Hugo Throssell statue in Northam in 2018, with my then toddler son, Thomas.

I found this paragraph which I cut from The Red Witch due to the word limit. It’s more a glimpse of Katharine’s husband, Hugo Throssell, actually. I was intrigued by just how different this first Anzac Day was after the Great War – certainly lacking the solemnity of today.

At first it seemed that Hugo was settling into his expected role of war hero. Anzac Day on 25 April 1919 wasn’t a public holiday in Perth and the commemoration was very different from the solemn ceremonies which now mark the day. In the evening, St George’s Terrace, the main street, was blocked off and ‘converted into a corner of Egypt’ for a fundraising event called ‘A Night in Cairo’, taking its theme from the middle eastern campaigns of the war. Costumed volunteers acted out an Egyptian wedding, funeral, and a court trial and guides took visitors to a replica of Cheops’ pyramid. Finally, at 8pm at the ‘Cosmograph Americano Esplanade Gardens’ a performance by a young dancer was followed by a lecture from Hugo in which he showed lantern slides of Egypt and Palestine. It was drizzling and attendance was down; the ₤700 raised for the Returned Soldiers’ Association was less than they hoped for.

  • Glimpses of KSP series: this month is the first birthday for The Red Witch: A Biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard and I’m marking the occasion with some posts throughout May offering random glimpses of KSP. During May you can buy a signed copy of The Red Witch directly from me at the discounted price of $45 with free postage (usually $10) to anywhere in Australia – the online shop is here.