Friends of Westgarthtown recently launched their documentary “Westgarthtown and World War One”. This documentary juxtaposes the treatment of citizens of German descent living in Westgarthtown with the experiences of their relatives who were fighting and dying for Australia during World War One. Almost 70 descendants of the German settlers of Westgarthtown fought on all battlefronts; some being decorated, others losing their lives, whilst others returned to Australia. Back at Westgarthtown, their relatives were viewed by their neighbours with suspicion. Instead of seeing fellow citizens some saw the enemy.
Shortly after the beginning of World War One, soldiers from the nearby Broadmeadows army camp regularly trained in the Thomastown area, including Westgarthtown. George Wuchatsh’s 9th Light Horse Regiment rode along German Lane (now Gardenia Road) and he visited Wuchatsch’s Farmhouse, then owned by his uncle Charles Wuchatsch. Regimental Sergeant Major George Wuchatsch was awarded a Military Medal for bravery in the Middle East in 1918.
Mr. Andrew Giles member for Scullin officially launched the documentary. He later posted on his Facebook page “ Today I was honoured to launch a fantastic video, telling important stories about the experiences of the German-Australians of Germantown (now Thomastown and Lalor).
Leon Borrack, John Fry and the Friends of Westgarthtown have done a wonderful job, bringing contemporary resonance to their film.”
The project was funded under the Australian Government's Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program.
View the film here
Source: Whitttesea Cultural Heritage Program 2016
Andrew Giles MP Facebook page May 1 2016