YESTERDAY'S question of who are JC Thomas and AL Halliday, the mystery names found in the roof of Her Majesty's theatre, has been answered.
JC Thomas' son, a John Charles Thomas like his father, is a Mount Helen resident who did his painting apprenticeship with his father and also knew Les Halliday (AL Halliday), a colleague and friend of his father for many years.
The photograph in the picture that Mr Thomas is holding is of his father with Les Halliday at Her Majesty's theatre in 1948-49, around the same time the names were painted on the wall.
Only two-years-old when his father worked on Her Majesty's Theatre, he was told about the work he did there with his friend.
"I remember going to see the pictures there and looking up and thinking how it was dad's work," Mr Thomas said.
"Dad loved his job. I wasn't the greatest scholar, so dad turned around to me one day and said 'I'm getting you a pair of overalls and you're coming to work with me.'"
Mr Thomas said it was common for painters and other trades people to leave their names in unseen parts of buildings, and his name, along with his father's, could be found all over Ballarat.
"I could take you up to the highest points of the hospital and find my names," he said.
"You'll find our names all over the state offices in Camp street, up in the roofs of the big rooms at Ballarat High School, and all over the town and the country."
The names were found a few weeks ago when new board members with the marketing director Jon Harris were given an exclusive and rare tour of the building, where the writing was spotted in the roof above the arch of the theatre.
A commenter to yesterday's article online at thecourier.com.au described the names as "disgusting taggers".
Mr Thomas' wife, Kaye Thomas, said the family had found the comment entertaining.
"All the grand kids had a laugh at the thought of poppy being called a graffiti artist," Mrs Thomas said.
Her Majesty's marketing director Jon Harris is hoping to unlock some more of the theatre's history by finding out who these people were.
Mr Thomas said he would go to Her Majesty's Theatre today to meet with Mr Harris to shed a small amount of light on the building's history.
"I can understand why Her Maj wants to find out more about the history," he said.
"I've been talking to my sister today and we both would love to go up and see his name."
JC Thomas passed away in 2006 aged 92.