Wembley Village resident Jim, is 101 years old today.
While his hearing and sight may have deteriorated in recent years, he’s doing pretty well for a 101-year-old.
He and his wife Patricia have been living in Mercy Village since 2007, before that they were in Subiaco for 25 years and before that Mount Pleasant, Salters point and a couple of years in Kalgoorlie.
Jim’s lifetime of memories provides a quick glimpse into Perth’s history.
He was born in Victoria Park and grew up mostly in Como during the Great Depression when his parents had to make money stretch to sustain Jim, his two brothers and three sisters.
Before the tough times, his father had previously been a successful builder.
His dad was also well known in Perth, having captained the 1910 East Perth premiership Aussie Rules team.
Jim’s mother was a successful seamstress.
He remembers her taking him and his siblings to school from Como to South Perth in a horse and trap.
Initially he attended a convent school in Victoria Park and later went to St Patrick’s Boys’ School in Wellington Street in the CBD, staying out of trouble to avoid the teacher’s strap.
To make a bit of money Jim and his friends would collect lost golf balls from the Royal South Perth Gold Club.
Jim fondly remembers getting his first bike.
“I used to ride to Lesmurdie up the hills and we would help ourselves to fruit from the orchard, about four of us. One orchardist chased us and one of the lads dropped his school cap!”
Jim was in the Christian Brothers between the ages of 14 and 28 and spent some of that time in New Zealand.
In the 1940s he went into teaching, he taught at Trinity College, which was on St Georges Terrace at that time, as well as Perth Tech, Wembley TAFE and a couple of regional postings.
Patricia and Jim met at a ball at St John’s Hall in Scarborough when Patricia was just a teenager and they married three years later at that same hall.
The couple had five sons, one of whom is sadly no longer around, and they also adopted a baby girl when the boys were in their teens and older.
Jim retired at the age of 60, meaning he has been retired for 41 years now, and Patricia retired a few years later giving them a chance to see more of Australia.
The couple have 13 grandchildren, five great grandchildren and another on the way.
Jim puts his longevity down to having a supportive network of friends and family around him.
"I have a loving wife, very pracytical, and I have my four loving sons to support me," he said.
“We have a very caring community here in Mercy Village, very caring.”
Jim will be celebrating his 101st birthday with family members at the home of one of his sons.