The Avenue of Honour began in May 1917 when Mrs ‘Tilly’ Thomson, a Director of the local textile company E. Lucas & Co, became heavily involved in fundraising and organising for the planting of a tree in honour of each brave service man and woman from Ballarat that enlisted their services in WW1. The Arch of Victory was also a Lucas Girls project and was officially opened on 2nd June 1920 by the Prince of Wales.
Fundraising activities undertaken by the Lucas Girls included clothing exhibitions, sale of souvenirs and a ladies football match in 1918 (£320 raised). The Lucas association persisted with £2,000 raised in 1925 for the installation of new bronze name plaques and in fact still continues today by the ‘Lucas Past Employees Association’ e.g. $15,000 in 1993 for the ‘Memorial Wall’ and annual donations to the Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee e.g. $1500 in 2014.
Hard physical work was also no trouble for the Lucas Girls with direct involvement in planting many of the trees in the middle of winter over three years and eight planting days (1917 to 1919), and even to the extent of loading bricks from the factory onto carts for the construction of the Arch of Victory.
Welcome to the Lucas Girls Avenue of Honour audio tours. This audio podcast series tells the stories of the men and women who served in ‘the war to end all wars’ and the lives of those on the home front who commemorated them with the planting of Ballarat’s unique Avenue of Honour and Arch of Victory. A stretch of nearly 4000 trees with each representing a man or woman who served their country in the first world war; a powerful symbol for the people who planted them and remained back home.
Each Audio tour focuses on an aspect of the lives of the men and women from Ballarat who served in the First World War, following the stories of individuals who are commemorated by trees in the Ballarat Avenue. They also tell the story of the building of the imposing Ballarat Arch of Victory and the committed efforts by the employees of E. Lucas and Co, and others, who worked tirelessly to raise funds and plant this remarkable Avenue of Honour.
Episode 1: Introduction
An introduction to the history of the Avenue of Honour and the stories of the people from Ballarat who served in the First World War.
Episode 2: The Garden of the Grieving Mother
This episode commemorates the building of the Garden of the Grieving Mother and the tragic stories of those servicemen and women who did not return from the First World War.
Episode 3: Life on the Front
This episode tells the stories, as recorded in diary entries and letters, of life experiences on the front lines during the First World War.
Episode 4: Ballarat’s Chinese ANZACs
This episode follows the experiences of the descendants of Chinese migrants to the Ballarat goldfields in their service in France, Belgium, Gallipoli, and the Middle East.
Episode 5: Youth at War
This episode follows the stories of the young men from Ballarat who enlisted below the minimum age of service.
Episode 6: Prisoners of War
In this episode we look at the experience of those servicemen and women who were captured and sent to camps in Germany and the Ottoman Empire during the war.
Episode 7: Women at War
This episode looks at the lives of Ballarat’s servicewomen throughout the war and their experiences as nurses in one of the most brutal conflicts in human history.
Episode 8: The Lucas Girls and the Avenue of Honour
In the final episode, we examine life on the home front and the efforts by the employees of E. Lucas and Co, the famed ‘Lucas Girls’, and others, to commemorate the service and sacrifice of Ballarat’s servicemen and women in the building of the Arch of Victory and the Avenue of Honour.
Avenue of Honour Audio Tours
This podcast was created for the Ballarat Avenue of Honour. Funding for this project was received from the Department of Premier and Cabinet (Veterans Branch) through the Victoria Remembers Minor Grant Program. Generous support was also received from Federation University and the Ballarat Mechanics Institute.
Thanks to Garry Snowden for his meticulous reviewing and fact checking of scripts and production.
Thanks especially to the Ballarat Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee and the Lucas Past Employees Association for their support.
Thanks also to the Lepp and Tongway families for access to family records, images and recordings pertaining to Ballarat’s Chinese ANZACs.
Lead researcher and writer- David Waldron
Co-Investigator-s CeRDI and Dr Fred Cahir
Casting and Production Manager- Katrina Hill
Sound design- Shannon Nicholls
Intro music- Maggie Littlejohn
-Shannon John Nicholls
-Collin Van Uden
Last Post sound file sourced from; FREESOUND.ORG USER BENBONCAN https://freesound.org/people/Benboncan/sounds/62050/
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