Margaret, being one of a family of eleven, was born at Ballarat in 1913 and her daughter Raelene was born in 1940.
Margaret, being one of a family of eleven, was born at Ballarat in 1913 and her daughter Raelene, who had one brother, was born in 1940. They both worked at the renowned Lucas factory.
Margaret was educated at Macarthur Street State School and began work as a machinist at Luca’s in 1929. Raeleen was educated at Queen Street and the Girls Secondary School and began work at Luca’s in 1956. When Margaret bean there were sections for underwear, baby wear, college wear, ordinary wear and evening wear which was known as Madam’s Department. There was a staff of approx. 500. Raeleen joined when there was an underwear and dresses section and a more up to date Madam’s Department staff of three to four hundred. The building had had a serious fire and been rebuilt before Raeleen commenced. Margaret began work at 8 a.m. and finished at 5.45 p.m. with clocking on consisting of the removal of a coin from one place and dropping it into a box. If you were late your name was entered into a book. In times when work was slack the employees were given time off without pay. This was also the situation when Raeleen, who worked from 7.55 a.m. till 5 p.m. with a 4 p.m. Friday finish, was employed there.
When Margaret began, all the machinery was driven from overhead belts and each girl completed a whole dress herself with the benefit of a live model to assist fitting. By the time Raeleen began, modern electricity meant that the machine was simply of the plug in variety, mass production was in vogue and there were no live models as such. When Margaret was employed at Lucas’s the then popular fancy work was done by the Beaders and Smocking Department. She worked for 10 shillings per week, whilst a quarter of a century later Raeleen was receiving 2 pounds and by the time of decimalisation in 1966, about $40. With the Lucas staff being responsible for the Arch of Victory and the Avenue of Honour, Margaret’s wages were deducted once a month by a penny for each 10 Shillings earned. During Raeleen’s service Lucas’s supported cricket and badminton teams, their Social Club ran dances and the employees mixed socially away from work.
Between 1934 and 1936, the two years before her marriage, Margaret went to work at Morley’s Mill which manufactured their own material for their menswear. They originally brought out weaving experts from England to teach their trade. At Morley’s the girls had to obtain 100 points a week which was in effect a production quote and unlike Lucas’s did not get a break from their machines. Margaret considers that Lucas’s were a better company to work for. When Raeleen was employed at Lucas’s it was however known that catholics were not employd and if you came back to work after being married you would be the first to go in times of difficulty. Lucas and Morley were bought out by Courtauld Hilton and combined at Morley’s site, where the Lucas building on the south west corner of Doveton and Dana Street being sold to Target. Ultimately Exacto took over from Courtauld but business finally ceased on the 29th September 1986.
Margaret died in October 2001 and Raeleen in December 2020. Mother and daughter are buried together at the Ballarat New Cemetery, Lawn K Row 10 Grave 2.