Mr Bill ’Cobar’ Williams

In 1914 Bill signed up to join the Australian Infantry Forces in World War 1. Bill had to raise his age because he wasn’t old enough to officially join up.

Bill Williams prior to WW1
Bill Williams prior to WW1

When Bill was overseas he was captured after being shot in the knee and shoulder. Bill Williams was the only original ANZAC from Murrin Bridge Station and he had spent 4 1/2 years with the AIF. For the last seven months he was a prisoner of war, where he went for five days without food.

They washed and scrubbed at his skin until it bled; it was as if they hadn’t seen a coloured man before.

When Bill returned from the war he went back to Carowra Tank (Keewong Country). He met Elizabeth (Lizzy) Broughton and had three children: Bill, Henry and Pansy. After the third child Bill and Lizzy married in Condobolin and went on to have six more children.

In 1933 Bill, Lizzy and their children were moved from Carowra Tank, by the Aboriginal Protection Board, in sheep trucks or by train to the Menindee Mission. While living on the Mission they lost a son and daughter to sickness. Their son Henry had polio, and was crippled, so he was sent to the Royal Far West home for children in Sydney.

The family never saw or heard from him again. Their daughter Pansy was taken away at the age of 11 years to work at Black Gate Station.

Bill, Lizzy and their remaining children lived on the Menindee Mission until the new Mission was built at Murrin Bridge in 1949. At this time they were sent back to Murrin Bridge.

Bill worked at Trida Station until he became sick. He returned to Murrin Bridge where he was put into hospital at Lake Cargelligo. Bill died in the hospital at the age of 83.

Bill ‘Cobar’ Williams
Bill ‘Cobar’ Williams

The Williams family want to recognise the courage of their grandfather Bill “Cobar” Williams for being a true Aboriginal ANZAC, fighting in World War 1. A man to be proud of and his family and descendants recognise his life.

Mr Bill Williams pictured with some of the Murrain Bridge schoolchildren. His grand daughter Geraldine is on the right.
Mr Bill Williams pictured with some of the Murrain Bridge schoolchildren. His granddaughter Geraldine is on the right.
From the book Menindee’s Unsung Aboriginal Heroes, Menindee Central School.