Anzac profits


A few Anzac gifts available from the Post Office

As you bite into your Anzac biscuit, preparing to celebrate Anzac Day at Anzac Cottage, or maybe have a pint at the Oxford Hotel on the corner of Anzac Road, or…

You get the point. Anzac is a bit more than a military term. It’s a word full of emotion and value. Value in the ‘give me all of the money’ sense, that is.

The wonderful Ms History Punk has exposed the cashing in immediately—really immediately—after the word Anzac was coined. It wasn’t even an official word at first, just a nickname. It wasn’t even popular with some soldiers. So Ms Punk explores the seedy world of business folk safe back home in Australia who never missed a chance to make a little extra.

Like the Imperial Boot Co on Hay Street who announced an Anzac Sale in 1916. Yep. Apparently all those Anzac heroes going off to war meant they weren’t buying footwear like they should have been. And the poor shop was overstocked. So here was your chance to get some cheap shoes before the soldiers came home and the prices went back up again. That’s what they meant by Anzac Sale!

If you were in Bunbury during WWI and fancied a cool drink, fruit, lollies, or perhaps some beef or ham, we’d recommend the deli quickly renamed The Anzac to catch the current mood. Or if you were in Kalgoorlie, why not eat at the Anzac Grill Rooms?

Didn’t get a residence built for you by the local community? Presumably that’s because you weren’t a wounded serviceman. Never mind, estate agents will still sell you a lovely house as close as possible to Mt Hawthorn’s Anzac Cottage. Really close if you can afford a bit extra.

And finally, not serving overseas? Well you can pretend you are by buying some Anzac badges and Anzac hat pins to wear on Anzac Day. Then you can imagine you’re playing your part. And Boans can make a profit. By coincidence, of course.

It was all getting so out of hand that the WA poet Dryblower (aka Edwin Murphy) imagined a dystopia where:

It’s ‘Anzac Cottage’ and ‘Anzac-street,’
Anzac sox for your tender feet;
Anzac collars and Anzac ties,
Anzac puddings and Anzac pies.
Anzac stockings and Anzac shoes,
Anzac buttons and Anzac booze.
There’s an Anzac hat for an Anzac head,
And an Anzac bridegroom newly wed,
While spoony pairs will be sighing soon
For a sweet little Anzac honeymoon!

We were spared this nightmare when the Government suddenly banned the use of the word on anything commercial.

But you should still go to Anzac Cottage. And eat an Anzac biscuit. And be thankful we were spared Anzac socks. Although a pint of Anzac booze would go down nicely right now.

Other men’s wives


The State of Westralia has been fairly rich in public men who devoted business hours to writing love letters to other men’s wives. Let’s see—there was H. W. Venn, who woke one fine morning to find himself nearly as famous as Abelard or Dean Swift. But that is old history. This is now.
This is the story of W. Bede Christie, a gentleman who occupied a responsible position in the Lands Department up till last year, when a discerning Labor Ministry selected him to go and lecture in New South Wales and try to attract cockies to this great country.
Step up, Mr Bede Christie. How many trustful women’s hearts have you broken, you sly dog? Step up, and you shall be the Paul of this Paul-Virginia idyll.

In 1906 William Bede Christie—surveyor, author, lecturer, business proprietor, land booster for the state, student of astronomy and authority on Egyptology—was 64 and married. Which is definitely time for a song:

He had been touring NSW to promote the quality of farmland here in WA and to attract farmers from over there to over here.

Accompanying him was Mrs Margaret Regan, a matronly woman who was separated from her husband. However, William and Margaret posed as husband and wife while on tour, and when the Wyalong Star reported that W. Bede Christie and his wife were in town, the news filtered back to Perth.

Christie was immediately recalled by the Government, but the most embarrassing aspect of the story—for him at least, and probably for Mrs Regan—was the publication of his letters to both his lover and her married daughter, Pearl Bould.

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