Alice MUIR (NEE MALLON)
(1900 - 1992)
Alice Mary Mallon was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1900. She went to Adelaide as a child in 1911, and was educated at the Dominican Convent, North Adelaide. Her parents Eugene Michael (Euie d.1952) and Mary Frances Parsons (d.1943) Mallon lived at 17 Grenfell street, Kent Town South Australia.
Alice had huge success as an amateur soprano in the 1920s in Adelaide. (reference)
She studied singing at the Adelaide Conservatorium, and having won a 12 month free tuition scholarship, on the advice of Dame Nellie Melba, trained at the Melba Conservatorium in Melbourne. (reference)
She was associated with the ABC for thirty years as a soprano and toured Australia with the orchestra under a number of famous conductors. In 1930 Perth papers reported that Alice Mallon had come to Perth because she was to be married to Dr William Muir. (reference) She had in fact, already eloped and married Muir in Melbourne in 1929 however Muirs family was vehemently anti-catholic so they kept it secret, until later.
Alice was a popular performer during 1930 (reference) and 1931 when she performed at the Karrakatta Club (reference). Radio in Australia was just twelve years old when 6PR commenced broadcasting on 14 October 1931 and Alice was invited to open it with a live recital at Wireless Hill. She continued to give performances throughout the 1930s at homes around Perth. (reference)
The newly married couple lived briefly in Esperance from 1932 until 1934 when the family moved to ‘Roraima’, at 60 Preston Point Road, East Fremantle, originally the house of John ‘Jack’ Morgan Ley and Azelia Ley (nee Manning- from about 1900 to 1921).
From 1934, the property, still owned by Azelia Ley, was rented for 17 years to William and Alice Muir and their three sons: Robert, William and Ian. (reference)
Dr Muir had his medical practice at 48 Market Street in Fremantle and also worked at Fremantle Port as Quarantine Officer and later at Leeuwin Naval Establishment. (reference)
The house ‘Roraima’ stood on several acres of land between Fraser and Pier Streets, with a frontage to Preston Point Rd. The house was a large 10 room Victorian mansion of limestone, iron roof, large verandahs and cellar. Outbuildings included a carriage house (Pier St) for two vehicles, stables and hostlers quarters. A wood shed/wash-house stood on the north east corner of the house, not far from the windmill and raised water tank. The whole was surrounded with a pine plantation. Two large mulberry trees dominated the back yard whilst the northern aspect was given up to a formal garden and shade house. Although the front gate stood on Preston Point Road, the main entrance was from Pier Street where later a motor vehicle garage was erected. (reference)
According to son Robert Muir- Azelia Ley was not enamoured of Dr Muir (or anyone else who rented ‘her’ house), although she became his patient. She was particular about ‘Roraima’ and demanded all interior walls be painted light blue (to deter mosquitoes and flies). When the stables burnt down (c. 1950), she sent men to look after the horses (though none had been there for years). Soon after the death of Azelia Ley in 1954 the house was demolished. See information about Azalea Ley and ‘Roraima’ in the SLWA collection (reference) and a photograph of ‘Roraima’ (005663D)
1938 “Perth soprano Alice Mallon, will bring further musical honor to this State tonight, when she will be soloist at the Perth Symphony Orchestral concert conducted by Dr. Malcolm Sargent in His Majesty's Theatre— only the second local artist to appear in a concert featuring an A.B.C. visiting celebrity this year.” (reference)
William and Alice separated and Alice became a single mother and taught many West Australian voice students.
Her son Robert Muir ( 1933 - 2007) became well known as a skindiver, life insurance salesman, driller and shot-firer, antique dealer, historian and antiquarian bookseller and art collector. See his obituary by brother Ian Muir. (reference) Her grandson Robert Muir carries on the tradition with Muir Books in Perth.