aged 56

William Wood was a butcher – his father arrived in the Swan Colony in 1840. The Woods were well known butchers with a shop at 111 James Street, Guildford for over 30 years in the late 19th century.

Woods the Butchers shop in Guildford

They also owned land in central Perth – where Myers department store is now, between Wellington Street and Murray Street.  Today, walking through the Myers departmental store,  the scent of exotic perfumes greets customers.  The fragrance would have been very different when the land was owned by William Byers Wood & Co. , as it was the home of his up-to-date horse and stock sales yards.  In 1895 William sold his property to Messrs H and E Boan of Broken Hill New South Wales, for the princely sum of £7,000.  Boans store was the predecessor to Myers.

A generous man, William Byers Wood of Guildford owned land that he wished to bequeath to the Midland community. He wanted this to be used for recreational purposes. Differences with the Municipal Council ended up in him requesting a nominal settlement sum. We know this area today as the Midland Oval.

The Helena Vale Hotel (renamed the Stockman) was built by William Wood, in Railway Parade Midland.   It was a favourite waterhole for the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) workshop employees.  Unfortunately this hotel burned down in 1996.

Fauntleroy Park, Guildford, another acquisition of W. Byers Wood (Lot 149 and 150), was purchased by William in 1884.  By 1886 the land was used as the Agricultural Show grounds.

Later Charles Davis, a participant at the Agricultural show, found himself in court, accused by W. Byers Wood, of intent to cheat and defraud by means of an unlawful game.  Charles Davis was found guilty. William was not shy in taking people to court if he felt justice needed to be done.

His memory is perpetuated by two street names in Midland – William Street and Byers Road.

At the end of his term in office, Mayor W. B. Wood was berated ‘for a want of care and foresight in financing” His risk taking extended to council matters.