Coffee with man’s best friend

A difficult day can be forgotten at this café with a hot cup of coffee, a warm embrace, and sloppy kisses from a wet-nosed canine companion.

The Keswick Café, located at Keswick Barracks in Adelaide, is a safe space where service members can gather to remember fallen soldiers in Afghanistan.

Anthea Williams, owner of a café, conceived the idea out of a desire to improve the wellbeing of Australian Defense Force personnel.

The memorial library, which took two years to construct and was recently completed, honors 41 soldiers.

Ms. Williams stated, “I discovered photographs of the fallen seated and felt compelled to present them.”

The barracks donated slouch hats that were hung above the photographs.

Ms. Williams set out to collect the soldiers’ color patches and corps badges with the aid of their units.

Ms. Williams stated, “I do not want these 41 soldiers to be forgotten.”

“It can be intimidating; we had an RSL president come in and have to leave; he had been on deployment with many of the men, and it was intimidating.

“However, others enter who knew the men and wish to recount their stories.

“We sit with them and converse. We do not wish to forget them or anyone who has been deployed.”

The memorial library for fallen soldiers at the Keswick Cafe in Adelaide’s Keswick Barracks. Photograph of Private Brenton Kwaterski

Ms. Williams pursues with vigor and fervor her desire to care for those with mental health issues, raising assistance dogs for veterans with PTSD through the Royal Society for the Blind.

Through the Operation K9 Dog program, 14-week-old black Labrador ‘York’ can be found in the café with his tail wagging and ready for a smooch.

Ms. Williams stated, “Even at this young age, a dog can do so much for the soldiers; just having a puppy here can make a difference.”

“If you are having a difficult day, you are welcome to come in for a hug.”

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