23. Charlie Wandi (d.1959), Salvation Army soldier
Charlie Wandi was an Aboriginal boy who was found as a small child beside the body of his mother who had died from snakebite. The group of men who found the boy in the desert region were surveyors for the laying of railway track between Kalgoorlie and South Australia.
As a young boy, Charlie Wandi was fostered by a family in Narrogin. He became a soldier in the Salvation Army in Narrogin in 1909 and later moved to Midland Junction. He was a drummer in the Salvation Army Band with the Midland Corps for many decades. He eventually lived in Darlington, where he carved model aeroplanes and boomerangs for children in the area. After Charlie died in 1959, Salvationists throughout Western Australia contributed to placing the headstone on his grave at Karrakatta Cemetery.
A migrant from England in the 1960s was moved with the stories about Charlie Wandi and wrote this tribute: “And in peaceful Karrakatta, out there in the Golden West, a little stone bears Charlie’s name, crossed drumsticks and Army crest.”