A father and son on ‘vacation’ from the United States have reconnected with their ancestral roots during a visit to Tambar Springs recently.

Peter Matthews was born and raised in Wellington, near Dubbo, before moving to the US, where he met his wife and started a family.

“My son Adrian and I live in New Jersey between New York and Philadelphia … we are here visiting family and exploring the country,” Mr Matthews told the Gunnedah Times during a brief stay in Australia.

During a tour around the country of his birth, Mr Matthews stopped by the Tambar Springs war memorial – one of the oldest in the country for servicemen from WWI – to pay tribute to several long-lost relatives.

“We had to stop at the memorial, to pay our respects to Walter and Fred Watt, who lived in the area, and answered the call to serve in WWI,” he said.

“They and their brother Archie were lost, and are buried at Gallipoli and northern France.

“They were my mother’s uncles, and theirs is one of few families which lost three members. They are also remembered in Gulgong, their birthplace.”

Mr Matthews and another son, Spencer, had earlier visited the memorial near Amiens, France, where great-uncle Fred is remembered.  

Mr Matthews also plans to visit the graves of Fred’s brothers in Turkey.

He believed his children needed to understand the wartime sacrifices made by their family in generations past.

“It was important for us to include a visit to Tambar Springs, to honour what all these men did in service of Australia and the allies,” he said.

According to the NSW War Memorial register, the Tambar Springs’ memorial unveiling ceremony took place on January 31, 1919, with 91 names listed on the memorial at the time. 

Mr Higgins, president of the Liverpool Plains repatriation committee, had the honour of performing the unveiling and the memorial was created by Mr Aslin, a monumental mason from Scone. It was erected at a cost of £400, according to the register.

The memorial was rededicated on November 11, 2003.

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