We have commemorated the ANZAC's as they left Western Australia from Fremantle and Albany, but what of their homecoming? Every ANZAC day we remember those who did not return, but what about those who did. What was it like coming home to the safety of Australian shores after the horror of war?
Anne Chapple will discuss the first two ships to return to Western Australia after Gallipoli with their sick and wounded passengers, The SS Kyarra and SS Ballarat, on which her grandfather Private Porter returned. Held on Sunday, July 5 at 2.30pm at ANZAC Cottage, which is open from 1.00pm to 4.00pm.
Soldiers leaving No 2 Hospital in Egypt to board Ballarat
Anne's connection with both the Ballarat and ANZAC Cottage will bring a personal perspective to this little known (or celebrated) part of our ANZAC history. Experience the stories about the first wounded to return to Western Australia from Gallipoli at Australia's first memorial to the Great War, once home to one of those who returned wounded.
ANZAC Cottage a practical memorial
ANZAC Cottage built in one day on February 12, 1916 by the community of Mount Hawthorn as a home for a returned wounded soldier and his family and as a memorial for those who lost their lives in the tragic Gallipoli landing.
The ANZAC Cottage today, photograph by Martin Davidson
ANZAC Cottage, at No.38 Kalgoorlie Street in Mount Hawthorn, has a unique history, constructed as a practical monument to commemorate the ANZAC's participation in the First World War, the first memorial to the Great War to be built in Australia.
Officially opened on April 15, 1916, with the honour of living in ANZAC Cottage given to Private Cuthbert John Porter (Anne's grandfather), who returned wounded on the first Ballarat landing at Albany on July 31, 1915. Private Porter and his family lived in the Cottage until his death in 1964. Formally taking over the property on April 16, 2016 and raising the Australian flag every dawn for 48 years.
Friends of ANZAC Cottage has been set up to retain the connection of the cottage to the Mount Hawthorn and broader community.
What coming home was like
The Kyarra like the Ballarat and many other transport ships, suffered an undeserved fate before war's end
Anne will tell the stories of the Kyarra and the Ballarat, their mode of arrival and the reception they received from Western Australians on their return from Gallipoli.
Hear some first hand stories the returned soldiers told about the Gallipoli conflict: ranging from sad to humorous. Australians well known for self-depreciating humour often makes light of serious situations. Though the local Sunday paper noted the mens' real condition.
As reported by The Sunday Times on page 2, August 1, 1915
Find out how the men coped with the long and dangerous voyage home, including the soldiers' remarks about the food served on board those vessels. I assume very few had a choice of six dishes and could choose their sitting time.
Entry is free and includes the talk and viewing of the cottage. Anne will be there for the whole time and is happy to talk to people about the cottage story and answer any questions you may have. For a gold coin donation, you can enjoy afternoon tea.
ANZAC Cottage is open to the public on the first Sunday of each month from 1.00pm to 4.00pm, offers free entry and afternoon tea for a gold coin donation. All are welcome to attend and learn more about its unique history.
If you wish to know more about this event or would like further information about ANZAC Cottage, check out their Facebook page or call Anne on 0411 44 55 82.