John Crist talks about Alice

John (Terry) Crist talks about his mother – Alice Crist.

Mother was born at Clare Castle near Ennis, County Clare in 1876. She came with her family to Australia when she was only 2 years old. There were 4 in the family: Nancy, Alice, Morris & John Terence Felician. Her father Morris was a teacher.

John was born on 4 February 1918 on the corner of Hume & Bridge Streets. This was a private house that his dad had built in 1914. His father .Joseph had a woodyard behind where Southern Cross is now located in Ruthven Street. He was in partnership with his brother Charlie and another brother, Frank, temporarily. Charlie lived opposite Holy Name in Bridge Street.

Alice Guerin was a teacher at West Halden & Douglas. She first met her husband, Joseph, whilst he was a farmer in the Douglas area.

Alice had already made her name as a writer. She started writing for The Bulletin whilst only 9 years old. The family lived at Coomera at that time, where Morris was a teacher. They travelled to Coomera by cutter then by bullock dray. When aged 11, The Bulletin invited her to Sydney to write for them full-time. They were not aware of her age so her father had to write and refuse their kind offer because of his daughter’s age!

Alice continued writing until her marriage, then she gave it away for while. She then started writing Anzac day poems for The Chronicle in Toowoomba. She also wrote a serial for The Catholic Advocate called Go It Brothers which featured champion league player Tom Gorman & Dr Glen Hickey Snr. She also wrote another serial called Lemon Gully for the Advocate. Alice wrote books of poems called When Rody came to Ironbark & The Eucharist Lillies. They both sold very well.

Father Perton from Downlands was collecting material for a third book when the war intervened. Alice died of Tuberculosis in 1941. Joseph Crist died in the Mater Hospital aged 95.

Terry Crist served in the Navy for many years. His ship was straddled with bombs during World War II but was towed into harbour. In1948 he left the Navy and was re-trained as an electrician. After several jobs he joined the Railways as an electrician. He is suffering with emphysema, heart problems and is nearly blind.

- From an interview with John (Terry) by John Clements at Toowoomba Nursing Centre on 21 May 1993

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