The Road in My Dreams

Bev Woodman

Valentine, Australia

Artist's Description

Family history is a wonderful past time, searching and collecting data about relatives long gone and this provides the skeleton but its the stories and places that put the skin on the bones and this is what I find most exciting. We often find that we think we know a person but its not until they’re gone that we realise we knew very little about them at all. I knew my Mum was born on the Manning River in NSW Australia, I knew she came from pioneering families of the area, I have all that information but what I didn’t have was the stories to go between the dates. She always told me they lived on a dairy property at the ‘head of the Manning’ – but where? I have spent many trips up and down this river but never finding the spot I recall visiting as a child, somewhere beside a river, on a dirt track … there was an old house and my mother was crying, remembering days gone by. Where was this place? All my relatives who may have known have now gone but I kept searching, putting pieces of the jigsaw together … and then I had a break through. Mum often spoke of Bundook and I recall the word Cundle but always assumed it to be Cundletown which was near where some of her relatives settled. Bundook was certainly in the area of the head of the Manning but still I couldn’t identify the spot until I picked up some newspaper indexes that listed Mum’s sister being involved in an accident around 1920 at Westwood. So we set off to explore. We passed through Mt George (top meat pies there at the general store/pub), crossed the Manning River and climbed the hill, following the dirt track across lush green paddocks … then swinging to the right we followed an even narrower dirt track, still hugging the river then crossing it again. Here we found the prettiest valley, with Angus dairy cows hugging the river and wandering freely along the road, then climbing just above the river we found “Westwood Park”. On top of the hill was an old farm house that overlooked a river flat and I knew it was here, this was home to my Mum, her parents and siblings … where they ran their dairy cows … “I had to help milk 40 cows each day before school” was ringing in my ears … as my eyes filled with tears and I gazed at the view I knew … this was “home”.

The image shown is on the road to Cundle Flat, just after the first river crossing from Mt George.

Artwork Comments

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