A Lucas Girl.
Bertha Ham was born on the 18th February 1905 at the family home in Ainley Street, Ballarat East. She attended Brown Hill and Dean State School after which her education continued at Ballarat High. After twelve months at Ballarat High and at the age of fifteen she began work as a dressmaker at the Lucas factory, which employed about five hundred females and only two males. One man undertook maintenance on the machinery and the other did the deliveries to the railway station.
Bertha planted a tree at the Avenue of Honour and was at the official opening of the Arch of Victory, a project in which the Lucas girls were so prominent. The Lucas girls formed on one side of the arch while the public formed on the other and the opening was performed by a royal visitor, the Duke of York, who was presented with satin pyjamas from the Lucas staff. The pyjamas had been made by the Lucas girls and they had all inserted several stitches into the royal garments.
Bertha left Lucas’s in 1929 when she married Charles Clyde Bowman and they resided at 101 Leith Street Ballarat. They had three children, Basil, Graeme and Zelma. Her husband ran a poultry farm with hundreds of chooks at his parent’s home at 205 Campbells Crescent. Bertha and Clyde has a magnificent gig, which was one of the best in the district and each Sunday they went to Bertha’s mother’s in Brown Hill for lunch.
Bertha was heavily involved with school mothers’ clubs and the Scouting movement. She served the 6th Ballarat group for forty years which included thirty years on the committee and was awarded a Thanks Badge, which was the highest award made by the Scouting movement. She also organised concerts and fundraisers to that the boys could go to the Scout Jamborees. Bertha also devoted much time to community committees including the church and the Guiding movement, the Fidelity Club and her husband’s Lodge. She undertook service with Urquhart Street Primary School, Junior Technical School and Girl’s School Mothers’ Clubs. Bertha was also involved with the Lucas Past Employees. After WWII the poultry farm was sold and Clyde worked at the paper mills for about twenty years.
Bertha died at the age of 102 on the 10th February 2008.
Bertha is buried with Clyde at the Ballarat New Cemetery Tanderra Lawn Grave 240