Jim Clarke OAM

“An old dog for a hard road; puppies for pavements”

The featured image shows Strathearn CEO Matt Downie, Kate Mailer, Jim Clarke OAM and Bill Howey at the official opening of Strathearn House on Sunday 17th July 2017

Jim Clark OAM

There is little doubt that after our illustrious founder Dr Walter Osmond Pye MBE the late Jim Clark OAM has made the greatest single contribution to the Upper Hunter Village Association (UHVA) now known as Strathearn Village.

Jim Clark was a member of the very first board of the UHVA in 1972. He gave more than 45 years of dedicated service to the seminal organisation devoted to care for the needy aging cohort in our community. Jim was selfless in his commitment, devotion, determination, passion, zeal and stamina. Jim went well above and beyond the generally accepted ‘norms’ of voluntary community service. Never afraid to get stuck in Jim led the team to fit curtains to the first nursing home in Stafford Street. Supervised by Mrs Beryl Hearns the curtains and screens were assembled over three days in Scout Hall in Main Street. Clark’s furniture store supplied all the materials at cost. Residents allocated to the inaugural 28 beds were able to make their own selection. Audrey Entwisle, Judith Smith, Judith Archibald and Helen Mary Street formed the cutting, pinning, sewing and ironing claque. Jim and his cadre hung all the curtains one Saturday. It mattered little that some readjustment by Mrs Hearns was necessary.

Jim Clark was one of three UHVA board members who collected rents from residents in Villa Maria, Park Street, Joan Street and Susan Street Villas. This kept the organisation afloat. In addition Jim provided a very personal honorary service for as many as twelve severely restricted lady residents by doing their weekly shopping for them. This was entirely in keeping with his mantra and sometimes left him a few dollars short himself. All this pre-empted the many similar services now provided by Strathearn Village and other suppliers. This was selfless devotion at its very best. It surprised no-one and delighted most when Jim Clark was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Jim Clark must have seemed like Santa Claus to some of these confined and constricted residents. In fact Santa Claus was another role Jim performed annually throughout the community. Jim stuck with the organisation throughout the vicissitudes of re-invention, re-branding and re-emergence as Strathearn Village. The construction of Strathearn House on Gundy Road gave him enormous satisfaction. It was most fitting that Jim Clark OAM was the special guest at the official opening of the new facility on Sunday 17th July 2016. It was poetic justice that Jim was able avail himself, albeit it briefly, of its exceptional facilities towards the very end of his long and productive life. RIP Jim Clark OAM

W. P. H.

22/06/2017

Footnote:

Within a very short space of time (December 2017) the formerly community owned Starthearn Village became a fully owned subsidiary of HammondCare. Jim Clarke would not have been amused!