Faida Luke thought she was terribly organised when she was booking the church for her upcoming wedding to her beau Robert in November 1956, but she overlooked one detail – the Melbourne Olympic Games.
Faida was a Main Road girl, while her intended lived in Wendouree. In between them and their church lay the Ballarat Olympic Village, home to the rowing athletes billeted here.
“My husband – well boyfriend at that stage – his group got caught in a traffic jam because of the village,” says Faida.
“Grevillea Road and Norman Street: they weren’t even thought of then. There was only Gillies Street, and the black taxis we hired told us we could be quite late. Well going past the Town Hall I was 20 minutes late.”
Faida and Robert Luke celebrated 60 years of marriage on November 24. Faida says the Wendouree Athletic Club was a big focus of their lives, with Bob being made a life member of the club in the 1990s.
“Of course when we headed to Melbourne on the train to start our honeymoon, well all the people that were about! And there was nowhere to stay at all. We knew the Olympics were about, but we didn’t know exactly when – until I went to book somewhere to stay.”
To cap it off, Bob was allocated a leg of the Olympic Torch relay between Daylesford and Ballarat, but had to forgo it for a pantry tea that was being held for the newlyweds.
Robert and Faida returned to Ballarat and later raised their four children here.