Fifth Mayor of Guildford 1891 – 1892
William Wood was born in 1856. He was a butcher by trade, owning a shop for over 30 years at 111 James Street, Guildford.
The Woods family owned land around Midland, and also in Perth at the site where Myers Department Store is currently located, between Wellington and Murray Streets. Here, a horse and stock sales yard called William Byers Wood & Company once flourished. 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 became a shopping institution in Western Australia, eventually selling out to Myers in the 1980’s.
Known as a generous man, William Wood bequeathed land to the Midland Community, stipulating it must be used as a recreation ground. We know this area today as Midland Oval.
Wood also built the Helena Vale Hotel (renamed the Stockman) in Railway Parade Midland. It became a favourite pub for many of the nearby Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) workshop employees. Sadly, the hotel burned down in 1996.
Fauntleroy Park (Lots 149 and 150) Guildford were also acquired by Wood in 1884, Two years later the land was in use as the Agricultural Show grounds.
Wood was never shy about taking people to court if he felt justice should be done. Charles Davis was one example, accused by Wood of intent to cheat and defraud by means of an unlawful game. Davis was found guilty of these charges.
Wood’s term as Mayor of Guildford from 1891 to 1892 was not a happy one. At the end of his time in office, he was berated for want of care and foresight in financing. It seems his risk taking ways also extended to Council matters.
William Byers Wood died at the age of 56, on 31st May 1912. His memory is perpetuated in the district by the naming of two Midland street names, William Street and Byers Road.
Further reading and information