Post-Anzac Day premiere of doco telling WWII love story set in St George

Hometown story: A scene from the WWII documentary The Unworn Wedding Dress which tells the story of St George residents Gwen Coxhead and John Buckham.
Hometown story: A scene from the WWII documentary The Unworn Wedding Dress which tells the story of St George residents Gwen Coxhead and John Buckham.

The free premiere screening of the documentary The Unworn Wedding Dress telling about life in St George in WWII will be held at Hurstville Civic Centre on April 26.

The film documents the lives of Gwen Coxhead, the Carss Park ranger's daughter who grew up in Carss Cottage, and John Buckham, her fiance who went off to fight in World War II.

Gwen had her wedding dress made in anticipation of John's return to Australia after the war.

But John died as a prisoner of war building the Burma railway and his body has never been found.

In John's last letter to her, he wrote, "Those in power should make absolutely certain that there isn't ever the remotest chance of another war ever."

When she learned of his death, Gwen never married but went on to become the State Supervisor of Secretarial Studies and in retirement was the cofounder of the Kogarah Historical Society.

Her unworn wedding dress now hangs in a glass case in the Carss Cottage Museum, the house she grew up in.

The Unworn Wedding Dress is directed by Bebi Zekirovski, president of the Australian Macedonian Cultural Association.

Mr Zekirovski was inspired by Gwen's story after visiting the Carss Cottage Museum and seeing her wedding dress on display.

While it is a documentary, scenes were dramatised using actors at the original locations including Carss Park Cottage, when Gwen lived, and at the house John lived at in Penshurst.

Mr Zekirovski said The Unworn Wedding Dress interprets a unique story of WWII that was set in St George.

"I wanted to have the premiere as close to Anzac Day as possible," he said.

The Unworn Wedding Dress was made with the support of a $5000 grant by Georges River Council.

It will premiere at the Hurstville Civic Centre on Friday, April 26 at 7pm. (Doors open at 6.30pm.

While it is free screening there are only 200 seats available and bookings are recommended by phoning Mr Zekirovski on 0438610133.

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