100 Years of the Arch of Victory – Members Statement

You can watch the video here.

On 2 June 2020 we marked an important anniversary in Ballarat: the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Arch of Victory by His Royal Highness Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales. This prominent landmark, situated in Alfredton, is significant for many reasons, including that it stands more than 16 metres tall and nearly 20 metres wide. It was constructed with more than 70 000 bricks, which were laid by local bricklayer George Brookes and his team in just three months in 1920. It also marks the entrance to our 22-kilometre Avenue of Honour that includes 3771 trees, representing each Ballarat local who served in World War I.

What is most significant to me is that the funds required to construct this grand archway did not come from a government nor from a council nor a returned servicemen’s organisation; the money was raised by more than 500 women workers of Eleanor Lucas’s lingerie factory. They were affectionately known as the Lucas girls. The cost of the trees was £2000 and this was raised by the Lucas girls at the factory by selling dolls made from material scraps. A further £2600 was raised in 1919 to build the Arch of Victory as an entrance to the Avenue of Honour. Today I honour and I salute Ballarat’s pioneering and inspirational Lucas girls for the enormous contribution they have made to our city. One hundred years on, the Arch of Victory continues to be one of Ballarat’s most treasured monuments.