Bowls matriarch celebrates 90th
would not deter this mother of nine children
ON ALICE Roach’s 90th birthday, she became the matriarch of the Mundubbera Bowls Club.
But life was not always a walk on the green.
It all began for her back in the big smoke of Brisbane, where life wasn’t so laid-back.
Alice Roach was five when her mother and father separated. Her father came home from the war and things just didn’t work out.
In 1924, Alice’s mother walked away and her father could no longer look after the little girl he had never known. So for the next nine years, a Presbyterian orphanage in Brisbane would be Alice’s home. She never saw her father again.
At 14, Alice’s brotherin-law removed her from the orphanage and took her into his home with her sister.
“He was a very cruel man and he would beat my sister until she couldn’t stand,” Mrs Roach said.
“The next day she would leave and he would beat me.
“He knocked my front teeth out when I was 15.”
Alice’s sister got her out of there and helped her to get room and board in a house helping a woman who had five children.
At 16, life was finally going well for Alice. She got the chance to work as a housemaid on a property near Longreach, and by the time she was 19, she had found a good man and was pregnant with her first of nine children. She moved back to Brisbane in 1941 alone and had a baby girl, whom she named Judy.
Judy’s father followed, and they were married in 1942. As a family now, they moved to Longreach and lived there for the next 51 years.
A son in 1944 preceded children born in 1946, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1958, 1960 and 1966.
Alice took up lawn bowls in the Longreach club and got her name on the honour board for mixed pairs and mixed triples. Sadly in 2003, Alice left Longreach, this time as a widow, moving to Brisbane. In 2004 she moved to Mundubbera.
The matriarch of the Mundubbera Bowls Club has not been able to bowl due to bad knees, but loves watching the bowlers.
“You can’t let things worry you,” she said.
“Worry and stress will knock you down. Just let life happen.”
LOVES BOWLS: Alice Roach watches the bowlers at Eidsvold and wishes she could get out and join them.