Anzac Cottage

Anzac Cottage is a house in the suburb of Mount Hawthorn, Western Australia that was built as both a memorial to the soldiers who died in the Gallipoli Campaign and as a home for one of the wounded returning men. It is notable for being the first World War I memorial built in Western Australia, and for (nominally[lower-alpha 1]) being built in a single day (12 February 1916) with donated funds, materials and labour.

Anzac Cottage
EtymologyAustralian and New Zealand Army Corps
General information
Architectural styleFederation Queen Anne
Address38 Kalgoorlie St, Mount Hawthorn, Western Australia
Coordinates31.9235°S 115.8347°E / -31.9235; 115.8347
Current tenantsVietnam Veteran's Association of Australia WA Branch
Groundbreaking29 January 1916
Construction started5 February 1916
CompletedMarch 1916[1]
Opened15 April 1916
OwnerCity of Vincent
Design and construction
ArchitectAlfred Levido


The cottage is a four-room,[lower-alpha 2] brick and tile building, designed by Alfred Levido, a Perth architect.[4][6] It was designed in Federation Queen Anne style.[9] The roof has two finialed gables.[3] A verandah extends across the entire width of the front.

The front rooms have triple bay windows.[7] Above the front door are ornamental leadlight panels, the centre one of which includes the word "ANZAC".[10][11] The building has pressed metal ceilings.[2][12] The two front rooms and the kitchen/dining room have fireplaces.[12][13]

The rear of the cottage has a verandah, with kitchen, bathroom and laundry, the locations of which have changed over the years.[7][8][14] The original washhouse has been removed, but the concrete slab remains to show its location (about 6 m (20 ft) from the verandah[15]). The original outhouse is no longer there.[16]

A flag pole stands in the front yard.[17]



In late 1915 the Mount Hawthorn Progress Association decided to build a house named "Anzac Cottage", as both a memorial "to perpetuate the name of 'Anzac'"[7] and to provide a home for a soldier wounded in the landing at Anzac Cove.[4][18]

The land was donated by a local real estate company. The 40 by 132 ft (12 by 40 m)[19] heavily timbered block was cleared by about 30 volunteers using hand tools on 29 January 1916.[4][20]

The following week, on 5 February, materials were brought to the site. Seventy drays and 150 men proceeded in 12-mile-long (800 m) convoy from James Street to the Mount Hawthorn building site. The procession was led by Emily Roberts,[lower-alpha 3] the "Soldiers' Queen", in her motor car.[23] On arrival at the building site, Roberts ceremonially turned the first sod before the men began the foundation work, completing them the next day.[5]

Construction day, Saturday 12 February, began at 3:30 am with the ringing of a bell to summon the builders. By 4 am there were 50 men on site ready to begin, and by 8 am over there were over 100 men working on the house. The number rose to 200 by early afternoon. Meals were provided to the workers from a temporary canteen set up for the purpose. During the afternoon a memorial plaque was affixed to one of the gateway pillars by Lady Barron, the wife of Governor Harry Barron.[19][lower-alpha 4] At 5 pm Roberts raised the Australian flag, into which the letters "ANZAC" had been sewn. By the end of the day "the outside of the buildings was almost completed", the lawn turf was laid and the fence had been erected.[7] The remainder of the construction work, including the interior, was completed over the next two weeks.[6][7][26]

The building of the cottage was a notable public event. The delivery procession was watched by thousands, and met at the building site by a crowd of hundreds.[5][27] The main construction attracted a crowd of 4,000 onlookers, the local streets were decorated with flags and streamers, and the Police Band provided music. A souvenir booklet was printed to mark the occasion, with descriptions of the events and the cottage, photographs, and the names of many of those involved.[7][28]

Porter family residence

On 15 April 1916 the cottage was officially opened for public inspection by Premier John Scaddan and his wife.[29] The following day the property was handed over to Private John Porter[lower-alpha 5] and his wife Annie.[18] Porter was a member of the 11th Battalion of the First Australian Imperial Force, and one of those in the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915. He was wounded on the first day; the injury subsequently causing him to returned to Australia in July 1915 as an invalid.[6][32]

The title deed to the property was held by the Mount Hawthorn Progress Association as trustees, with the returned soldier and his family and descendants having the right to live there, but not to sell it.[7][29][30]

Porter and his wife lived in the cottage until their deaths in the 1960s.[6][18] Some of his descendants lived in the cottage until the 1970s[6][18] or early 1980s.[9]

Restoration and subsequent use

During the 1970s and 1980s ownership of the property and responsibility for its maintenance was disputed. The Porters' children had moved elsewhere[33] and the nominal owner, the Mount Hawthorn Progress Association was no longer operating.[3] After legal disputes as to its ownership, the cottage was eventually taken over by the state government.[34] By this time the building was in poor condition.[4][6]

In the early 1990s, the cottage was given to the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia, Western Australia Branch (VVAA WA),[lower-alpha 6] who coordinated the restoration of the building to its original condition, with support from local community groups and funding from Lotterywest.[6][18] A sleepout extension and bath, both non-original, were removed. The front verandah, extensively damaged by weather and termites, was replaced. Sections of the roof and brick work was repaired.[12] The cottage was reopened in April 1997.[24][34] In April 2002 a rededication ceremony was held, at which Lorraine Sanderson (the wife of Governor John Sanderson) laid a new memorial plaque to replace the original laid by Lady Barron.[11][24][25]

In 2006 the cottage was donated to the Town of Vincent,[18] who leased it back to the VVAA WA for a peppercorn rent.[2] It is now used as the VVAA WA's headquarters[18] and a museum,[24][35] and is occasionally open to the public.[4][6]


A flagpole was erected in the front yard of the cottage before its official opening in April 1916.[18] It was donated by Mrs Helmes, in memory of her nephew killed at Anzac.[36] A plaque was attached to the flagpole, commemorating Private Leslie Arthur Wilkinson, who died at Anzac Cove.[37][38][39][40]

In 2015 the wooden flagpole was found to be irreparably damaged by termites. A new metal flagpole was installed to replace it.[17][41][42] The new pole has a new plaque, with the same wording as the original.[43]

Heritage listings

Anzac Cottage is classified by the National Trust, listed by the Heritage Council of Western Australia on the State Register of Heritage Places[9] and included on the Register of the National Estate.[44] It is included in the City of Vincent Municipal Heritage Inventory.[24]

Commemorative ceremonies

Anzac Cottage is host to several commemorative ceremonies, such as those on Anzac Day, Vietnam Veterans Day, and Remembrance Day.[6] Notable amongst these are:

  • Every year Porter raised the flag on Anzac Day at 4:30 am, the time of the first landing.[18][45]
  • Since 1996, a "sunset service" has been held each Anzac Day at the cottage, the last such service in Australia each year.[4][20]

Other similar cottages

The Mount Hawthorn cottage inspired other similar ventures, such as the Anzac Cottage in Claremont, Western Australia, built by the Ugly Men's Association in 1917.[46][47]

The Queensland War Council built several dozen "Anzac cottages" for widows and orphans of Queensland soldiers who died during the war.[48]


  1. The cottage is typically described as having been built in a single day.[2][3][4] However the foundations were laid over two days of the previous weekend,[5] and some of the construction work, including the interior,[6] was "completed ... during the next week or two".[7]
  2. Lounge room, two bedrooms, dining room/kitchen.[8]
  3. Emily Roberts née Huxley was the wife of Charles McDonald Roberts. As was the custom at the time, most contemporary reports refer to her by her husband's name or initial(s), e.g. Mrs C Roberts or Mrs Charles Roberts. She won the title "Soldiers' Queen" in a fund-raising Queen Carnival, and was subsequently well-known for her ongoing charitable work and assistance to returned soldiers.[21][22]
  4. The original plaque was replaced in 2002 by one laid by Lorraine Sanderson, wife of Governor John Sanderson.[24][25]
  5. Some sources list alternative names (including spelling): Cuthburt John Porter,[2] Cuthbert John Porter,[3][30] Cuthbert Porter,[9] John Cuthbert Porter.[31]
  6. In 1989 the government had offered it to the Returned and Services League of Australia, who declined it.[33][34]


  1. "Mt. Hawthorn Notes". Westralian Worker. 3 March 1916. p. 2. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  2. "ANZAC Cottage". City of Vincent. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  3. David Dolan (2001). "33 - Perth's Anzac Cottage". Our house: histories of Australian homes. Department of the Environment. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  4. Stephens, John; Seal, Graham (2015). Remembering the Wars: Commemoration in Western Australian Communities. Black Swan Press. pp. 23–24. ISBN 9780987567079.
  5. "Anzac Cottage. Homes for Wounded Soldiers". Westralian Worker. 11 February 1916. p. 2. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  6. Anne Chapple. "My Grandfather's House - The ANZAC Cottage Story". Professional Historians Association (WA) Newsletter: 9–11. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  7. Anzac Cottage : Souvenir of the monument erected at Mount Hawthorn, 1916. Mount Hawthorn Progress Association. 1916. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  8. Signs in the rooms at Anzac Cottage, 2016-02-13
  9. "Anzac Cottage (place number 03344)". Heritage Council State : Heritage Office. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  10. John F. "ANZAC Cottage Open Day: A Man of Many Talents". Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  11. Rufus Cole. "Anzac Cottage". War Memorials of Western Australia. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  12. "Restoration" displays in the front room of the cottage, 2015-11-07
  13. Floor plan included with National Trust of Australia (WA) assessment form
  14. National Trust of Australia (WA) assessment form and attached floor plan, 1989.
  15. Measured using Google Maps' satellite view, 2015-11-07
  16. Information on display in the back yard at Anzac Cottage, 2015-11-07
  17. Facebook post 2016-02-14, comments and replies
  18. Western Australia's First Gallipoli Memorial (PDF), Vietnam Veteran's Association of Australia WA Branch, archived from the original (PDF) on 28 February 2016, retrieved 8 November 2015
  19. "Anzac Cottage. Memorial Tablet Laying. Spirit of Patriotism". The West Australian. 14 February 1916. p. 8. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  20. Graham Seal. "Anzac Cottage : Australia's First Great War Memorial". Simply Australia. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  21. "Who was Mrs C Roberts 'The Soldiers' Queen'?" (PDF). Local History News : The News Quarterly: 7–8. April 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  22. "Soldiers' Queen. Death of Mrs C. Roberts". The West Australian. 11 October 1944. p. 7. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  23. "The People", display at Anzac Cottage, 2016-02-14
  24. "Municipal Heritage Inventory Database". City of Vincent. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  25. Plaque on the gate pillar, 2015-11-07
  26. "Anzac Cottage". The Daily News. 29 February 1916. p. 8. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  27. "Anzac Cottage. Making a Start. Material on the Spot". The West Australian. 7 February 1916. p. 8. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  28. "News and Notes". Western Mail. 21 April 1916. p. 32. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  29. "Mt. Hawthorn Notes. (By "Advance".) Anzac Opening". Westralian Worker. 21 April 1916. p. 2. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  30. "Excerpt from the Agreement Between Mount Hawthorn Progress Association and Private Cuthbert John Porter", display at Anzac Cottage, 2016-02-14
  31. "Porter Family History" display in the front room of the cottage, 2015-11-07
  32. "Private Porter", display at Anzac Cottage, 2016-02-14
  33. "Anzac Cottage, 38 Kalgoorlie Street" (PDF), Places of Interest, City of Vincent, 20 October 2015, archived from the original (PDF) on 17 November 2015, retrieved 14 November 2015
  34. Graham Seal (2010), Folklore, History and Myth at an Anzac Memorial, Curtin University, p. 11, retrieved 14 November 2015
  35. "ANZAC Cottage History Museum". Weekend Notes. OatLoabs. 22 March 2018. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  36. "The Anzac Monument". The Daily News. 11 April 1916. p. 1. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  37. "ANZAC Cottage Open Day 2015". Nabo. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  38. Frank Duggan (25 February 2014). "Re: [DPS-CHAT] Service personnel". DPS-CHAT-L Archives. RootsWeb. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  39. Anne Chapple (30 June 2013). "Re: [DPS-CHAT] WWI - Gallipoli - Died or injured WA Vaterans pre1921". DPS-CHAT-L Archives. RootsWeb. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  40. Facebook photo of original plaque, and comment, 2015-05-28
  41. Facebook photo of flagpole, comments and subsequent replies, 2015-11-05
  42. Facebook post, comments and replies, 2015-11-09
  43. New plaque on the metal flagpole, 2016-02-13
  44. "Anzac Cottage, 38 Kalgoorlie St, Mount Hawthorn, WA, Australia (Place ID 18394)". Department of the Environment. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  45. "Memories & Memorabilia: Recognising and Preserving Australia's Wartime Heritage : Chapter 6: Memorial halls and other buildings". Department of Veterans' Affairs. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  46. "ANZAC Cottage, Claremont (place number 08094)". Heritage Council State : Heritage Office. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  47. "ANZAC Cottage". Monument Australia. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  48. "Strathearn". Australian e-Heritage Portal. The University of Queensland. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
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