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The Jim Pollock Whyalla Wetlands were unveiled on the weekend along with a 14-tonne monument.

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FITTING MONUMENT: Family and Friends at the memorial marking the Jim Pollock Whyalla Wetlands.

Saturday was a special day for the city as the Jim Pollock Whyalla Wetlands were officially named.

More than 50 people were in attendance for a ceremony that involved the unveiling of a plaque, featuring a picture of former Whyalla Mayor Jim Pollock, set in a 14-tonne iron ore boulder.

Members of Jim’s family, friends and many Whyalla residents were joined by distinguished guests who spoke at the ceremony. Those speaking were not only prominent leaders in our community but also close friends and colleagues of Jim, making it a very emotional occasion.

wetlandsMember for Frome and the minister for Regional Development and Local Government, Geoff Brock was almost overcome with emotion as he paid tribute to Jim. Whyalla Deputy Mayor Jenny Barnes (deputising for Mayor Lyn Breuer) and Member for Giles Eddie Hughes also gave deeply moving, and at times amusing, speeches as they recounted the life of Jim and why the wetlands naming was so appropriate.

With Jim’s wife Jenny in attendance, son-in-law Nigel Morgan spoke on behalf of the Pollock family before Jim’s daughters Kerri and Steffany gave an impromptu speech to thank all those involved in the ceremony, the monument and naming of the wetlands.

 “I can’t think of a more appropriate honour for someone I had the pleasure of working for, and with, while an employee of council and then as a councillor,” Deputy Mayor Barnes said.

“Jim loved Whyalla and loved the community.

“I think he would love, albeit very modestly, the fact he will be further remembered for this beautiful place in Whyalla that represents so many of the things Jim wanted for Whyalla … good facilities, beautiful attractions and wonderful places for the whole community to enjoy.

“The lump of iron ore that carries a special plaque in Jim’s honour is entirely appropriate. Jim was, indeed, like a rock for Whyalla with a heart that probably weighed in around the 14-tonne mark.”

Geoff Brock said he came over for the ceremony as a friend of the family and was very proud to have been invited.

“I first met Jim when I was a councillor and Port Pirie and we came over to Whyalla for business,” Mr Brock said.

“Jim made sure he went out his way to make us feel welcome, that was the sort of man Jim was.

“He was very dedicated to the position and always made sure the image of Whyalla was at the very forefront.

"As a councillor he was fantastic, as a deputy mayor he was fantastic and as the Mayor he was fantastic. He just wanted to get on with the job and was always thinking long term for the benefit of Whyalla.

“His wife Jenny, his girls and his grandchildren should be very proud of him and proud of this honour.”

Eddie Hughes, a former councillor colleague of Jim’s, told a few tall fishing tales involving Jim and spoke about the friendly footy banter that would be swapped during the week as supporters of opposing sides.

He also listed off the other organisations Jim contributed to including the Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association, the Upper Spencer Gulf Common Purpose Group, the Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula RDO, the Local Government Association and Provisional Cities and Eyre Peninsula National Resource Management Board,  to name a few.

wetlands“Jim was not perfect … he was a Centrals (Whyalla) supporter and the other flaw was more serious - he was a Crows supporter,” Eddie joked at the ceremony.

“On a serious note, many people have approached me to talk about Jim and how they were treated by him and the picture presented is a consistent one – a down to earth bloke that treated everyone as an equal.

“No airs and graces, no pomp and ceremony just a true grassroots mayor.

“You will not be forgotten and this memorial will stand her through time as testimony to the respect and esteem with which you were held.”

Mayor Lyn Breuer is currently on leave but attended the ceremony as a friend of the family.

After migrating from Ireland, Jim went to school at Woomera before doing an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic.

He came Whyalla and ran a deli, worked in the insurance industry and then owned a tyre retail business.

He became a councillor in 1997 went on to be Deputy Mayor and was then Whyalla Mayor from 2003 to 2016, the same year he sadly passed away.

As a measure of the esteem Jim was held in the community, the offer by the Gupta Family Group Alliance to donate the boulder was backed up with a massive voluntary effort by a group of Whyalla businesses to get this impressive monument to the city and in place at the wetlands where an information board will also be erected nearby.

The 14-tonne boulder was sourced froms GFG Alliance Simec-owned Southern Middleback Ranges Mining Operation at Iron Duke. Mining contractors BGC did the heavy work at the pit to extract the rock before loading it on to a Scholz Transport truck in November last year.

Earlier this year, it was taken to the wetlands where CBCH Crane Hire lifted it off the truck and put it in place.

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PICTURED: Jenny Pollock with a the plaque honouring her husband Jim and, directly above, Jim's daughters Steffany and Kerri.

 

 

 

 

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