Cyril Barwick



This story about Cyril was done by Jennifer Ingal, from ABC New England North West.  



Jennifer interviewed Cyril just days before his one hundredth birthday, in December 2016.

Cyril Barwick.

Cyril Barwick was born at Timor, in a home nestled in the shadow of the Liverpool Range, growing up on a self-sufficient farm with his three brothers and five sisters. He recalls the family only travelled in to town three times a year in horse and sulky although he would ride his bike into Murrurrundi, 15 miles away.

Cyril is 4th from the left. This is all his family minus one of his older sisters who must have took the photo.
School was done by correspondence until his father George built a school house and Cyril was educated along with about 14 other local children, but his real education would come from his later travels.
He’s very proudly states he’s “travelled through 52 countries.”
“To see the world, what it was like, we had no idea under the sun in our young days that there was another world out beyond the horizon,” he says.
When World War Two began, Cyril enlisted and served time in the Middle East, around Palestine, Egypt and Libya, then later Papua New Guinea.
“I should have been dead about 500 times, that’s part of life, I don’t know if its pre-conceived or what,” he laughs. But Cyril did survive the war, he even survived eating camel meat while stationed in Africa.
“We were a small party, and we ran out of food. We went to a butcher and procured a bit of camel meat, that’s all that was available at the time.”
Cyril says he wouldn’t recommend it.
“It took me three weeks to get the nasty taste out of my mouth. Boiled camel, it’s the worst I have ever tasted,” he laughs.
Cyril is on left. Tall bloke is Authur Barwick. Far right is Col Saunders.
Cyril in Damascus
A time he does not remember so fondly in the war is his time in Papua New Guinea, where he witnessed great atrocities.
“The Japanese rulers were nothing more than just savages. When they went into New Guinea what we found there was absolutely appalling; the way they treated the local women.”
Cyril was among the Australian troops to attack Wirui Mission, a Japanese stronghold near the end of the war in 1945.
“When you come across a village, with bodies strewn around, you didn’t witness what went by but you knew well enough what happened. How some of them could ever be forgiven I wouldn’t know,” he said.
“That bred a bit of a hatred of them as far as I was concerned.”
Cyril travelled to Japan after the war, “to see just what kind of people they were. I saw them at their worst, and their best.”
“They seemed to be quite a genuine people, but I still don’t know what to make of them, I don’t know,” he sighs.
Cyril travelled extensively throughout Australia as well, spending the winters for several years north of Cairns at a nudist camp - one he stumbled on by accident. “We didn’t know anything about it all, we just went up there and saw people walking about without anything at all, and just never thought a word about it so we ended up doing the same thing.”
“There’d be anything up to 40 or 50 people who completely discard their clothes. After a while no-one took any notice of us.”
Aside from travel, Cyril’s other great love is tennis. He nurtured young players, and himself competed at a few tournaments in England “without much success I might add, they were too classy there,” he laughs.
He laments the game is no longer what it was.
“Sports gone out of it largely and money’s come into it which I think is a great pity.”
Cyril played the game competitively until he was 87 years old. He may have had to give away the game he loves, but not the van. He just renewed his restricted license which keeps him mobile.
He’s not too keen on the idea of a birthday party but his local community certainly think he’s worth celebrating.
Cyril says he has never drunk alcohol, or smoked and has tried to live a healthy life, which he assumes has had some impact on his longevity, but perhaps it could be attitude as well?
“I never did reach any great stations in life, but that didn’t worry me at all, as long as I was satisfied and always had plenty to eat it didn’t worry me. I just set out to live my life and I thought other people just lived theirs, and that was it,” he said.
Cyrils ute and his dog.
Just days from his one hundredth birthday, Cyril with Neil Barwick, harvesting wheat.
Cyril Barwick at his one hundredth birthday party at Warrah Hall. He drove himself there.

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Joan Ham | Reply 13.03.2018 13:42

Does anyone have any knowledge of who was the father of Hunter Richard Ham born 1875, died 1963 at Willow Tree, and his three siblings Sidney, Leslie and Effie.

Kay Sipple | Reply 28.12.2017 18:16

A gentleman.a wonderful neighbour for 38 asset to the community..

Helynne Barwick | Reply 12.08.2017 23:25

Looking for relatives of Ernest Barwick born in 1925 siblings Henry, Betty, Gloria, Barry, Marlene . Married at East Maitland Anglican church to Iris Ruth .

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Latest comments

25.09 | 09:36

Absolutely delighted to come across a part of my direct ancestors history about which I knew very little and shall endeavour to find out more
Thank you Prof. A.

23.09 | 22:23

Very interesting Kelaher family history. Impressive number of trained nursing sisters. Jack lent the Copelands a cream horse, Playboy, in 1950's, ridden by Kate

09.09 | 17:58

Wonderfully informative. Thank goodness for Jane and John Atchison's work

06.09 | 14:33

I am Jack Kelaher and I am proud of my pop, dad and ancestors.

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