James Jolliffe
(1883-1969)

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by Bruce Fleming

hjjjnr.jpg (2996 bytes)My grandfather, Jim Jolliffe, Pop, was a quiet man who loved peace and harmony. He was a very tenacious person, attacking everything he had to do with a will to do the job well and quickly. There was little time for slacking; job and finish. He went with this attitude right to the final whistle.

As a young 26 year old shearer, Pop met Nan (a sweet seventeen year old) near Quambone, when he was shearing there. It was a love match and they were soon married and began raising a family of three girls and two boys. These folk produced 16 grandchildren 32 great-grand children and, at last count, 15 great-great-grandchildren. So, with Nan, Pop was a true achiever in all senses of the word. Together they formed a tremendous partnership. I was lucky enough to be their first grandchild, a privilege indeed. Nan managed the house and Pop managed the paid work.

He would invariably have more shorn sheep in his pen at the end of each run than any of the other shearers. Yet he seemed to give his fellow workers a start each and every time; Pop was the contractor. He therefore had responsibilities to his men, to the grazier, to himself. There are many jobs that must be done for the smooth running of a shed. So Pop had to do these jobs when time permitted. This was usually the time between runs, a half hour for rest. He would take the tally of the pens, he would pen up more sheep for the next run, he would sharpen the combs and cutters for the smooth operation of the machines. Then if he had time he could have a cup of tea and a cake, then back to the board.

Such a regime was not for many men. It was the way Jim Jolliffe was; get the job done and, in most instances, it was done by himself. Most other contractors I have known were organiser types, but my Pop was a doer in every sense of the word.

In the shed Pop would stand for no nonsense. He ran a tight, trouble-free shed. His men were allowed two bottles of beer each after cut-out each day; that was it. Do the wrong thing and you did not get another pen with Jimmy Jolliffe. So, as he was firm but fair, Pop had little trouble with out of hand shearers. The graziers appreciated this, booking his team again year after year.

Pop possessed great physical strength. He inherited this from his father, who was a noted strong man in the Central West of New South Wales with his feats. However, as with the shearing, Pop displayed his tenacity in the task of wheat lumping and stacking carried out for many years at the Canowindra Railway Yards during wheat season. The lumpers had to erect walls made from bags of wheat into which they deposited bulk wheat from the bags they carried along the walls for this purpose. A heartless gut wrenching task at any time, let alone in the full blast of our Australian Summer.

At the conclusion of the wheat season, Pop and Nan would head for the coast. To The Entrance, where they would erect their tent and pursue the good life, by the sea. Pop loved the foods from the sea and his greatest delight was to spend the darkest of nights in his boat with his Tilley light catching kerosene tins of prawns and other delicacies. I am unable to relate much about this area of Pop and Nan's life as I was only able to go camping with them on one occasion. I would have been nine or ten.

One thing I recall of Pop, was, as a small child, I sat on his knee and "steered" the "bus", as he called his ute, on the way to the football. There we were; Nan and Pop with me driving. Pop was a quiet man who I often recall quietly chuckling about some thing or other one of us kids had done.

Jim Jolliffe, my Pop, was a lovely man. I am lucky that he was my Pop.