Ugly truth re­vealed

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - FRONT PAGE - Matt Zis

THEY called them­selves the Ugly Men and like our na­tion’s war vet­er­ans from the past 100 years, they too have very good rea­son to be re­mem­bered this Sun­day.

The Ugly Men’s As­so­ci­a­tion was, in many re­spects, a pre­cur­sor to wel­fare and sup­port or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Legacy and Sol­dier On, pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance to our first re­turned ser­vice­men.

South Perth Ugly Men’s As­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers built houses for men who had re­turned from war and held ac­tiv­i­ties to raise money for war wid­ows.

A tiny house built for Wil­liam Miller Kirk at 49 Ar­ling­ton Av­enue, South Perth, was im­mor­talised in a 1918 pho­to­graph as their first job com­pleted.

While the house has since been re­placed, the pho­to­graph will be part of a mem­o­ra­bilia dis­play at Sun­day’s South Perth Re­mem­brance Day ser­vice.

The as­so­ci­a­tion’s name came from their role in a pop­u­lar fundrais­ing ac­tiv­ity of the time.

“At fundrais­ing func­tions, par­tic­i­pants would pur­chase tick­ets, which would al­low them to cast a vote for the ‘ugli­est man’ in the South Perth district,” his­to­rian Bill Glee­son said.

“It was a show of sol­i­dar­ity with the wounded and dis­fig­ured men who re­ferred to them­selves as Stump­ies and Win­gies as a re­sult of los­ing an arm or leg dur­ing World War I.”

d487674 Pic­ture: David Baylis

South Perth RSL Sub-Branch pres­i­dent Justin Re­gan and his­to­rian Bill Glee­son.

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