ALLEN IN LISMORE: Local historian Dr Robert Smith of Southern Cross University gives a talk on the connection between Lismore and singer Peter Allen at the Richmond River Historical Society.
ALLEN IN LISMORE: Local historian Dr Robert Smith of Southern Cross University gives a talk on the connection between Lismore and singer Peter Allen at the Richmond River Historical Society. Samantha Elley

Pete called Lismore home

FOR anyone who has lived or visited overseas and heard a rendition of the heart-stirring song of Peter Allen's I still call Australia Home, they will understand why the singer holds a special place in our cultural history.

For Lismore, Peter Allen (then Woolnough) also holds a special connection according to local historian and Southern Cross University lecturer Dr Robert Smith.

At the Richmond River Historical Society yesterday Dr Smith outlined the research he has done thus far on the time the singer lived in the Northern Rivers.

"We don't have any photos of Peter in Lismore as yet," he said.

"We hope that talks like this might bring some to light."

With a good small crowd attending the talk, including Maureen Pizzol of Lismore who knew Peter and his family when he lived in the area between 1958 to 1960, Dr Smith gave a picture of how the town would have looked when the singer arrived from Armidale as a teenager.

"Lismore was a large rural centre which had a density of activity and musical venues that Peter would have had access to," he said.

"He came to live with his aunts, along with his mother and sister in November 1958.

Dr Smith has gathered material from people who remembered him when he lived in Keen St, possibly where the Lismore Workers Club is now.

"One couple told of how this young man would play classical-style music at the Tattersalls Club after they had gone to watch the rugby union," he said.

From there the teenage singer left to further his musical career on the Gold Coast, where he met up with Chris Allen and they formed The Allen Brothers.

Ms Pizzol received a postcard with a picture of the Allen Brothers when she was about to be married.

"Mum tells me you are marrying your firm-lipped lover and going to live on a farm and pick bananas," it read. "Best of luck to both of you, all my love, Pete."

Peter never returned to country NSW.



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