The Memorial Built by the Community in One Day
Back to ANZAC Cottage
ANZAC Cottage, the first World War I war memorial to be built in Western Australia, is a shining example of how community spirit can enable imaginative projects to succeed and illustrates the respect and honour held by those “back home” for those who fought in the Gallipoli campaign. The project to erect the Cottage was initiated by the Mount Hawthorn Progress Association in December 1915: “Mount Hawthorn is going to do something big-it is going to erect a monument- a monument to the honor [sic] and glorious memory of those gallant and fearless representatives of Australia who brought imperishable renown to this young nation” (Westralian Worker: Friday 17 December 1915, p 5 ) Made possible by an outpouring of donations of money from the community, willing donations of building materials and generous commitments of skills and hard work by tradesmen and labourers, the construction of this memorial was conducted with great fanfare and ceremony. Saturday, January 29th, 1916 saw an army of 30 men, all armed with saws and axes, who worked all day to clear the block of trees and shrubs in readiness for the building. The next Saturday, February 5th, 1916, saw an amazing parade comprised of 70 drays all laden with the building materials, building tools and even some of the furnishings for the house wend its way from the centre of Perth out to the block in Kalgoorlie Street, where the memorial was to be constructed. At 4:30am, on Saturday, February 12th, alerted by the town crier, 200 men assembled at the block and began the task of constructing ANZAC Cottage. By sundown that day the neat little brick and tile Cottage was built. ANZAC Cottage, described as a “practical memorial” was given to Gallipoli veteran, Private John Porter, the first returned wounded soldier to live in Mount Hawthorn. The Cottage still stands today and is set up as a museum paying homage to its remarkable story and dedicated to the honour and respect of all servicemen and women who represented Australia in all conflicts.