It’s just a battered tea chest, with its’ secrets long secured

Within its tired and weathered frame, their future was ensured

It stood a silent guardian, against strangers’ hands and theft

Until finally placed back in the care, of the only sibling left


It lay hidden in a garden shed, long since out of view

The mystery of what was within, few people ever knew

Despite the trials of storm and age, the chest somehow survived

Waiting for that special day, its history would be revived


For seventy years it stood guard, like some loyal sentinel

If this box could ever talk, the stories it could tell

Though special ones had some thoughts, on what had been concealed

Now she’s the sole survivor, all can be revealed


A pay book and some dog tags and photos of her dad

Chapters of the distant past and the happy life they’d had

Faded yellow clippings, tell of victories won

By a soldier and a sportsman, a proud Australian son


Others tell the tragedy, when up the back of Scone

He was thrown from his favourite mount and died out there alone

Memories of her sister Pat, taken before her time

Who now sleeps near her hero dad, both cut down in their prime


Her picture as a dark haired child, with a joey kangaroo

And her father on his steed, way out on Tinagroo

Her life as chapters locked away, protected without fault

Defying all the seasons, as firm as any vault


Children’s cups and saucers and gifts her granny gave

The many joys and sadness, she will carry to her grave

For the tears are welling in her eyes, as the past and present blend

For each is fondly welcomed, like it was an old friend


Now that little girl’s a mother, and with grandkids of her own

And that soldier in the photograph, would be proud of how she’s grown

For all those priceless treasures, in pride of place they rest

No longer to be gathering dust, in an old tea chest.


By Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton
21 November 2013



FILE PHOTOMembers of the Australian medical contingent carry trunks to the Landing Zone at Camp Bradman for backloading to Islamabad, during Operation Pakistan Assist in 2006. Photo by Corporal Damian Shovell.





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