WALKING into an old tin shed on one of the largest sheep stations in the country – Eremeran - four-year-old Lambert Rostron is immediately dwarfed by the mammoth structure.
Naïve and unable to sense the impending doom, he leads his younger brother Stanley and sister Winifred inside.
Scanning the surrounds he sees large sheepskins eerily draped over chicken wire, rusty tools, and workbenches caked in filth.
Parched from the dry central NSW heat, young Lambert reaches for a bottle of orange juice on one of the shelves, kindly offering it first to his siblings – a simple action that is going to tear apart his family and the generations to follow.
The 100 percent arsenic Cooper’s sheep dip is immediately regurgitated by Stanley, although little Winnie thirstly swallows.
Distressed and heavily pregnant with her fourth child Doug, Winnie’s mother Alice and father Rupert rush her to the nearest hospital in Condobolin, 120km from Eremeran Station.
Grief-stricken from Winnie’s sudden death, Alice struggles to forgive her eldest son, packing up and leaving Rupert to look after the young boys.
A Jackaroo by trade the stern bushie decides it is best to foster Lambert and Stanley out and focus instead on the 75 other families under his direction.
Over 90 years later the secrets of Eremeran Station have been uncovered by the son of the boy at the centre of this heartbreak.
Leyburn local Brett Rostron is set to release his country music album – Secrets of Eremeran, produced by Shoe String Productions – depicting his family history through verse.
This tragic saga has taken four years for Brett to slowly unravel, ignited by a Facebook message from a long-lost cousin.
“It was such a shock to find out because when our cousin found us on Facebook we didn’t know anything about dad’s sister,” he said.
Having had no idea about his past growing up, Brett said that people gossiped about the infamous tale but no one ever said anything directly to him.
“It was something of an urban legend,” Brett said.
“My father never mentioned his past, and if you brought it up he would become very aggressive and angry because he just didn’t want to talk about it at all.”
Evidence of the trauma his father had burdened was evident throughout Brett’s childhood, sending his Dad into cycles of depression and anger.
Brett said Lambert had served in the armed forces in both Borneo and Hiroshima as a young man, assuming that haunting memories of the war were to blame for his instability.
“I used to say to him ‘I dunno what your problem is dad, but I wish you could sort it out.’”
“I just wish I had known earlier… We could have got help for him.”
While the journey taken to discover his roots has been tumultuous to say the least, Brett said he understands his father now better than ever.
“I have had a lot of my own issues in life to deal with, was a heavy drinker as a young guy, and now I understand why,” Brett said.
“I admire my father’s courage, and as a father myself I have a deep respect for him.
“To live with that kind of thing must have been a hell of a weight to carry around.”
Ensuring the reticent cycle had finally broken, Brett found solace in music.
“Music has been my saviour,” Brett said.
“When I finished the first song I wrote for the album – Just a Kid – I cried the tears of the last 30 years.
“I mean my head does still go lickety-split at times, but generally I am very much at peace with everything. “
Highlighting the poignant story of a family fragmented, the album is testament to the often overlooked power held in history.
To be released fittingly at Eremeran Station on October 6, the launch will not be a mourning of the past, but an emotional celebration of a man who has finally found himself.
“If you don’t know your family history, how could you possibly know who you are?
“But I know who I am now.”