Page 5269 - Week 14 - Thursday, 19 November 2009
Perhaps only Jim’s family now know whether the deep disappointment he felt at the end of that wonderfully utopian dream played a part in the fact that 1986 was also the year Jim left Canberra, retiring to Broadbeach in Queensland.
One thing is certain: Jim Pead’s departure from the city he saw grow from infancy was felt across every aspect of our shared life because, quite simply, Jim Pead was a part of almost everything our city had to offer. He was a past Chairman of the ACT Electricity Authority, forerunner of Actew Corporation, and encouraged the utility to build and own its headquarters. His counsel and influence were identical when he was Chairman of ACTTAB. A dedicated building on Northbourne Avenue was the outcome.
By now, you probably understand that Jim Pead liked building things. He liked building services too. He was a one-time Chairman of the Canberra Community Hospital, later the Royal Canberra Hospital. Some time afterwards, he was Chairman of Woden Valley Hospital. That institution went on to occupy the place once fully taken by Royal Canberra in the community’s heart, when it became the Canberra Hospital, a decade after Jim Pead left the city.
Jim’s dedication to the development of Canberra extended into the area of sport. He was patron of the ACTAFL for many years and established the Easts Hockey Club in Deakin. Like any genuine social activist, Jim believed in the power of persuasion, and even went so far as to establish a newspaper, the bi-weekly Territorial, in collaboration with an individual called Ken Cowley.
Ken Cowley, who went on to become the boss of Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd empire, once told a journalist of the first conversation he had with the media mogul about the idea for a truly national newspaper. The year was 1962. The Territorial was gamely competing on the turf of the Shakespeare family’s iconic Canberra Times. The end result of that conversation between Rupert Murdoch and Ken Cowley was that the Territorial was amalgamated with, morphed into and became subsumed into the phenomenon we now know as the Australian.
Our history as a city is not a long one in the scheme of things. As such, it is still possible for it to be said of one man or one woman that they witnessed much of that history firsthand. It is still possible for it to be said of one individual that he or she contributed to almost every page of the official history book. Jim Pead was such an individual, and it is why I am pleased that his children have accepted our offer of a state funeral for Jim. He was, in every meaningful sense, an office-bearer for this city, an advocate for this city, socially progressive in the sense that all of his endeavours were aimed at the progress of the society he belonged to.
In the 1972 honours list, James Harold Pead received the Order of the British Empire—Member (Civil), a worthy recipient. As in any rich and full and adventurous life, there were disappointments along with the triumphs. It is the whole life, the whole man, that we celebrate—the rough with the smooth.
On behalf of the ACT government, I convey the condolences of all in this place and of all who knew, worked with and respected Jim, to his family and friends. In particular,