Century worth of celebrating for Anzac Cottage youngest Marjorie Williams as she returns to Mt Hawthorn home
The last surviving child of the Gallipoli soldier who was the first to live in the Anzac Cottage in Mt Hawthorn has celebrated her 100th birthday.
Marjorie Williams’ family did not know if this day would come after all the upheaval of 2020.
“It was a big question and because of that, we only really started planning sort of late-ish ... but luckily we managed to do it,” Marjorie’s daughter Anne Chapple told The West Australian.
Through the generosity of St John Ambulance, Mrs Williams was brought up to Perth from Bunbury for the occasion.
It was her birthday wish to be back in the home where she was born and grew up.
A home that was built in a day in 1916 for her father, Pte Cuthbert John Porter, a returned and wounded Anzac.
As the great-grandmother made her way down Anzac Road and rounded the corner to Kalgoorlie Street, the memories came flooding back.
When she stepped back into her childhood home, it was the little things she most appreciated.
“I think on the way I was telling myself how it (the house) would be. There’s changes but there’s also things that I love like that brass door, that brass knob on the door, little things that will also be there and it brings a tear to my eye,” she said.
About 50 of her close friends and family sang the tune she had heard 99 other times but on this occasion it meant so much more for Mrs Williams and her family.
“Today means everything to me. I've long wanted my mother to come up here and spend her 100th birthday in the room in which she was born,” Mrs Chapple said.
“She’s now living in Bunbury and hasn't been able to come up, because she's getting more frail and every time I go to visit her, her first question is, ‘how’s Anzac Cottage?'”
St John WA general manager of patient transfer and community transport Alan Clyne said the organisation was so moved by Mrs Williams’ story that it was happy to help make her birthday wish come true.
“Moments like this remind us why we do what we do,” he said. “We’re so happy to be able to transport Marjorie to her family for what will be a celebration to remember.”
Anzac Cottage was the first memorial to the Great War to be built in WA and only the second in country.
Pte Porter lived in the home until he died in 1964.
The cottage was State Heritage-listed in 2000 and is owned by the City of Vincent.
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