Eleanor was the daughter of John Hargreaves of Bradford, Yorkshire, England. She attended school between the ages of 12 and 14 – but economic circumstances saw her leave school for work at age 14.
When she was 18 years old she married a prospector – John Pittard Price. They had three sons (including Edward Hargreaves Price)and three daughters. Two of their sons died before 1873; and John Pittard Price died in an accidental fall at Kelsall’s Soap Works in 1873 – leaving the family penniless. Donations from the community provided Eleanor with the means to purchase a four-roomed cottage in James Street, Ballarat East and a sewing machine. In a small room in her little cottage, Eleanor was to begin an enterprise that would later become the Lucas Clothing Factory. Eleanor remarried in 1886 to Redan’s widowed miner, William Lucas. William died two years later and Eleanor returned to her cottage in James Street. Two of her daughters joined her in the sewing, necessitating additions to the cottage. A further twelve sewing machines were added and Eleanor was able to hire sixteen girls to make shirts and whitework.
Eleanor Lucas was known as an incredibly generous woman and through her works with the Ballarat Churches of Christ (at their Peel Street Church and Dawson Street Church) and charitable donations from the Lucas Clothing Factory Eleanor made a difference in so many people’s lives. For the population of Ballarat she is most fondly remembered as the matriarch of the Lucas Clothing Factory – whose Lucas Girls were the driving force behind the establishment of the Ballarat Avenue of Honour and the Ballarat Arch of Victory.