Obituary: Carlton legend Jim Clark

Jim Clark, one of Carlton’s last surviving members of the infamous “Bloodbath” Grand Final of 1945, has died in his hometown of Echuca at the age of 88. Jim, who by the age of 22 had played his part in both the ’45 and ’47 Premierships, was also a three-time Victorian representative and, at 26, the winner of the ’51 Robert Reynolds Trophy for Club Champion.

Click the link below for Tony De Bolfo’s article on Jim:

http://www.carltonfc.com.au/news/2013-08-20/and-then-there-were-three

All comments welcome below.

Comments

  1. Terrific tribute, thanks Tony.

  2. Nice to see you pop up on the Almanac. Nice to think in those days that country clubs could compete with the big clubs in the city for players.

  3. Tony De Bolfo says:

    Thankyou sincerely. Jim was a true gentleman, a wonderful raconteur and the club is indeed fortunate he committed his stories to film when he was interviewed a few years ago.

  4. Rochester Rocket says:

    Sad to learn of the passing of my first senior coach, Jim “The Racehorse” Clark at Rochy when we when back into the Goulburn Valley league in 1973 after being kept out of footy for a year by the Bendigo FL.

    It was a major controversy at the time because he was so identified with the mortal enemy, Echuca – where he went to coach after playing for Carlton. He was a great choice as the Rochy team was very young – so many players didn’t return…

    Even at age 45 – wearing his old Carlton footy jumper and black footy nicks – he would outpace most of us at training – “moving guernsey gets it ” was his mantra.

    jim was a great footy bloke. After coaching Echuca he went to Echuca East and coached them to a string of flags, then to Tongala as non-playing coach in the GVL (also coached the inter-league team), then to Gunbower in the Northern District league, and then, I think to Bunnaloo in the Echuca league where he pulled on the boots. He just loved the game and the people in it.

    He was much loved at Rochy – where his warmth and generosity for the players and supporters quickly overcame his Echuca origins. Although not successful on the field, it was a very happy club, mostly down to Jim’s inclusiveness.

    I recall his last coaching assignment was the Echuca Thirds which he coached to a flag in 1976.

    I last saw him at a Rochy-Echuca match in Echuca about ten years ago. Wearing his trademark felt hat – he recognised me instantly even though I’d been gone from the district for a very long time – and we had a long chat about footy…

    A terrific bloke.

    Great to see Tony De Bolfo honouring Carlton’s players in this way – on ya Beastie!

  5. Terrific tribute to someone who was obviously a good man and footballer. I loved the part about Jimmy Park in the story and the ‘wrong war’ anecdote. They were different times but they shaped great character and characters. Thanks Tony.

  6. Rochester Rocket says:

    MY FORMER ROCHY TEAM-MATE AND SCHOOL FRIEND, BRUCE KIRCHHOFER SENT ME THIS REPORT OF THE FUNERAL

    I am aware of his passing. I drove up to Echuca for his funeral yesterday. The chapel was full and many stories were shared before and after the service.

    Jim was in the same Care Institution as my dad, and always on fortnightly visits I would stop to say “hi”. He was stricken with Alzheimers and had his moments. If you offered your hand to him, he would not let the strong grasp go until he was finished with his conversation or you insisted you had to leave (usually the latter).

    The Riv Herald and Shepp News had features on him in the Aug. 23 edition. Your link gives half of the feature, try to get Noel Hussey’s tribute from both papers.

    The service started with the song Danny Boy, followed by the celebrant, a Dylan Thomas poem (Do not go gently into that good night).

    His son Greg did the eulogy which was heavy with sports info. I believe that after this Elmore boy left Carlton (1943-51, 161 games, 2 goals, 2 premierships, 3 Vic representations, 1 B+F and Carlton FC hall of fame), he coached Echuca (runner up B+F Bendigo League 1953), Echuca East (1956-60 and 1963 – 5 Premierships), Lockington, Bunnaloo, Tongala, Gunbower, Rochester and Echuca thirds (1976 premiers and champions).

    There was a reflection through photos, Psalm 23 and as he left the chapel the Carlton FC song was played.

    My brother Roger has kept the Echuca Football League Circles from 1965. Echuca South defeated Locky 6-9 to 5-12 that year in the prelim. The Lockington Personalia described him,

    “Jim Clark 40 yo.,5ft 9in, 12 st 4lb, Ex Carlton FC and Victorian half back flanker. In his second year as coach. Jim needs no introduction to the football world. As a coach and player he has no peer. A wonderful leader who can get the best from his players – Engineering fitter and turner”.

    In 1946 he won the 75 yard sprint at Stawell. In 1967 he coached the Goulburn Valley to inter-league champions. He was the Echuca Bowls Cub champ in 1976.

    He loved a punt, a beer and a talk.

    When I joined Rochy in 1973 as a VCE student, he used to drive me home to Tennyson after training. The year after when I started tertiary in Melbourne, he sought Jim Cardwell’s (Melbourne FC) approval for his city based Rochy boys to train on the MCG with the Melbourne thirds.

    I bought a car (Toyota Corona) from him when he was selling them. I drove my Mini from Melbourne to Kilmore, he drove father Fred and the car to Kilmore. The deal was done outside the Bowls Club.

    At the service someone read out his Echuca region best football team. The Kirchhofer’s were represented by Uncle Jack (he also coached Echuca) on the back flank.

    Lots of wonderful memories.

  7. Peter Fuller says:

    Tony,
    Many thanks for this wonderful tribute. Jim pre-dated my conscious footy memories, but you have brought him to life for us. Thanks also for posters who provided important context with some great stories of his post-VFL career.

  8. Paul Daffey says:

    Top tribute, Beastie. Good to have you back.

    Carlton should be commended for seeing the importance of their history and employing you to document it. Other clubs will look at all your pieces with envy, if they don’t already.

    I met Jim once, at Rochester in 1999. I remember the brightness of his eyes. Just being at the footy animated him. I remember abandoning my attempts to take notes and just listening as words fell over me for much of the second quarter. In the end I had to excuse myself. I had other interviews to do.

    The best part of country footy is the characters. Jim was one of them.

  9. Steve Fahey says:

    Great piece Beast and terrific to see you on this site again. I look forward to a report on our long-running 1978 Year 11 debates on who was the better player, Peter Knights or Malcolm Blight. Seems a bit silly now, both champions.

    Would the Alan Bell you refer to happen to be Alan Bell, true Blue and legend and life member of the Rosanna Cricket Club, with whom we have both been involved ?

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