Park puzzle solved

THERE’S barely a mention on the web of how “CET (Dick) Lucas Park” in Bayswater got its name, or who it was intended to honour.

To get to the bottom of the moniker the chook tracked down Mr Lucas’ son, who turned out to be City of Swan mayor Dave Lucas. He was happy to share the tale.

“Yes, the park is named after my late father Cecil Edwin Thomas Lucas, known to everyone as Dick.”

He was awarded the Service Medal of The Order of St John and the British Empire Medal for his long service to St John Ambulance.

• Phyllis, the widow of CET ‘Dick’ Lucas, and their son Dave. Photo by Steve Grant

Saving lives

The elder Lucas was involved with the ambos as a youngster in Southend on Sea, and then went on to serve as a medical officer in the British Royal Navy in WW2.

He moved to WA with his wife Phyllis in the mid 1950s and joined the Australian Navy.

Mr Lucas says his father, who was called “Dick” by family and friends since he was a boy, learned the critical importance of first aid in saving lives and dedicated his life to passing on those skills.

“He fundraised for several years and convinced the City of Bayswater to gift the virgin block of land at the intersection of Collier and Crimea, the site of the current ambulance centre, to be used as a St John sub-centre.

“I remember us chopping and sawing down trees on that virgin block of land in the early 70s to get the site ready for the building. He virtually raised all the money and had the centre built with the money he raised.”

Mr Lucas says “he then taught first aid at that centre to thousands of people until his passing on January 27, 1991.

“He passed away from mesothelioma as a result of him working as the first aid officer at the blue asbestos mine in Wittenoom in the early 1960’s.”

His wife, Phyllis, was the first woman to go into the mine as his assistant.

“The day before he passed away he was awarded the City of Bayswater Citizen of the Decade for his long and distinguished service to St John and for constructing the St. John Ambulance Centre in Morley.

“After my father’s passing the City of Bayswater through the then mayor John D’Orazio decided to name the small park on the corner of the site CET (Dick) Lucas Park, as dad was known to most in the City as Mr St John.”

In 2013 a new $2.2 million expansion to the St Johns Ambulance depot was completed adjacent to the park, featuring a photograph and plaque of Cecil Dick Lucas to honour him as the founder of the inaugural centre.

by DAVID BELL

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