Page 2040 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 21 June 2011

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of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day honours list for his contribution to the Australian wine industry and to the ACT community. His commendation read:

For services to the community and business sectors of the ACT through a range of private and government committees and associations and to the wine industry, particularly through marketing and promotion.

This short acclamation does not do justice to the enduring contribution that Jim has made to the Canberra community. One of his greatest qualities was his generosity. His philanthropy and genuine interest in others less fortunate will be forever remembered. He was driven by a selfless desire to help those he believed he could assist, and the contribution he made to numerous local charities over many years was enormous. It was said that there could not be a charity in Canberra which did not have a donation of some kind from Jim Murphy.

He was particularly passionate about providing real and tangible outcomes for the region’s young people. Many of us are apt to forget how many street kids do it tough in Canberra and Queanbeyan. Jim’s tireless work with Open Family Australia helped young homeless people to improve their quality of life, which has been a significant contribution.

There are numerous charities and community groups that Jim has supported either directly by serving on committees, boards or fundraising committees or simply by generous donations. These include the Australia-Irish business council, including a term as president, the Australian Catholic University, the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, the Carbine Club, the Australia Chinese Business Council, Marymead, the ACT Science and Technology Council and the Spirit of Calvary campaign establishment committee.

Not so well known is that Jim was also a very active member of a small group of Canberrans who raised funds to assist Indigenous artists by acquiring their works of art. The money raised as a result—tens of thousands of dollars—was spent in remote Aboriginal communities in central Australia on the serious health issues encountered there. Jim’s group also assisted Canberra doctors in their work in places like the central desert.

One unintended consequence of this work for Jim was a serious collection of Indigenous art that is proudly displayed in his boardroom. He may be gone, but there are little bits of Jim Murphy’s incredible legacy scattered all over Canberra. Most we simply will never know of, such was the unassuming nature of the man.

He negotiated a long-term lease with the commonwealth to create an impressive business events centre at Regatta Point, but for Jim the job was not done. At the time of the opening, almost 10 years ago, he was not 100 per cent satisfied with the quality of the final fit-out. Jim decided that the meeting room, with a spectacular view of Lake Burley Griffin, that was likely to attract Australian and international business leaders, needed a serious meeting table. So Jim went out and bought the best boardroom table money could buy—at his own expense, of course.

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