This town is still familiar, for I lived here long ago
Gazing down Kelly St, the memories begin to flow
His ghost it still attends me, though we have never met
But he gave to me a legacy, I will not regret

An Upper Hunter stockman, who worked around Tinagroo
Till a fatal accident, a day that all would rue
A proud Militia man, well before World War Two
He transferred to the regulars, it was the right thing to do

The enemy struck from the north, he was there when the first bombs fell
And turned poor sleepy Darwin, into a raging hell
They knew that they were coming, all the signs were there
Complacency the greatest threat, when death strikes from the from the air

Some fled in all directions, as the deadly toll did mount
But no one knew the tally, as First Nation did not count
They told the troops, “Just go bush”, as the rain of death came down
A few ended up in Adelaide and a couple in Melbourne town

Others bravely stood their ground, a slit trench their only cover
Under armed and overwhelmed, your mates became your brother
People didn’t realise, the carnage of those who died
When they sought to know the truth, their enquires were denied

All this happened long ago, decades have come and gone
Those who witnessed these events, have nearly all passed on
But I married that stockman’s daughter, it was time to settle down
Only then I realised, I was related to half the town

Our children went on to serve the flag and how the years have flown
Now they march on Anzac Day, with medals of their own
The form of the ghostly stockman, still rides by their side
When we march together, it fills my heart with pride

On Anzac Day I drink a toast, to that stockman long since past
Lying neath the shadow of Scone Hill, a hero first and last
The coal trains blast a tribute, as they thunder by
Thomas Bateson Saunders, your memory will not die

By Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton
1 June 2021



FILE PHOTO (19 February 2022): Australian soldiers from 8th/12th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, fire M2A 105mm howitzers as part of a reenactment during the 80th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin commemorative ceremony in Darwin, Northern Territory. Original photo by Leading Seaman Shane Cameron, digitally altered by CONTACT.





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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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