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.

I love the challenge of capturing what I see, admire and love. To share it with you is an added bonus. Photography to me is recording history. Please explore my galleries and enjoy♥

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  • georgieboy98
    georgieboy98almost 6 years ago

    I love this wonderful photo Bev and also the delightful story that goes with it. Reminds me of my own researches, with all the usual trials and tribulations, dead ends etc. Trulky excellent work. Peter

  • Thank you Peter – this river has haunted me for so long and it feels overwhelming (still typing through tears) to have found the spot where they lived. I’m so pleased you could relate to it all.

    – Bev Woodman

  • Cora Wandel
    Cora Wandelalmost 6 years ago

    Bev, great writing to go with a great image, very well done. – Cora

  • Thank you Cora for your lovely words – it always feels better to put words in writing, especially when things mean so much.

    – Bev Woodman

  • Michael Matthews
    Michael Matthewsalmost 6 years ago

    Lovely image Bev. The blue of the mountains is spectacular.

  • We had a mix of colours that day Michael. It was raining all the way to Wingham from Newcastle but then cleared but the sky ranged from clear to stormy so the colours of the landscape changed constantly. Thanks so much for your comment.

    – Bev Woodman

  • Helen Phillips
    Helen Phillipsalmost 6 years ago

    How wonderful that you found the place you were looking for and I love the image you chose to accompany the story. Genealogy is a never-ending road in my experience, reaching out to people in our past and finding out what made us who we are. I will be sending my favourite RB genealogist over here to visit: jacquei

  • Thanks Helen for this wonderful comment and feedback. I had a look at Jacquei’s gallery and also her website – she is very professional in her work. I would dearly love to go to England to research some brick walls that I have.

    – Bev Woodman

  • hilarydougill
    hilarydougillalmost 6 years ago

    Wonderful story Bev, and glorious place, So pleased you found it, that was a journey especially for Mum. love and hugsxxx

  • Thanks Hilary – I always appreciate your comments and hugs. Mum would have been over the moon to think I perservered and found this place. I’m now writing to the owner of the property to see if I can find out more.

    – Bev Woodman

  • Anna D'Accione
    Anna D'Accionealmost 6 years ago

    I loved reading the story, this is a lovely part of the Manning area, we had a trip to Wingham years ago, but we must get there again soon. Lovely shot to go with the story. Thank you

  • Thanks Anna – It is lovely up there and we do go up there quite a bit to visit – very pretty scenery, especially when the river is still.

    – Bev Woodman

  • reflector
    reflectoralmost 6 years ago

    Magic scnery and a great shot ! Nice title too.

  • Thanks James for the favourite and comment.

    – Bev Woodman

  • DottieDees
    DottieDeesalmost 6 years ago

    Oh, Bev, what a gorgeous capture and a wonderful story…I have goosebumps…you need to write a book if you haven’t…you are not only a great photographer but also a wonderful story teller!! congratulations my friend!!

  • Thank you sweet Dottie. I did get quite inspired by this trip and so it was easy to write. My hubby and I have already put together a book on my dad and are in the process of doing my Mum’s line. I have a brick wall here with her dad (my grandfather) back in England but will probably proceed with what we have as I’m steadily putting his life together here in Australia.

    – Bev Woodman

  • naturalimages
    naturalimagesalmost 6 years ago

    This is a wonderful image made very special by your story. To really research your ancestry is a time consuming task. I used the computer to go back to great grandparents and passed on the findings to our two children – just in case they are interested! The fact seems that ,in England, most people’s ancestors were farm labourers!! Shirley

  • Thank you Shirley for this lovely comment and so pleased you enjoyed the story. My grandfather (Farvie) was brought up in the Swinton Industrial School in Manchester with all his brother’s and sisters. I cannot find out anything about his father although I have his name. His mother was a weaver and spent her time in Crumpsall’s Work House and the children were often discharged to her care there. James and a brother were discharged to be colliers and this pair plus one sister came to Australia – I am unaware what happened to the rest of them. This is such a challenge.

    – Bev Woodman

  • karenlynda
    karenlyndaalmost 6 years ago

    This brought tears to my eyes,

  • Hi and thank you for the comment. I am so pleased you enjoyed the story to this as it was straight from my heart.

    – Bev Woodman

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