Generous Mrs. Christison

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

Clare's Finest Citizen -- Mrs. J. Christison, M.B.E.

Clare - Marriage - Notable Women - Recent Welcome Home - Thanks - Achievements - Zonta Memorial - Death

Mrs. (Frances) Diana Christison, M.B.E., of "Weroona", Clare, was the widow of the late Mr. John Christison, who was looked up to and respected by all classes.

Frances Diana Christison, nee Hope in 1908
Frances Diana Christison, nee Hope in 1908 (Courtesy Rory Hope)

A Clare citizen all her life, Diana Hope was born in Clare at "Wolta Wolta", the Hope family residence in the beautiful wooded country on the West boundary of the town, a spot selected by her father, pioneer John Hope, where her girlhood was spent amid scenic beauty and the quiet of Nature.


She was married to Mr. John Christison, then aged 47 years, at St. Peter's Anglican Church, Glenelg in 1896. Their family home was "Weroona", in Clare.

Bluff, but genial, John always expressed his mind freely, his word was his bond and he was also of a very generous and kindly nature. John Christison was a partner and later sole proprietor of the Clare Brewery. Under his able control the business continued to expand and at various times owned at least 13 hotels throughout the Mid North.

Mr. Christison died in 1911 after 29 years of business as a brewer in Clare and after a period of ill health. Mrs Christison was proud to be able to launch a new plant at the Clare Brewery on November 20, 1913. All the the various operations of bottling, corking, labelling, and bottle washing, were now done by machinery. SA legislative changes to restrict trading hours greatly affected profits, particularly in draught beer sales and the brewery was forced to close in 1917.

The Hope family home "Wolta Wolta" Clare, SA
The Hope family home "Wolta Wolta"

Her late mother held open house at "Wolta Wolta", and on many Sundays there were Sunday School Classes. As part of Mrs. Christison's education she paid a visit to Vienna and to Venice, on the Continent.

She continued her musical studies, and combined with a flair for Art, she took a wide and varied interest in cultural works. Imbued with a love of the Country, her interests later in life found many expressions. The field of education was dear to her heart, and she was frequently a visitor to schools of all denominations.

Notable Women -- Clare Literary & Debating Society.

Monday evening, July 3 1922, was the occasion on which a Ladies' evening upon 'Notable Women of the British Empire' was carried out by the above society at the Institute Hall, when there was a large attendance.

  • In the absence of the president and vice-president, Mr A J Bowley occupied the chair.

  • Mrs Christison had charge of the evening, and a comprehensive programme was arranged.

  • The subject really resolved itself into 'Notable Women of the world,' and this aspect was explained by Mrs Christison.

  • Criticism was freely indulged in, creating a good deal of interest.

  • The papers which were presented were as follows : — Introductory, Mrs Christison ;

  1. paper on George Elliott, Mr R E Hunter ;

  2. paper on Harriett Beecher Stowe, written by Miss Lily Pink and read by Mr G Tilbrook ;

  3. paper on Florence Nightingale, written by Mrs A J Bowley and read by Mr E J Scott ;

  4. paper on Madame Melba, Miss. M F Tilbrook;

  5. paper on Queen Victoria, Mrs Christison;

  6. reading 'Notable Women of India', Miss Kathleen Tilbrook ;

  7. paper on Madame Curie, Mr E H Tilbrook.

On the proposition of Mr H A French, seconded by the Rev A E Jones, a hearty vote of thanks was accorded Mrs Christison for the capable manner in which the evening had been arranged.

"Weroona", formerly Bleak House, Christison family home at Clare SA
"Weroona", formerly Bleak House, Christison family home in Clare SA

Recent Welcome Home

Blyth Agriculturist (SA) Fri 1 Feb 1935 P.1

Upon her arrival back in Clare in January 1935, after a lengthy holiday spent in Great Britain, Mrs. Christison was welcomed by members of several societies with which she had always been associated:

  • Miss Winifred Wien-Smith (secretary of the Clare and District Hospital Aid presided.

  • In the absence of Mrs. Hawker, Mrs. P. Stacy, spoke on behalf of the Clare Red Cross Society.

  • Mrs. J. C. Dux spoke for the Clare Women's branch of the Agricultural Bureau,