|Lial James (Jim) Woods, circa 1994|
Source: Looking back, p. 3
Born on November 11, 1913 in Temora to Alfred James and Rose Ellen Woods, Jim was the eldest of seven children. At the age of six he attended Temora Public Primary School, and like so many of that time, he was part of the "barefoot brigade", attending school without shoes. This was an indication of the financial situation of a family. In his autobiography Looking Back, Jim described himself as an average student who didn't really like his first name, nor the associated nicknames, so he started using his middle name, thus ending up with Jim.
Jim assumed the role of paperboy at a very early age for The Temora Star, by chance when he noticed boys lining up outside the newspapers premises and discovered the opportunity to sell papers. Jim did his deliveries by foot, because he didn't have a bike. The effort did not go unnoticed by John Arthur Bradley and at the mere age of 14 - the then legal age in which a student could leave school - Jim was offered a position with Bradley's Temora Independent. This was the beginning of a 66 year career in the printing and newspaper industry and a long association with the Bradley family - as an employee for 22 years and a business partner in 10 newspapers and printing businesses in southern NSW.
|The premises of The Crookwell Gazette in 1949 when Jim took over the paper with Jack and Arthur Bradley.|
Source: Looking back, p. 26
Music was also a feature of Jim's life, his father bought him a banjo mandolin as a school boy and he had some short term lessons. He would play on his veranda and with locals, learning very quickly that he could earn a bit of extra money too. He later turned his hand to the tenor horn and then the trombone enabling him to to do dance and orchestra work. He also played the saxophone.
After a courtship of 4 years, Jim married Mary Walterina (Rene) Wallace in 1938, a marriage that would span 65 years and result in two sons Ken and Bob, as well as grand children and great grand children. He believed in the family unit and was proud that three generations of his family worked in the newspaper business associated with The Queanbeyan Age.
|The Queanbeyan Age Building in 1956 when the Bradleys and the Woods family went into partnership with the Shakespeare family of The Canberra Times.|
Source: Looking back, p. 31
Jim spent much of the next decade in Queanbeyan re-building the premises and re-equipping the newspaper plant. The Queanbeyan Age prospered as a result with more publications introduced during the week.
In 1971, Jim expanded his business by striking deals that resulted in acquiring newspapers at Moruya Bega and Eden. Braidwood was also added to the portfolio at the time for the unbelievable price of ten dollars (More details about this acquisition and the others can be found along with other insights into the man in his autobiography Looking Back. The ACT Heritage Library has two copies that you can come in and read).
|Front cover of Jim Wood's autobiography Looking Back|
In 1985, The Queanbeyan Age celebrated its 125th birthday and marked the event with a donation of the Queanbeyan City's first fountain in the Town Park, to coincide with the Queanbeyan City Council's centenary. Jim also received the Order of Australia that year. Such honorable recognition did not slow Jim down. He was a Rotarian for over 4 decades, through which he was involved with the Queanbeyan Floral Festival and received Rotarian of the Year (1991 - 1992).
Jim was a driving force in establishing the Queanbeyan Sporting Gallery, which opened in 1993. He volunteered a great deal of his time in gathering information. photographs, arranging type setting and putting together many entries. He was assisted by his son Bob Woods, and other staff of The Queanbeyan Age, who volunteered their time to the Queanbeyan City Council project. The same year Jim became Queanbeyan Citizen of the Year.
|Front cover of a book about the Queanbeyan Sporting Gallery Queanbeyan sporting gallery at the Queanbeyan Bicentennial Function Centre|
The Queanbeyan Printing Museum was officially opened on 23 October 2004. Jim set it up to illustrate letterpress printing technology over 100 years and the history of Queanbeyan's first newspaper The Golden Age, later renamed The Queanbeyan Age. Jim remained a volunteer at the museum, even as a centenarian.
In 2012, Jim was interviewed by the Canberra Panel of Engineering Heritage Australia as part of its oral history project. A summary of the interview is available on the Libraries ACT Website . The interview can be listened to at the ACT Heritage Library.
There are so many other stories and achievements that illustrate the man that Jim was and the roles he played in over a century of life. The Queanbeyan community has lost a key citizen, but his contributions will continue to be a part of the community and local history.
Farewell Mr Woods your tireless efforts will not be forgotten.
|Jim Woods inscription in his autobiography held at the ACT Heritage Library|
Source: Looking back, p. 1
Bibliography2013, 'Celebrating Jim Woods' , The Queanbeyan Age http://www.queanbeyanagechronicle.com.au/story/1895730/celebrating-jim-woods/
2016, 'Jim Woods', Queanbeyan Printing Museum. http://queanbeyanprintingmuseum.com/jim_woods.html
Woods, Jim 1997, Queanbeyan sporting gallery at the Queanbeyan Bicentennial Function Centre, Queanbeyan City Council, Queanbeyan, NSW.
Woods, Lial James 1995, Looking back, Queanbeyan, NSW.