Anzac Day at ANZAC Cottage
By Anne Chapple, Secretary, Friends of ANZAC Cottage Inc
ANZAC Cottage is located in a suburban street in Mount Hawthorn, Western Australia. Except for its history, it could just blend quietly into the background.
This pretty little house was built in one day in 1916 as a memorial to those who had fought at Gallipoli, many of whom were still fighting overseas at the time. The community that built the cottage had a second purpose in mind – as a home for Private John Porter who had been in the Gallipoli campaign and had suffered life-changing wounds as a result. Private Porter and his family lived there until the late 1960s.
Every year, the Friends of ANZAC Cottage Inc hold a very special community-based Anzac Day Service at the cottage at ‘the going down of the sun’ on Anzac Day. Because of its location, it is the last one conducted each year on the Australian mainland.
This year saw a welcome return to the Service with COVID having caused the last two to be cancelled. Bronwyn Williams, Director of Mental and Social Health Programs at DVA, presented a medal to Alan Williams (no relation) – the youngest son of Sergeant Ivor Williams who married Private Porter’s youngest daughter Marjorie in 1945.
Sergeant Williams, a member of the 2/43 Battalion, sadly passed away in 1986 at the age of 63. Because of his early demise he missed out on receiving the Australian Service Medal with the South West Medal Clasp. This was discovered when son John instigated some research into Ivor’s service on the landmark occasion of his wife Marjorie’s 100th birthday in January 2021.
When Alan received the medal on his late father’ s behalf, the opening words of his moving response were: ‘You would have loved my Dad – everybody did.’
The Friends of ANZAC Cottage Inc and the Williams family in particular wish to thank DVA for the presentation of the medal and for caring for both Ivor and Marjorie in their post-service life.
Alan Williams on the day he received his father's medal
Marjorie Porter and Sgt Ivor Williams at ANZAC Cottage on the day the became engaged