Tuesday, December 30, 2014
When the Prince came to Ballarat in 1920
The girls were famous for their fund-raising efforts during the First World War, but this was the highlight. They sold dolls made from scraps of the clothing made in the factories, and they also gladly sacrificed some of their pay, so that this tribute to the fallen soldiers could be built. When the time for the Prince's arrival drew near, the Lucas girls even armed trucks with bricks so that the Arch could be completed in time!
The avenue of beautiful trees, including elms, oaks and poplars, named the Avenue of Honour, was almost 14 miles long. Bronze plates with the names and battalions of each of the fallen soldiers from Ballarat were attached to every tree. The girls and other volunteers planted the trees lovingly during cold, wet and windy weather.
The huge crowd cheered when Prince Edward arrived. He was presented with a pair of gold scissors, so that he could cut the greenery across the arch. The girls giggled when one of the heads of the firm also gave the Prince a pair of silk pyjamas which he accepted with a blush. The pyjamas had a picture of his crest on one side and a picture of Victory on the other. I somehow doubt that he wore these pyjamas when he was with the Duchess of Windsor!
* The Lucas girls worked for the Lucas clothing factory in Ballarat.