Warrior Poet : Lest We Forget – For our youth – A time to reflect – A time to learn – A time to stand tall.


   At the beginning of World One, a very young Australia was still struggling for identity with an old world which possessed a long and rich history, culture, traditions and influence. Europe still yawned when there was mention of that remote and far distant continent of no significance.

   Yet, despite being isolated from the old world, (apart from slow steamers and sailing ships plus a newly laid under-sea cable,) our nation was maturing and growing tall at a rapid rate.

The harsh isolation of the outback and the cruel tantrums of mother nature became a good breeding ground for toughness and strong resilience. There was an accepted and established code of mateship, independence, egalitarianism and an unwritten law of a “fair go for all.” All of which had been conceived with the arrival of the First Fleet, and nurtured mid the pain of the lash, clanking chains, the Eureka Stockade, the Great Depression and other trials until this very day.    

   Such characteristics became the signature of our nation.  Long held dreams became alive in every region; from crowded cities to towns, big and small; on dirt tracks in the outback via swagman, horse, dray and puffing train.

These powerful strengths breathed life and confidence into the crowded cities, country towns, shearing sheds, drover’s camps, goldfields, farms and beyond the loneliest of barked huts with dirt floors and dim flickering lanterns. 

   In 1914, after an uninvited God of War knocked on our nation’s door, the qualities I have mentioned and more were carried to Gallipoli and beyond in every kitbag and haversack of those men and women who had stepped forward to serve. These assets remain a very powerful weapon in our armoury which can be used to master the unknown challenges that will face us.   

   The qualities of the ANZAC, bred from generations before them are there in our history books to read, understand and pursue. Page after page of proud deeds tells of their courage, love of country, and the price they paid willingly so that you, me, and future generations can enjoy such a precious way of life.

   To ensure such freedom, you must continue to emulate their example. Above all, never falter. You must maintain self- discipline and endure when all seems lost. If you fail; learn from your mistakes, get up and try again. The ANZACS did.                             

      You have been gifted with a freedom forged in times of peace and war with blood, sweat and tears. The ANZAC legacy is so precious and must be protected at any cost. Carry the torch high and in time, pass it on to those who will take your place. Always stand tall, and shout with loud voice for the world to hear “I am, you are, we are Australian.”      GM

            Strong Genes in a Country Town

Inspired by an old soldier, Richard Barry from  Narrabri and his fellow citizens from all those yesterdays’:
When you awake to see a new dawn so clear
Picture our many heroes who once lived here
A small sleepy town blessed with love, laughter and fun
Youth with so many wild dreams to pursue in years to come
Then came the news of an angry God of Mars
Poisoning peace with hate and misery in an old world afar

Listen and you will hear the sound of bugles and drum beats
Cheering crowds and the rhythmic tramp of marching feet
Mid a sea of waving flags, see kin and sweethearts holding back tears
As the column leaves to fight a war for months or even years
Imagine special dreams now stored in lonely cupboards next to empty beds
Footballs, racquets and bats swapped for rifles with bullets of lead

Long bitter years passed by, and many black dresses to be seen
Empty chairs where loved ones had once been
Yet always the hope and faith that peace would reign
Then soon or late, long absent smiling faces would be seen again
A terrible price to protect a precious free way of life
An unpayable bill of misery and strife  

Since such angry times, white doves returned to roost once more
The District still well known for its hospitality and an open door
The old school has been expanded again and again 
Tears of grief have dried while proud memories remain
In our space age, regional pride with an ever-burning flame is the same
Fresh flowers guarding the town’s stone tribute etched with names

We can best honour the fallen who gave all, for us to stay free
If we remain alert to greed, ignorance, apathy and disunity
To understand our past and learn the lessons from what has been
To carry the torch and teach those yet to be born what freedom means
The flame will be yours to keep, to pass to those who will know what to do 
Go now; live a life to make past and future generations proud of you

George Mansford © October 2019

NOTE. The above could be your town, your district, your school, no matter where. Be rest assured the spirits of the ANZACS and those who followed them are with you, and very much alive. Keep it so—-.