This photograph will bring back many pleasant memories about life and times in Yallourn. The picture shows Mr Wally Lacey, a most popular barber in the town for some 40 years, cutting Ray Cordell’s hair - supposedly the very last hair cut in Yallourn by Wally.
The photograph was taken in 1981, just before Mr Lacey closed his shop in Yallourn and relocated to new premises in Rutherglen Road in Newborough. Those who remember Mr Lacey will recall his great love for the outdoors and the game of chess.
VERONICA LACEY LOOKS BACK
Wally’s daughter, Veronica, has kindly assisted this website article by forwarding information about her family and also her recollections regarding growing up in Yallourn. Veronica was born in December 1945 at the Yallourn Hospital; and is one of seven children born to Wally and his wife Susannah. Veronica’s memories add another colourful chapter to the social history of Yallourn.
Note: All members of the Lacey family were actively involved in the various organizations of the town; and a list of website links has been added, at the conclusion of the article, to give younger readers an idea of the cultural and sporting life of Yallourn in earlier times.
THE EARLY YEARS OF WALTER LACEY
Walter Lacey was born in 1915 on a farm at Haddon (Ballarat). At the age of 14 his father, a mine manager, died whilst working in Malaya. Due to the widespread hardship caused by the Great Depression, Wally, like so many other young children, during those austere years, was forced to leave school and seek employment.
Despite the challenging times and the scarcity of work, Wally was fortunate to undertake and complete an apprenticeship in hairdressing in Ballarat. Little did he know, at that time, that it was the beginning of his career as a hairdresser, which would last for more than half a century.
On completion of his training, Wally set up a business in the south-western Victorian town of Ararat and he worked there for seven years. His next stop ‘along the way’ was at the Flinders Naval Base (later to be renamed HMAS Cerberus) where he honed his ‘short back and sides’ skills on hundreds of men (mainly sailors) involved in Naval duties.
WALLY LACEY ARRIVES IN YALLOURN
Veronica stated that Wally arrived in Yallourn during 1940; and worked initially, as a barber, for Mr. O’Shannasey. The shop was located on the upstairs floor of the building situated on the corner of Broadway and Centreway.
With so many men living in the camps at Yallourn, Wally was always busy; and he made many new friends and learnt much about life in Europe when speaking with the men who came into the O’Shannasey’s hairdressers. It is no secret that some amazing topics are breached, via the barber’s chair, and Wally’s days would have been far from boring.
A clever man once wrote….
“Therapy is expensive …get a haircut instead!”
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