Ann Hughes celebrates the community achievements of Florrie Lucas, who at 98 years claimed two medals in this year's Master Games

Florence Lucas (nee Warner) was born on June 30 1919. She was the second child of parents, Thomas and Ruth Warner of Dawson, South Australia.

Dawson, now a ‘ghost town’, was situated about sixteen miles from Peterborough.

The family lived on a property for a few years before moving to a more productive property at Belalie, where Florrie began her schooling in a one-teacher school.

Florrie walked the mile and half distance both ways with her elder sister, Elsie. The family did seem to be on the move for greater and more productive opportunities, quite often. The next move, a few years later, was to Henley Beach followed later by another move to Murray Bridge.

While at Henley Beach, Thomas bought and uncleared block at Halidon in the Mallee region out from Karoonda. He continued to clear the block during the week and returned home at weekends.

Florrie continued with her schooling at the Murray Bridge North school, the only one in the town, and still walked the one and half miles to and from her home.

The depression years proved difficult times for the family and moving seemed to offer a source for better work opportunities.

A few years later another move for the family was to Jervois where Thomas ran a dairy. Florrie attended the Woods Point School and gained her QC in 1932. 

Continuing her secondary education meant she would have had to leave home to board in Murray Bridge or beyond, this proved yet another hardship for the family.

However, Florrie was able to attend dressmaking classes over the river at Tailem Bend for a period of three years.

To get to the classes, Florrie rode her horse to the ferry, tied it up and off she went then repeated the process to get home again.

Florrie sewed for her family, friends and others, which was a good way to earn some extra money and support her family.  After a few years there, the family moved back into Murray Bridge whilst her father took on properties at Sherlock and later at Yumali.

Within this movement, from one place to another, there seemed to be a distinct pattern of three to four years between the shifts. Rather unsettling, but the children, now seven in all, seemed to adjust to the situations well.

Florrie lived at home and had plenty to keep her happily occupied with sewing, gardening, going to dances and helping her mother and continued with her dressmaking to earn a small and regular income.

Florrie married Charlie Lucas in 1942 and they ran a fruit and vegetable shop for many years. Florrie and Charlie had two children, Gwenda and a son who later died.

Soon after, Charlie enlisted into the Army leaving Florrie and her sister-in-law, Kath, to manage the business and dispatch all the local orders.

Florrie’s reliable mode of transport for many years was on her trusty bicycle or by foot power.

The pair made their deliveries by bike to the hospital, hotel, boarding houses and to the railway station to put the orders on the trains to the outlying Mallee stations. They ran a successful business during those war years.

Over the years, Florrie did her fair share of voluntary work around the town. She served on various committees for the Schools and Hospital Auxillary. In 1962 she joined the Murray Bridge RSL Womens’ Bowling Club as an inaugural member.

She has had and continues to have an impressive and successful membership and playing career. In addition, over the years she has also fulfilled an important role in the administration of the club.

Florrie served as president for two years, has a combined total of 18 years on various administrative sub -committees, served as an association delegate and a selector for both the club and the association.

Her presence on sub-committees for the catering, social, club tournaments and the like have been recognised. She has also been an active member of the local Legacy group for many years until its closure in 2017.

It is her dedication to the sport, her club and to her fellow members which places this quiet, kindly woman a step or more above the average bowler. She is a legend. 

She is a master of the game, knows all the rules and protocols and one who is willing to assist others. Florrie is always the first to put her hand up when helpers are needed at club events and happily dons her apron, rolls up her sleeves and lend a hand.

Florrie has become a proven club representative in teams and tournaments. It is a well-known fact that Florrie delights in making up the numbers in a team to ensure the club is represented.

She generally supports inter club competitions as well as making up a team to go to tournaments and always gives 110 per cent in whatever she does.

During 2018, Florrie played in all club competitions, played in a couple of tournaments and played in the winning team in the Lower Murray Association Fours.

In April, Florrie “made up the numbers” and played in the Masters Games hosted by the club at the RSL greens in April 2018 where she came away with one or two medals - all our members stand in awe of this truly remarkable lady.

Florrie turned 99 years ‘young’ on June 30 and she’s still attending the monthly meetings and is already looking forward to the club’s Sunday social bowls due to commence in a few weeks time.

In March 2018, Florrie received her Life membership of the Murray Bridge RSL Bowling Club for 56 years of continuous service.