Lewy Cotton

Louis Cotton, portrait by Dan Russell, 1967
State Library of South Australia

Alias Served as Lewy Cotten; Louis Cotton

Born 9.11.1894

Place Odessa, Ukraine

Ethnic origin Jewish

Religion Church of England

Father Joseph Andreus Cotton

Mother Mary


Wife Ivy Gertrude Cotton (nee Jenkins), married 1924 in Adelaide, had a son

Residence before arrival at Australia Lived 3 years in France and 5 years in England

Arrived at Australia
from France
on 6.07.1914
per Phila
disembarked at Fremantle, WA

Residence before enlistment Perth, Adelaide

Occupation Waiter

service number 6141A
enlisted 8.06.1916
POE Perth
unit 16th Battalion; 4th Australian Division, traffic control detachment; Australian Provost Corps; 16th Battalion, 11th Battalion
rank Private
place Western Front, 1917-1918, England, 1918
final fate RTA 18.12.1919
discharged 21.03.1920

Naturalisation 1921

Residence after the war Perth, Adelaide


Digitised naturalisation (NAA)

Application for naturalisation (NAA)

Digitised service records (NAA)

Digitised Embarkation roll entry (AWM)

Records of the Assistant Provost Marshal (AWM)

Assistance and medical file (NAA)


Suzanne Edgar, 'Cotton, Lewy (1894-1972)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1993.

Blog article



Newspaper articles

Fined for assault. - Advertiser, Adelaide, 6 February 1930, p. 7.

Hotel silent on tie incident. - News, Adelaide, 19 June 1951, p. 1.

Students' prank at S.A. Hotel. - News, Adelaide, 22 June 1951, p. 20.

No trousers - and "Phoouis to Louis". - West Australian, Perth, 23 June 1951, p. 2.

Louis says "We have rules about dress and we're going to keep them". - News, Adelaide, 23 June 1951, p. 1.

Hotel Gazette of South Australia, Jan 1970, Jan 1971, Jan 1973

News, Adelaide, 31 Jan 1958

Sunday Mail, Adelaide, 23 May 1959

Advertiser, Adelaide, 1 Jan 1971, 12 Jan 1973.

From Falling stars: The story of Anzacs from Ukraine:

Lewy or Louis Cotton, who served on the Western Front as Lewy Cotten, is one of the few natives of Ukraine to be honoured with an entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Leaving Odessa in his youth, he spent some time in France and England, where he received training as a waiter. Coming to Australia in 1914, he worked in Perth and Adelaide in this capacity, but became a celebrity after his return from the front, when he was appointed head waiter in the South Australian hotel on North Terrace in Adelaide. 'The establishment was patronized by snobs, the rich and the famous', according to Cotton's biographer Suzanne Edgar.

'Cotton went to an excellent tailor and wore a morning suit, then white tie and tails at night. Patrons savoured his European background and counted his smile or nod an accolade. Lewy's manner was discreet, his bearing lofty; he reputedly gained substantial tips, though was apparently never wealthy. His supervision of the gilded dining-room, where drunks never disturbed his aplomb, ensured that his and the hotel's reputation remained untarnished. This 'Prince of Head Waiters' relished meeting the great, among them Pavlova'.