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Raised a Radical - The Englarts in Brisbane 1920-1939
- Vince Englart


In 1920, on one of the goat tracks which wound up the cliffs at Kangaroo Point, my father, Edward Conrad Englart,(Ted), proposed to Catherine Ryan (Katie). Katie accepted Ted without hesitation. They had shown a lively interest in each other for some time. Ted and Kate met at dances at which Ted assured his mates, "That girl, Katie Ryan, over there. I'm going to marry her". Kate stood 'five feet nothing' with her dark hair and fair complexion betraying her Irish Celtic origin. Ted was a little taller but of stockier build with dark hair and eyes with olive skin was of Teutonic extraction. Ted wasn't the tall, blue eyed blond Nordic type favoured by German racists.

Ted had what was a good job for a labourer at the time. The First World War had just finished and Ted was employed as a wharf labourer in the post World War 1 boom. Katie and her two older sisters were machinists in the footwear industry. But I'm racing ahead - I must describe something of the background of these two young people on the eve of marriage.

Ted and Kate Wedding Photo - 13 October 1920 Both Ted and Kate had rebellious traits that set them at odds with many family and social conventions. At the time of Ted's proposal 20 year old Kate lived in a boarding house with sisters, Mary (29) and Nell (28), managed by an old tyrant who forbad the women to use make-up. Mary and Nellie both toed the tyrant's line but no sooner had the manager wiped Kate's face clean with her skirt when Kate would reappear with her face made up.

The three Ryan women were devoutly Roman Catholic. Father John O'Connell accepted money for prayers to be said for their mother who died terribly of breast cancer (aged 55) in 1917. The priest assured them that their mother would be in Heaven after so many prayers had been said for her. These were the days when the Church demanded much from the flock. If you broke commandments the priest could impose penance. Kate told us of the times when she had to knell on her rosary beads to the extent that they bedded into her flesh. Kate's brother Jim (30) had volunteered for the Army and served in France where he was a victim of gas warfare and came home broken in spirit and addicted to alcohol and he died (aged 36) on 4 April, 1926. Kate's father died of stroke (aged 56) in 1919.

The image I have of a young woman, Kate Ryan, who had suffered much at the personal level and, I believe, in revolt against the excessive piety that surrounded her, was ready to marry the young Lutheran, Ted Englart.

Just as Kate was in revolt against her conditions of life, Ted was in revolt against the conditions of the hard rural life that was his origin. in 1912, without a word to his father or eldest brother, Ted kissed his mother good bye and set out to seek his future in the wider world. He followed various unskilled jobs, including driver of a horse drawn hearse.

So after taking the necessary religious vows Ted became a Roman Catholic and on 13 October, 1920, 22 year old Ted married 20 year old Kate in St. Josephs Church at Kangaroo Point before Father John O'Connell. The newly marrieds' residence at the time was a boarding house in Fisher Street, East Brisbane.

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