The Lane Cove History Prize is now in its third year. The winning entries of the last two years have provided moving and entertaining evidence of the lives of local people in Lane Cove. They testify to the value of recording local history.
The 2016 entry by Margaret Clark, was entitled Arthur, Luce and the Fleur-de-lis 1916-2016. A History of the Fence at 444 College Road South Riverview, NSW. This essay, which was very carefully researched, provided a well written and well-illustrated history of a World War I soldier, Arthur Frederick King, and his French wife, Luce Marie Victoire, who settled together in Riverview after the War. Arthur served in the Somme and was badly wounded. While convalescing after his injury, Arthur met Luce, and the meeting changed their lives forever. Despite some disappointment expressed by Luce’s parents, they married and travelled to Australia. Margaret Clark traces their story very movingly, dwelling in some detail on the home that Arthur built for Luce in Riverview, with its distinctive fence, made of wrought iron panels representing fleur de lis, the symbol of Luce’s French family. The house is now gone, though the wonderful fence that Arthur built his wife remains, a reminder of their love story.
In 2017, Simon Cole provided an oral history documenting the life of a local identity, 96-year old Les Heap, whose varied life experiences included some memorable incidents working at the Cockatoo shipyards in the Second World War. Simon recorded a long interview with Les, who had witnessed many changes in Sydney in the course of his long life. He grew up in Narrabri and in the Depression, he travelled to Sydney where he trained as a fitter and turner in Balmain. He worked on Cockatoo Island during World War II, and, among other things, had a role in building ships for the Royal Australian Navy. After the war, he set up his own successful business manufacturing rakes for sale throughout Australia. He settled in Lane Cove with his wife and has remained an active and highly regarded local identity, having been awarded the Lane Cove Council Citizenship Award in 2011.
Both these winning entries were published in the Society’s journal. In addition, copies of the winning entries are held in the archives of the Lane Cove Historical Society.