AT A GLANCE
Born: Nunawading on July 5, 1955.
Children: Corey, Tully, Madeline and Flurry.
Parents: Ernie and Molly.
Siblings: Hugh and Jen.
Education: Nunawading Primary School then Berwick Primary School. Secondary education was at Dandenong Technical School.
Sporting highlight: winning a gold medal in the Masters Division of surf boat rowing for the Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club.
Jim, let's talk about your younger days. I take it you grew up in the Dandenong area of Melbourne.
What are your memories of those days?
They were pretty tough days.
We lived on a share farm at Berwick back in the 1960s.
The area is now is full of houses instead of farmland.
I can remember there were a lot of immigrant kids going to primary school at Nunawading.
They were mainly Irish and Dutch children.
There were a couple of big factories in the Dandenong area for GMH, Heinz and International Harvester, so there were always kids around and often there would be fights.
We seemed to always be busy on the dairy farm.
I had an agreement with my brother Hugh that I would play junior and senior footy at Berwick in the winter months while he played cricket over the summer.
My parents never encouraged us to play sport.
They thought it was more important that we stayed at home and did the jobs around the farm before I went and got a job as an apprentice carpenter.
When did you move to the Western District?
My parents took over a 250-acre farm at Dartmoor in 1972.
Once again it was tough work on the farm but I ended up getting a job with Softwood Holdings in Dartmoor.
They were a very big business in cutting down trees - mainly pine trees.
I worked with them for three years.
There were some very big trees which we cut down.
The first thinning would be for trees aged about 18 years old.
The second thinning was for trees 25 years and believe me, they were huge trees with massive girths.
It was a dangerous and hard job.
There was one really good thing that came out of my time working around Dartmoor.
What was the good thing?
I met my future wife Dianne.
I've still got memories of going to the store at Winnap where Dianne worked and getting an Eskimo Pie ice cream.
I reckon I went there each day for six months after work to get an ice cream and was always talking to Dianne.
Then I got up a bit of courage so I phoned Dianne up one night and asked her out and she asked who was I.
I must admit that deflated me a bit but we went out and now we've four grown up children.
Dianne and I moved to Penshurst in 1978 for two years before going to Port Fairy to live in 1980.
Jim, you mentioned your sporting highlight was taking part in the Masters Division of surf rowing for the Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club.
Who were some of the members that took part in those events with you over the years?
There's been a few blokes including Greg Dalton, Scott Hetherington, Les Lynch, Paul Buchanan, Stewie Green, Dean Dwyer, Peter Hill and Shaun Murrihy that were involved back in the era from the 1990s into the 2000s.
We competed in a lot of events all over the place but mainly down around Lorne, Apollo Bay and Anglesea.
I've got the most utmost respect for all the blokes who used to take part in those events.
They were fit and brave and all top blokes.
Have you filled many roles at the Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club over the years?
I'm a life member of the club.
I can remember many years ago when there were not too many members at the Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club.
I've got fond memories of getting dressed up as Father Christmas and going out from the Moyne River in the rubber duck and come back down the bay to the surf club to give out Christmas presents to the young children.
I did that for many years.
I've got to acknowledge all the hard work that Paul Buchanan has put in behind the scenes in his role to set up a family environment within the club.
He's done a remarkable job.
I filled the role as club captain for four years which saw me helping organise patrols, squads plus rosters over the summer months.
I've been up close to witness some tragedies in my time with the club relating to drownings.
Port Fairy is very lucky to have a person like Russell Williams working behind the scenes in the Port Fairy Marine Rescue.
He's got an amazing understanding of tides and the sea and is always there offering a hand when it's most needed.
I was also involved with the Port Fairy Football Netball Club as a trainer for many years.
I started out as the under 12 coach with the kids before getting involved as a trainer.
The role takes up a lot of time.
It's a big commitment but it's worth being involved in putting something back into the local community.
I'll never forget I was one of the trainers when Port Fairy got smashed by Cobden in the 1997 grand final.
Our blokes never turned up to play on that day.
My main wish relating to local footy now is to see the senior footy side at Port Fairy win another flag.
Jim, you mentioned the word community and you've been involved in numerous projects around Port Fairy in your job as a builder, and one of those is the heated swimming pool at Belfast Aquatics. How did that come about?
It was a facility which was needed in the town as it helps people of all ages.
With the help of Michael Steel we came up with a few ideas relating to a heated pool in Port Fairy on a shoe string budget.
It's been open for a fair few years and is a great asset for the local community.