My Great Uncle, Norbert Cunningham, fought in World War 1, as did his brothers Noel and Mervyn, and 7 of their cousins.
Whilst serving in France, Uncle Norbert wrote the following poem about the land of his birth…Tarlo.
Beyond the range of mountains
That guards the Sydney side,
There lies a land I’ll always love –
A land of spaces wide –
A lone land, a strong land,
Where silence holds its sway,
Where ibis swing, and wild ducks wing,
All through the summer day.
It calls me ever westward,
Far from the ways of men,
Where distance stretches limitless,
Beyond the strongest ken.
A far land, a free land,
Where light and shadow meet;
Where soft winds blow, like music low,
Among the fields of wheat.
The west wind in the blue-grass
The trefoil beds in flower,
Come back to me, o’er half the world,
In many a dreaming hour.
The Westland, the best land,
Where men can still be free,
Where dust storms ride, and grey steams glide –
The only land for me.
Across the heaving ocean
And leagues of barren foam,
My own brown land calls out to me,
My own land calls me home.
Poem written by Norbert Cunningham while on active service in France during World War 1. First published in France in an army journal called “Aussie”, then in “N.S.W School Magazine” on 1 April 1930. Copied from “The History of Tarlo and the Surrounding District” by Cecil Cunningham