BEYOND THE TREE | John built a great family

The Beyond the Tree exhibition at Liverpool Regional Museum includes a growing community tree to which you can add your own family story. Bring in photos of your family moments to be scanned, printed, mounted and added to the display. It's in conjunction with Liverpool Genealogy Society. Volunteers help with research and family enquiries from Tuesdays to Saturdays. The Champion is running a series of local family stories tying in with the exhibition. This is the story of John Meredith Allen.

My father was five-years-old when he travelled on a journey that would take him from the Sydney suburb of Guildford on a 430 mile journey with his parents and his two sisters to the Riverina country town of Tullibigeal. His father John Andrew Allen and his new wife Janie were successful in their application for 870 acres of farming land that had to be cleared and developed in country NSW.

Dad worked with his parents and their family and friends to clear acreage to begin the development of the farm called "Guildford Farm". Whilst working on the farm he completed his chores before and after school. For a while he attended the little school built for the children of the district and his step mother also taught he and his siblings - as well as receiving schooling by correspondence.

He was well known in all the surrounding districts for his friendly disposition and his keen sportsmanship. He saw the inauguration of the sports centre at Four Corners, and was an enthusiastic member and player of the Four Corners Aussie Rules Football Club, also a member of the tennis and cricket clubs.

Under rules of the scheme when their children reached 17 - 19 years they had to find work and/or leave the district. My father found work with his father's brother William Thomas Allen in Hillston, NSW. William Allen ran a carrying business in the Hillston district and dad was employed as a labourer and truck driver. He was assisted by his cousin John Walter Allen, who having reached 18 years, also left his father's farm.

At Hillston he met and married Miss Ivy Lewis and they made their home at Woy Woy. For ten years he was employed on the railway construction works and saw erection and completion of the Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge. He was employed as a rigger on the construction site.

Dad purchase two 1/4 acre blocks from his father at Bensville for 25 pounds each and built a bush home on one block and a vegetable garden on the second block for his family. Illness prevented him from performing any hard labour and he died of a heart attack at his home in 1954. Who was he? He is my father John Meredith Allen (1913 - 1954).