Henry Lucke’s work re­mem­bered in art ex­hi­bi­tion

Central Queensland News - - FRONT PAGE - Louise Shan­non Louise.Shan­non@news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

HENRY Lucke had big, strong “work­horse” hands matched, his daugh­ter says, only by his big, strong heart.

Ros­alie Lucke, the youngest of Mr Lucke’s three daugh­ters, says her fa­ther’s ag­ile hands have left a legacy that will be passed through the gen­er­a­tions, and cel­e­brated at an ex­hi­bi­tion in Spring­sure tonight, four months af­ter he died at the age of 88.

While Mr Lucke was a tal­ented sportsper­son, a suc­cess­ful farmer and busi­ness­man, and a keen dancer, it was his life­long love of cross-stitch – sparked many years ago dur­ing his re­cov­ery from po­lio – that will be re­mem­bered at the ‘Count­ing Stitches’ gallery dis­play of more than 50 of his needle­work pieces.

“And his very first piece is now part of the ex­hi­bi­tion, and was found in his drawer af­ter his death in May,” Ros­alie says.

Mr Lucke – “a true gen­tle­man”, says Ros­alie – was well known in the Mt Lar­com dis­tricts of Cedar­vale and Bracewell where he grew up and his fam­ily dab­bled in dairy, small crops and peanuts, even­tu­ally be­com­ing pig and poul­try pro­duc­ers on the fam­ily farm, ‘Sunny View’, in Bracewell.

“As a young man, he would walk for miles to go to the dance at night and he played ten­nis and cricket all over the district,” Ros­alie says.

With his three broth­ers, he went on to run a suc­cess­ful poul­try abat­toir and pig­gery busi­ness, C Lucke and Sons, in Mt Lar­com.

But, when he was 21, Mr Lucke was struck with po­lio and, while re­cu­per­at­ing and re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing for 10 months in the Rock­hamp­ton Base Hospi­tal and Royal Bris­bane Hospi­tal, he was taught needle­work and leather­work as part of the pre­scribed ther­apy to re­gain dex­ter­ity in his fin­gers.

“He re­ally liked it, but he’d never done it be­fore. He’d al­ways worked on the land and done phys­i­cal work like plough­ing and work­ing the horses,” Ros­alie says.

“He had been very good at sewing up the peanut bags when he was about 16, so he had al­ways been good with a nee­dle and thread. He was the fastest bag sewer in the district!”

Ros­alie says that when her fa­ther – the sec­ond of seven chil­dren – re­turned home in 1952, he worked again for the fam­ily busi­ness.

“Po­lio left him un­able to run, he walked with a limp and was un­able to raise his right arm above his head.

“He was very lucky to sur­vive but, in those days, he wasn’t thought of as dis­abled.”

Ros­alie says her fa­ther – al­ways a man with an ap­ti­tude for maths, num­bers and count­ing – was in charge of the books and man­ag­ing the peo­ple, while also con­tin­u­ing to be very phys­i­cal on the farm.

“He used to chop the heads off the chick­ens and he worked very hard. No­body made al­lowances for his dis­abil­ity and he was proud of the fact that he al­ways contributed.

❝ He said he couldn’t draw to save his life, but he could do this. — Ros­alie Lucke

“He lost his sport­ing side but he en­joyed still be­ing able to work and have in­ter­ac­tions with other peo­ple.”

In 1962, Henry met the “love of his life”, Hazel Adams, at the Mount Lar­com ten­nis courts.

The cou­ple mar­ried in Rock­hamp­ton in 1963 and had three chil­dren: Irene, Ailsa and Ros­alie.

Years later, in 1978, Mr Lucke again picked up a nee­dle and thread and fin­ished his first cross-stitch.

Ros­alie says her fa­ther had copied a sim­ple street de­sign from a Fam­ily Cir­cle mag­a­zine, and then found him­self pur­su­ing his hobby with a pas­sion as it helped him to re­lax from the pres­sures of run­ning a fam­ily busi­ness.

“In the years un­til his re­tire­ment in late 1994, he also tried his hand at match­stick craft, pebble craft and paint by num­bers,” she says.

“He was al­ways very good at fig­ures and num­bers and there’s lots of count­ing and de­tail in­volved in cross-stitch. He said he couldn’t draw to save his life, but he could do this.”

Af­ter he re­tired, Mr Lucke de­voted more time to cross-stitch and bowls with his friends, and in 2006 he and Hazel moved to be closer to her fam­ily in Croy­don Hills. near Spring­sure.

“His later years were a pro­lific time for cross-stitch­ing and much of his work was com­pleted over the last 20 years. He could of­ten be found sit­ting in his chair, his loom over his lap and the ABC news on the tele­vi­sion. He’d spend hours and hours on it each day.”

In 2014, how­ever, Mr Lucke suf­fered from post-po­lio, and lost his abil­ity to walk.

He used a wheel­chair, and even­tu­ally moved into the aged per­sons home, Wood­bine Lodge, at the Spring­sure Hospi­tal.

He had won “count­less” awards at lo­cal shows and at the ex­hi­bi­tion for his cross-stitch pieces, many of which have now been col­lected from around the state to dis­play.

“Right up un­til his got sick the week be­fore his death, ev­ery day was spent sit­ting in his chair do­ing his beloved cross-stitch,” Ros­alie says.

“Through­out all his bat­tles, needle­work was his con­stant.

“It kept his mind and hands busy and he en­joyed the rou­tine it gave his days. He loved num­bers and count­ing stitches be­came his ‘thing’.”

Count­ing Stitches, which runs un­til Novem­ber 4, will be held at the Spring­sure Art Gallery, open­ing tonight from 6pm.


Count­ing Stitches is a col­lec­tion of more than 50 needle­work pieces, in­clud­ing cross-stitch, tapestry and some long stitch by Henry Lucke who spent every day sit­ting in his chair do­ing his beloved cross stitch.


Count­ing Stitches ex­hi­bi­tion will be at the Spring­sure Art Gallery from Oc­to­ber 20. It is a col­lec­tion of more than 50 nee­dle work pieces, in­clud­ing cross-stitch, tapestry and some long stitch by Henry Lucke who died in May 2017. Right up un­til his got...

Henry Lucke spent every day sit­ting in his chair do­ing his beloved cross stitch.

Some of the ex­hibits from Count­ing Stitches.

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