Happy birthday Alice - 100 today!

Published 2:00pm 17 April 2023

Happy birthday Alice - 100 today!
Words by Nick Crockford

Bribie resident Alice Bourke is today celebrating a remarkable milestone – her 100th birthday.

Festivities began yesterday when the Bourke family gathered with Alice in Bongaree to mark this historic occasion.

Alice has been part of the island community for more than 30 years and is still playing music for her church choir.

A family member said her “grit and determination for excellence are unwavering, kindness immeasurable, memory for dates astounding and musical talents are her signature tune”.

Her family can be traced back more than 200 years to her great grandfather Teague Harrigan, who was born on the Tank Stream, now Pitt St in Sydney around 1803.

Teague Harrigan was the son of Mary Wade, the youngest Australian convict on the first fleet who later became known as the Mother of Australia.

Alice Genevieve Harrigan was born in Wollongong on April 17, 1923.

Musical talent

At the age of five she lost her mother during childbirth and with four siblings was brought up by her father and Uncle Jack.

Alice learned music from her uncle at an early age, taught piano at the Jurgens School of Music and performed as a flautist with the Illawarra Symphony Orchestra in Woolongong from 1946-1949, under conductor Paddy McMahon.

She moved to Brisbane in 1949 with husband, Leo, playing the organ and attending a concert group for 29 years at the Kedron Uniting Church.

Alice also taught piano lessons to students in Stafford, before her move to Bribie in 1992.

In 1997 she started playing piano at Bribie Island Uniting Church for weddings, funerals, church celebrations and the church choir.

Her husband Leo passed away in 2008, but Alice chose to stay on Bribie with the island community.

She has three children, seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

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