William Anderson 1933

William Anderson

Name:  William ANDERSON

Date of Birth:  1 January, 1858

Also Known As: 

Birth Location:  Gibraltar

Age at Burial:  75 years 

Date of Death:  25 June, 1933

Death Location:  Bunbury Hospital, Bunbury, Western Australia

Date of Burial:  25 June, 1933 

Denomination:  7th Day Adventist

Row/Grave:  Row 3, Grave #22 

Grave Transcription:  Unmarked

CDCP Grave Marker: Grave Marker with Plaque, placed by CDCP volunteers,  24 May 2023 (image below).


Thomas Anderson born c.1827, St John’s Parish, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England.  Thomas was working as a miner when, in September 1844, prior to the age of eighteen years, he attested to the Royal Artillery at Tynemouth, Northumberland.  He served for over 31 years, including more than thirteen years abroad in Nova Scotia and Gibraltar.  At the time of his discharge in April 1876, Thomas had attained the rank of 1st Class Master Gunner Royal Artillery and awarded a silver medal for long and meritorious service with an annuity of 10 pound.  A year later Thomas was appointed to the Permanent Staff of the Auxillary Forces, becoming a 1st Class Serjeants Instructor with the Lancashire Artillery Volunteers.  After six years of further service, he was discharged in 1883 with the rank of Acting Serjeant Major.  By 1891 a retired Thomas is residing at 46 Tunstall Street West Derby, Lancashire with wife Emma, daughters Ada and Fanny and son Walter.

Married 27th  April 1855 in St Mary Magdalene Parish Church, Woolwich, Kent, England.


Emma Humphreys baptised 26 June 1831, Billesdon, Leicestershire, England.  England Census records show that Emma has died after the 1891 Census and prior to the 1901 Census, as then Thomas is a Widower and living in the London area with his son John, a Civil Servant, and family.

Grandparents (Father): 

Edward Anderson is recorded as a “Superintendent of Stores” at the time of Thomas’s marriage to Emma.

Grandparents (Mother): 

John Humphreys (1792 – 1870).  He is recorded as a “Butcher” on Emma and Thomas Anderson’s Marriage Certificate.

Mary Il(l)ston (1795 – 1871)


Emma Anderson born 4 May 1856, Gibraltar.

(Names unreadable) Anderson born 19 June 1860, Gibraltar.  Died young.

John Henry Anderson born 15 February 1863, Gosport, Hampshire, England.

Ada Anderson born 4 May 1864, Gosport, Hampshire, England.

Ellen Anderson born 1 March 1866, Southsea / Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.

Fanny Anderson born 4 January 1868, Southsea / Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.

Kate Maude Anderson born 15 January 1870, Aldershot, Hampshire, England.

Walter Thomas Anderson born 25 April 1872, Aldershot, Hampshire, England.

Spouse:   Sarah Jane Coles (30 May 1878 – 24 August 1958)

Married at the Salvation Army Barracks in Bunbury on June 12, 1897.

At the time of her marriage, Sarah Jane is recorded as working as a Servant and living in Bunbury, and not York, her usual place of residence and birthplace; whilst William is a Teacher living and working at Capel.

Sarah Jane (aka Jane) is the eldest child of three daughters and a son, of Charles Coles (1847 – 1891) and Harriet Horton (1852 – 1935).  Her grandparents James and Charlotte (nee Webb) Coles, and Henry and Sarah (nee Green) Horton arrived from England per the Simon Taylor in August 1842, settling in the York area.  James Coles and Henry Horton were listed as Agricultural labourers on the ship’s manifest.                                                            Sarah Jane continued to live and farm at Capel after the death of her husband William.  She died at North Fremantle on 24 August 1958, aged 82 years and was buried in the Seventh Day Adventist area of the Karrakatta Cemetery.


Thomas Henry Anderson, born 17 June 1898, Coolingup (Capel), Western Australia.  Died aged 3 months on 21 September 1898, Coolingup, Western Australia. Buried Capel Cemetery in an unknown grave.

Arthur James (‘Andy’) Anderson, born Capel 5 September 1899, Capel, Western Australia.  Died 8 April 1982, Bunbury, Western Australia.  Buried Bunbury Cemetery in the Seventh Day Adventist portion.

Married Elsie Doreen Dorothy Augustson (1911 – 1999) in 1933 at Bunbury; two daughters borne to their marriage.  Elsie being the daughter of Frank Edward Augustson and Esther Mary Fowler.  Cremated Bunbury, Ashes collected.                                  

Walter William (‘Jungle’) Anderson, born Northam, Western Australia on 15 April 1901.  Died at Bunbury on 4 August 1986.  Buried in the Seventh Day Adventist portion of the Bunbury Cemetery.

Married Muriel Pearl House (1909 – 1985) at Bunbury in 1928; the daughter of Edward James House (1878 – 1970) and Edith Agnes Jaques (c.1883 – 1919).  Muriel’s paternal grandparents Charles and Gertrude Mary (Wright) House, and Great Grandmother Martha (Higgins) House are buried at the Capel Cemetery.

Ernest Charles (‘Gutty’) Anderson, born Northam, Western Australia on 8 March 1903.  Died 14 May 1994, aged 91 years.  Buried in the Capel Cemetery; Anglican C Section, Row 3, Grave #25.

Married Emma Lily Barrett (nee Harrison) in 1924 at Capel; they had a family of three girls and one son together.  Emma was born at Busselton in 1896, to parents Julian Harrison (1871 – 1943) and Eliza Mary Ann Turner (1877 – 1962).  Died 13 March 1990 at Busselton at the age of 93 years.  Buried at the Capel Cemetery alongside her husband Ernest in Grave #26.

George Thomas (‘Podge’) Anderson, born Northam, Western Australia on 2 April 1905.  Died 2 August 1982 at Busselton.  Buried in the Capel Cemetery; Anglican C Section, Row 1, Grave #7.

Married Elsie (Joyce) Johnson (1916 – 2009) at Busselton in 1938; with three girls (including a stillborn twin) and a son resulting from their marriage.  Joyce was born in Lancashire, England to parents Harold Johnson and Louise Ellen Ball.  When Joyce was seven years of age, her family migrated to Western Australia with the Group Settlement Scheme and farmed in Metricup and then Hithergreen.  Buried with George in the Capel Cemetery.

Occupation:  Soldier, Teacher, Roads Board Secretary, Farmer

Military Service:  Yes, enlisted with the Royal Artillery (England); served in India.  Joined the U.S. Cavalry.

Their Story

William Anderson was born in Gibraltar in 1858. He was the son of a career soldier. His father’s name was also William and his mother’s maiden name was Emma Humphreys.

William had 3 sisters and 1 brother. It was family tradition that the oldest boy in the family serve in the British Army, so William attended Officers School. On receiving his commission he went off to India. He eventually became restless and to his parent’s dismay, he resigned his commission and sailed to America to seek adventure. He joined the U.S. Cavalry and fought North American Indians. In one battle he had his horse shot from under him. He had a violent disagreement with a superior officer. He struck the officer and was courtmarshalled, receiving a 9 month sentence. He escaped and was declared a deserter. He was hidden by a Mormon family for some time, before making his way to the coast by hiding in and under trains. He was able to board a ship and make his way back home to England. On his arrival his father declared him a disgrace to the family and to be on the next ship out of port or face the consequences. The next ship was heading to Albany in Western Australia. It isn’t known exactly what year he arrived.

Being an educated man, William decided to take up teaching. He was appointed headmaster at Capel Bridge School in 1895. His salary was £85-10-0 per annum. While teaching at Capel he met Sarah Jane Coles, who came from York but was working in Bunbury. They married in Bunbury on June 12, 1897, William was 39 years old and Sarah 21.

The following are articles regarding the marriage of William and Sarah Jane Anderson.


Article – Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954) Friday 16 July 1897 – Page 36


Article – The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1955) Wednesday 22 September 1897 – Page 3

NOTE – Please continue reading “TO-DAY’S PROCEEDINGS” directly below the highlighted article, as this reports the judgement of the case.

William and Sarah’s first child, Thomas Henry Anderson died in infancy the following year.

Meanwhile it was suggested that since most of the members of the Bunbury District Roads Board came from Capel, future meetings should be held in Capel not Bunbury. The first Capel meeting was held at the school on February 13, 1897 and William Anderson became Secretary. The Capel Bridge School’s name was changed to Coolingup School in September 1897. The existing school building was unsuitable, so the location of the school was moved to the existing location of the Capel Primary School and a new brick school building and residence was built and opened in 1898. William and Sarah’s second child, Arthur was born in the new school house on August 5, 1899.

William resigned as teacher at the Capel school at the end of 1899 and settled on a virgin block, Wellington Location 930, and began farming. He built a cottage on the farm and third son, Walter was born here in 1901.

The Anderson family then moved to Northam, close to Sarah’s family. Ernest and George were both born in Northam.

The cottage in Capel was rented to the Wittfoht family in 1902 – 03. Catherine Wittfoht would live there during the school week while daughters Ida and Mary attended the Capel School and then return to the Wittfoht farm on weekends. This arrangement continued until the Capel River School opened in 1904. Being much closer to the family farm the Wittfoht girls then attended this school.

The Anderson family left Northam and William took a position as Headmaster at Mount Barker School before returning to the farm in Capel.

William was a talented musician and played the cornet at social functions and taught others to play it as well. He played at the initial Anzac service in Capel and for many years after.

While developing his farm, William took on other jobs. He did sleeper cutting and picked fruit for the Wittfoht family. Sarah became the local midwife in Capel for many years. In the 1920’s William bought a property adjoining the Capel townsite. It had been owned by Martin Elvis, who had married Sarah Harris and built a house on the property during World War 1.

William and Sarah’s son Arthur visited his Aunt Maud Hudson (nee Anderson) in Liverpool, England, whilst Arthur was serving in the Army in World War 1. He reported that the family was very “upper class” and had servants and a butler! His Uncle John Anderson had been knighted and was Governor of Bengal for 5 1/2 years from 1932. He avoided assasination three times and became known amongst the locals as “the man they cannot kill.” He also became Lord Waverly and served in Churchill’s 8 man War Cabinet in World War 2 as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He inspired the easily erected Anderson Air Raid Shelters which were credited with saving thousand of lives by protecting the occupants from bomb blasts and overseeing the program of developing the British Atomic Bomb.

William Anderson died on June 25, 1933 and was buried in the Capel Cemetery. His sons, Arthur (Andy), Walter (Jungle), Ernie (Gutty) and George (Podge) lived most of their lives in Capel.

The following was published in the Family Notices of the West Australian newspaper on Wednesday 9 August 1933:

The Wife and Family of the late WILLIAM ANDERSON, of Capel, desire to THANK all kind friends for letters, telegrams, floral tributes and personal expressions of sympathy; especially Dr. Kelly, nurses and staff of Bunbury Hospital, in their recent sad bereavement.  Will kind friends please accept this as the only expression of gratitude.

If you are visiting this page and have further information that pertains to William Anderson that you would like to add, can you please contact the Capel District Cemeteries Project via the CONTACT US section at the bottom of the main page.

Information and Story given by Fiona Ward (great granddaughter) from a life history of William Anderson, written by her father Tom Hutton, from information given to him by William Anderson’s sons.   Research by JG Member of CDCP Team.

© Capel District Cemeteries Project 26/02/24

William Anderson - Plaque
William Anderson - Marker
William Anderson