Isabel Marie-Therese Avery and Stanley Arthur Devine
The following article was compiled by my brother Bevan Devine with some input by me, in 2007, following the Carrigan reunion in Goondiwindi in June 2006, and was included in the Carrigan publication referred to here
Rosslyn – December 2015
Isabel was born on 13 July 1916 at West Maitland in NSW, the eldest child of Brendan Avery and his wife, Malinda, nee Carrigan. She lived her early life at “Hunter’s Hill”, south of Gore, and later at “Pallarang”. Her father managed both properties for A.M. Carrigan. Her early schooling was at “Pallarang” where she sat for the NSW QE Certificate at the same time as Hayden Carrigan. She was then sent to boarding school at the Dominican Convent, San Clemente in Maitland, NSW. By the time she had finished school her parents had relocated to “Yreva” at Karara, west of Warwick.
Here Isabel met the next-door neighbour, Stan Devine of “Beress”. Isabel was a very attractive 5ft. 4in tall brunette. They were married in Warwick on 6 January 1937. Stanley Arthur Devine was the eldest son of Arthur Henry Devine and Beatrix, (nee Kenny) of “Killowen”, Warwick. Arthur’s father, Philip Devine, was the pioneering settler of “Whetstone”, west of Inglewood. Arthur had previously owned “Bodumba”, east of Inglewood, and “Melva”, near Stanthorpe.
Stan and Isabel started married life in Charleville where Stan bought the newsagency in partnership with his youngest brother Max. Stan had been an asthmatic from childhood and a dry climate was recommended, which brought about the move. While in Charleville they produced four surviving children, twins Bevan and Brenda in 1938, Janice in 1940 and Rosslyn in 1942.
Charleville became a large base for the American Air Force in the Pacific theatre of World War II. During this time the newsagency business flourished. Stan’s health continued to be indifferent and he often required hospitalization and nursing at home. With four young children to look after as well, Isabel’s constitution was stretched. She received help from her younger sister, Kathleen, who spent three years in Charleville and, on occasion, from Alice Muir, the housekeeper at “Killowen”. Isabel had poor stretches of health herself; she became anaemic and had a bleeding crisis before the birth of a male child in about 1945 who survived but one hour.
In 1948 the brothers, Stan and Max, sold the newsagency business. Stan and Isabel moved to Brisbane for the better medical treatment for Stan and with the children’s education in mind. They bought a mixed business (groceries/sandwich bar) on Latrobe Terrace, Paddington, opposite the tram depot at that time. Even this proved to be too strenuous for Stan’s failing health so they sold and bought a home at 76 Gatling Road, Cannon Hill. Stan retired to the life of an invalid. Their sixth child Ron was born in 1950. Stan died in an asthma attack at home in 1953, aged just 44 years. Isabel was then 37 years of age, and the twins were 15.
These were tough times for Isabel but she was determined to give her children every opportunity for a good education. Her three girls attended Lourdes Hill in secondary school and the boys, Villanova College.
Isabel was an exquisite needlewoman. She sewed everything from smocked baby dresses to ball gowns, wedding dresses, trousseau, tailored suits, the soutanes and capouches for Augustinian priests, curtains, bedspreads, upholstery of furniture. She supplemented her meagre income with her sewing activities. She made all her own clothes and those for her children. She even upholstered the seats in one of Bevan’s early cars. All of this was done with great precision and detail in spite of the diminished sight she had in one eye as a result of an accident with a piece of flying glass when she was about three years old.
When Ron had finished high school she moved to Canberra and bought a home in the suburb of Ainslie in 1972. Ever mindful of her family she was able to help Rosslyn who lived close by with her family, and also Jan and her family. She moved back to Brisbane in 1977 and bought a house at 12 Gilmore Street West Chermside.
These latter years of her life living at West Chermside with her son Ron were perhaps the salad days of her life for Isabel. Her sons were well established in their careers and her daughters were raising families of their own. She enjoyed travelling interstate to spend time with each of their families – to Bevan in Adelaide, Brenda in Sydney and Jan and Ross in Canberra. During the period she also delighted in some overseas trips with her son, Ron (an airline pilot), to London, Europe and USA.
She died at home surrounded by her family on 12 October 1990, of pancreatic cancer, and was buried in Warwick cemetery. She was 74 years old.