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HomeNewsJim is very active with his interests – The Pipe Band and the Bowling Club

Jim is very active with his interests – The Pipe Band and the Bowling Club

Manilla man Jim Davidson turned a ripe old 90 on Sunday. He didn’t want anything flash in celebrating that milestone – “just a bit of a turnout with my friends at the Bowlo” was what the quiet spoken nonagenarian was happy with.

“I don’t have any family much out here now. I’m the second eldest of four children, but the only surviving one,” Jim said.

Many on Jim’s list of “friends at the Bowlo” could be his Manilla Pipe Band colleagues. He’s the only original member left, and his bond with the local pipe band dates way back to 1949.

“Back then there were a lot of old Scottish blokes around here and we started the Caledonian Society which later formed the pipe band. I was their drummer. Many of the fellows back then travelled into Tamworth for lessons.”

And despite the many small-town hardships and changes in society over the ensuing seven decades, Manilla Pipe Band is still operational.

“We perform here at home every Anzac Day ceremony. The band’s not as strong now as it was a few years ago as many members have retired or moved elsewhere, but we still have around 10 members who try to meet weekly for practice. We’re always willing to perform for anyone – they only have to ask – and give us plenty of notice,” hejoked.

Jim attributes reaching his 90-year milestone to “staying healthy, keeping going and doing what you’ve gotta do”. Memories Jim will cherish include being a foundation member of his beloved pipe band, receiving the Manilla Citizen of the Year Award in 2016 and attending his daughter’s wedding in Townsville. “The mossies drove us mad, but they didn’t hurt me – I had a suit on”. Making water slides on the footpath as a kid was another. “You couldn’t do that around here now,” he joked.

Jim loves Manilla – he’s been here for over 70 years so would have to be considered a local.

“It’s a quiet country town, we all know each other, we have no hassles and have a great Bowlo”.

Jim Davidson was born on January 30, 1932 in Meerut (India) to Scottish parents – his dad a regular soldier in the Black Watch while serving with the British Army.Jim attended a public school in Scotland until he was 10, then was seconded to the Queen Victoria Military School in Dunblane, there joining the Black Watch as their drummer and bugler.At 16 he got a job as messenger/delivery boy, remaining there until the opportunity arose to apply to come to Australia as part of the Big Brother Movement, which was basically for boys who were willing to come to Australia and work out in the bush, according to Jim.

“I was one of the first party of boys to come out from Glasgow. I spent a short time in Sydney being trained how to milk a cow and sit on a horse, then I was sent out to a farm between Manilla and Gunnedah,” he said.

That’s where he met and married local girl Olwyn Grantham.

“We had the two children, but there was no high school in Manilla, so we decided to go back to Sydney where I got a job working with aluminium at Comalco Fabricators in Gladesville. After 15 years though, we’d had enough of Sydney and the kids had grown, so we came back here to Manilla where I worked with the Council until my retirement.”

Jim has enjoyed his nine decades, and declares that if he could have his time over, he wouldn’t change a thing. “I’ve always believed to take it as it comes and make the best of what’s there.”

By Vinnie Todd

Jim in action on the day.(Photo courtesy of Manilla
Bowling Club).