33. Percy Archibald Button (1892-1954), busker
Percy Button was born in London and emigrated to Western Australia in 1910. He worked as a farmhand and at odd jobs in Perth. In 1917 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force 44th Battalion and went to England, but did not serve at the Front. After the War, he lived the life of a vagrant around Perth. Dressed in his trademark scruffy long tail coat and with hat by his side, Percy became the city’s best-known street entertainer with tumbling, somersaults and tricks with handcuffs.
Although often arrested for vagrancy – when the police gave him a bath and warm lodgings – he was respected as being scrupulously honest. Percy was not a drunkard, but occasionally a gambler when he had cash in hand. When a newspaper published a front-page picture of a 'well-known Perth character', scrubbed up in top hat, white tie and tails, few recognised 'Percy Buttons'.
Living on the streets, cold winters and an unfriendly physical attack left him with ill-health. He lived his final years at the Old Men’s Home in Dalkeith. Today it is fitting that a statue of Percy Button stands in his honour in Perth’s Hay Street Mall, the very location where he performed for so many passers-by.