Bretislav Lukes was born on 12 January 1922 in Stankou in Czechoslovakia. During World War II he worked for the German Junkers aircraft factory. After the War he trained as an electrician while in an International Refugee Organisation (IOR) displaced persons camp. In 1950 he migrated to Melbourne, Australia, travelling from Germany via Bremen on the ship 'Goya'. When he arrived Bretislav was sent straight to Bonegilla Migrant Reception Centre in northern Victoria where he was given work on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme and then the Australian Iron and Steel at Port Kembla in 1950.
Lukes moved to Melbourne where he lived first in St Albans and then moved to Burwood East. In Melbourne he worked in the Myer workshop as a TV repair man, before moving to Watson Victa in 1952 where he made x-ray machines. In 1960 he began working as a technician in the Physics Department at Swinburne Institute of Technology. In Australia Bretislav was known as 'Bob', he belonged to an amateur radio club, he never married, and spoke English as well as Czech and German. Over the years he returned to Czechoslovakia and other countries and stayed in touch with his family, his father Emil Lukes who died in 1967, his mother Marie Lukesova and two sisters. He died in 2004.