Bowls ma­tri­arch cel­e­brates 90th

would not de­ter this mother of nine chil­dren

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50S - Noel Thomp­son

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.”

PHOTO: NOEL THOMP­SON

LOVES BOWLS: Alice Roach watches the bowlers at Eidsvold and wishes she could get out and join them.

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