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Blackboy Hill is Calling

Blackboy Hill is Calling, 222 pages, landscape format, paperback, published by Wild Weeds Press in 2015 by the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers' Centre, edited by Dr Joanne Godfrey. Loan copies are available from most state libraries. The first print run sold out, however the KSP Writers' Centre has a small number of copies of the second print run on sale for $50 each. Please contact the office by email for any sales enquiries.

See here to download Teacher's Notes.


Contributing authors: Paul Bridges, Glad McGough, Valerie Everett, Mimma Tornatora, Anne Watkins, Dr Peter Moss, Shannon Coyle (Kayne), Betty Pyke, Claire Gregory, Fay Dease, Mardi May, Sherene Strahan, William Gaynor, and a selection of Year 7 students from Greenmount Primary School.


Project Convenor: Valerie Everett

Article, 19 August 2014, 720 ABC | Article, 21 April 2014, Perth Now

About the book 

In 2015, the Centenary year of Anzac, Greenmount’s Blackboy Hill Training Camp received the long-awaited recognition it deserves as one of Western Australia’s most important historical military sites, with the launch of Blackboy Hill is Calling, a non-profit social/military history documenting a variety of aspects of camp life, in what is the first book about the site.

Since the book launched on Anzac Day in 2015, almost 1,000 copies have been sold.


Project Convenor Valerie Everett says the book is of such interest because it covers a significant part of Western Australia’s history. ‘It needed to be done,’ Everett said of why she began the project. ‘What a travesty it would have been to lose such an important period of our history.’


More than 32,000 recruits went through what was the birthplace of the Australian Imperial Force in Western Australia, including farmers, mechanics, clerks, storemen, bushmen, railway workers. Illegal teenagers lying about their age to be accepted into the camp. Ten of the total twelve West Australian men who were awarded the Victoria Cross trained at Blackboy Hill. The camp also hosted Charles Riley, who was the first Archbishop of Perth; and perhaps the most famous of the stretcher-bearers, John Kirkpatrick Simpson, who became a Gallipoli legend by risking his life to rescue fellow soldiers with the help of donkeys.


Blackboy Hill is Calling is the first comprehensive history of the campsite, researched and written by a group of dedicated volunteers – members of the nearby Katharine Susannah Prichard (KSP) Writers’ Centre, former home of Lieutenant Hugo Throssell VC, a Lighthorseman who also trained at Blackboy Hill.

KSP Writers' Centre is a vibrant hub for writers of all ages and skill levels, and its annual program often includes a large community project for members to get involved with. Blackboy Hill is Calling is one such project. To join KSP, please see here.




Can you with calm, unruffled mien

Peruse the war news daily,

And go about, on business keen,

And take your pleasures gaily?


Your countrymen in hundreds fall

Before Great Britain's foemen

Will you not answer to the call,

You stout Australian yeomen?


For Blackboy Hill is calling, ever calling,

At Gallipoli our boys are falling, falling;

But we'll soon drive out the Turk,

If your duty you don't shirk,

So come and lend a hand, for Blackboy's calling.


A recruiting song

Western Mail 17 September 1915


“This important book should be read by every student in the State.” Western Australia’s Vice President of the RS & L, Mr Denis Connelly

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