Kids learning about sacrifice

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School pack facts about the Anzac legend

School kids will get to learn all about the men and women who offered up their lives for their country, thanks to an education drive at the Anzac Cottage in Mt Hawthorn.

Anne Chapple says a Lotterywest grant will help pay for a primary school information pack.

“It will give teachers activities to do with the kids before they visit the cottage, while they’re here and after they go back to the classroom,” she says.

“It’s really important that children learn about the sacrifices servicemen made.

The 1916 cottage was handed over to Vietnam vets in the early 1990s and, through voluntary work and fundraising, they have painstakingly restored it to its former glory.

Originally built as a memorial to those who’d died at the landing at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915, the cottage now serves as a salient reminder to soldiers who also served in WWII and Vietnam.

Richard Williams, WA president of the WA Vietnam Veterans Association, served in-country from 1970-1, when he was 21. He says friendships and bonds formed in the paddy fields and jungles remain unique.

“It’s strange, but even if you didn’t know someone personally from back then, you still have this amazing bond because you both went through the same common experiences,” says the 64-year-old.

“I was a mechanical fitter and helped clear minefields in Vietnam. Before going out we spent three months training in the Queensland jungle.”

Williams estimates there are around 3250 Vietnam veterans in WA and around 200 VVA members.

Around 500 Australians servicemen—50 of whom were from WA—died in the 1962-75 Vietnam conflict.

An open day at Anzac Cottage, 38 Kalgoorlie Street, is held during August to honour them.

The cottage was originally gifted by the Mount Hawthorn Progress Association to a returned wounded soldier who’d fought at Gallipoli.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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