Ronald Stark Luke was born at Wellington, New Zealand, on 15 March 1907, son of New Zealand born John Pearce Luke, engineer, and his English wife Jane Sewell nee Stark. Ron was educated at Kilbirnie School, New Zealand and then at King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford. His grandfather was Sir John Pearce Luke, MP and Mayor of Wellington in the 1920s. On 26 March 1932 at All Saints Church, Kilbirnie, he married Vera Summerhayes Tolan. He died at Manly on his 82nd birthday on 15 March 1989, survived by daughters Valerie and Ngaire, and sisters Lorna and Betty. He was cremated at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium.
Occupation & interests
Ronald Luke arrived in Australia in 1935 to become Australian General Manager and later Director of the Irish Spinning and Weaving Company. He stayed with the company in Sydney until 1977. He was a member of the Executive of the Local Government Association, later becoming at various times President, Vice-President and Treasurer. He was President of the Australian Council of Local Government Associations. He was also a member of the Local Government Superannuation Board. After 17 years as an Alderman he wrote a humorous and satirical illustrated book about local government titled A Cuckoo in the Mayor’s Nest: An explanation of why councils are always in chambers – and other dubious acts (1961).
Luke was a Councillor of the Royal Commonwealth Society. He was involved in voluntary public service for 40 years and edited the Shire and Municipal Record from 1955 to 1974. He was also a member and trustee of the AR Bluett Memorial Trust, 195785. He was passionate about basketball and was Hon Treasurer 1939-48 of the Amateur Basketball Association of NSW, Vice President 1949, President 1959-60 and in 1964 was made a life member.
Honours & awards
Ronald Luke was awarded an OBE in 1962 for services to local government.
Local government service
Ronald Luke was an Alderman of the Mosman Municipal Council, 1944–72 and Mayor of Mosman Municipality, 1947–49.
Luke was Alderman for Gipps Ward, 5 December 1959 to 30 November 1962. He was a member of the Finance Committee, 1960–62 and the City Planning and Improvements Committee, 1960–62. Luke was Council’s representative on the NSW State Planning Authority, 1964–72. He was a delegate to the Cumberland County Council, 1949–64 and its Chairman 1951–57. He also served on the Minister’s Town and Country Planning Advisory Committee and helped formulate the greenbelt concept for Sydney.
Lisa Murray, ‘Luke, Ronald Stark (Ron) (1907–1989)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/luke-ronald-stark-ron-14180/text25192, accessed 3 January 2013.
City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files
Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW: Jack Small – papers concerning the compilation of ‘Basketball in New South Wales: a History’, 1936-1992 MLMSS 5990/22-26