Prolific Australian writer Bob Ellis has died at the age of 73 after a battle with liver cancer. Photo: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Prolific Australian writer Bob Ellis has died at the age of 73 after a battle with liver cancer. Photo: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas MICK TSIKAS

Bob Ellis had strong ties to Northern Rivers

ONE of Australia's most celebrated writers, Robert James "Bob" Ellis, a former Lismore High School student, has passed away after a battle with liver cancer at age 73.

During his 40-year career, Ellis penned more than 20 books - including best-selling Australian political book Goodbye Jerusalem - 2000 film reviews, 200 poems and 100 songs.

Arguably one of the school's most notable alumni, Ellis gave praise to the school in a moving speech in May 1998 acknowledging the "selfless teachers I am proud to have known".

He went on to say: "Lismore High gave us not only the intellectual armaments that made it possible to prevail in the great world beyond Lismore, but it also gave us a sense of that possibility."

In a Fifth Year Leaving Certificate dated October 1, 1958, Ellis was described as "very diligent" in his studies and his conduct record "excellent".

The then headmaster wrote that Robert was a "lad a good character" and had been "most co-operative" in school affairs.

"He has been prominent in debating and public speaking and has been student editor of 'Highlight', a monthly magazine (sic) published within the school," he wrote.

"Robert is recommended as a very able and reliable young man who should do well in a professional career."

The 1958 leaving certificate of Robert James
The 1958 leaving certificate of Robert James "Bob" Ellis, arguably Lismore High School's most notable alumni. Contributed

Ellis had deep ties to the Northern Rivers

When Bob Ellis was a 10-year-old boy living in Lismore in 1953, he lost his sister Margaret Ellis when the 22-year-old was hit by a car in Sydney.

An obituary for Miss Margaret Jean Ellis was published in the Northern Star on Tuesday March 10, 1953.

"Born at Murwillumbah, she was educated at the Murwillumbah High School and came to Lismore five years ago.

"Margaret was for a time attached to the staff of Alpha Knitwear, but shortly afterwards accepted a position as a law clerk with Somerville Laundry Lomax and Reid, of Lismore.

"She accepted a similar position with a legal firm in Sydney a little over a year ago.

"Mr. (sic) Ellis is well known throughout the Northern Rivers of NSW. In addition to her parents, a brother, Robert, and a sister, Kay, survive. Mrs M. Ward, of Murwillumbah, is a grandmother,

"Her remains will be brought to Lismore for burial, the funeral leaving the Lismore Seventh Day Adventist Church tomorrow at 11am for Lismore Cemetery."



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