Members of the Ipswich and District Rifle Club formed a guard of honour for highly respected Jim Rush
Members of the Ipswich and District Rifle Club formed a guard of honour for highly respected Jim Rush

Gentleman Jim a talented footballer and rifle shooter

HIGHLY respected Jim Rush represented Ipswich, Queensland and Australia in two sports - football and rifle shooting.

While his football career was cut short by the war, his involvement with rifle shooting continued into his early seventies.

His funeral was held at Glebe Road Uniting Church.

Following the traditions of the trophy presentations at state and national championships, he was "chaired" out of the church by family and friends to the tune of "See the Conquering Hero Comes".

Past and present members of the Ipswich and District Rifle Club formed a guard of honour leading from the church to the hearse.

The rifle club marked his passing on Saturday afternoon, at the end of the weekly competition.

The Queensland Rifle Association is also planning to commemorate his life.

Jim is survived by his wife of 67 years, Dulcie.

The Following is an excerpt of the eulogy read by his son Rob:

In all of the messages of condolence and support received by the family, one word has been used more than any other to describe dad: Gentleman.

He was a very gentle man: gentle words, gentle actions, gentle manner, gentle deeds.

Dad was born in his grandparent's house at Blackstone in 1921.

His parents, Tom and Lilly lived in the house next door and their first-born son soon had a brother, Joe, and a sister, Phyllis.

When dad was 12, his youngest brother Keith was born.

With Joe, dad would represent Queensland and Australia in rifle shooting. They would work together in the coalmines for many years.

Aged 14, dad followed his father and grandfather into the under- ground coalmines around Ipswich.

When he started, he was working in tunnels less than two-foot high, loading coal into wagons.

His father Tom was a deputy in the mines, in charge of the safety of his shift. Dad also did this job, testing for explosive gas in the coal tunnels.

He was better than a canary, once succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning and having to be stretchered out of the tunnel.

The harsh mine conditions saved his life, however, during the war.

Dad and a friend from the rifle club, A.J. Meekin, signed up on the same day: Meekin to the army and Dad to the air force.

His manager would not release him, as coal mining was regarded as essential for the war effort. So, dad reluctantly stayed home underground and his best friend, A.J., died on foreign soil.

While he spent his working life underground, it was aboveground where dad became a rising soccer star. He played for Blackstone Rovers and captained the Ipswich team, winning the Tristram Shield.

He played for Queensland several times and was selected for the Australian team to play in South Africa. The team made it as far as Perth, but the tour was cancelled due to the war. By the time football matches resumed after the war, his interest had shifted firmly to rifle shooting.

Dad encouraged us to achieve our best in all aspects of life. But in shooting he not only acted as our coach and mentor, he always made certain we had the best equipment.

He made one big mistake, though, very early in our shooting careers: he brought home the rifles and undertook the tedious task of cleaning them for us each week. I made sure that this was one family tradition that was maintained for the next 40 years.

Dad officially joined his father's club, the Ipswich Railway Rifle Club, when he was 16.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, dad represented Queensland and Australia a number of times.

His highest Queens placing came in 1963. Despite suffering from pneumonia, dad was determined to compete in the final Queens at Enoggera. He missed the number one badge, placing third.

The following year, the Queensland Rifle Association moved from Enoggera to Belmont.

Dad, as Northern Command's representative on the QRA Executive, was part of the selection committee tasked with finding a new home for the QRA. For nearly 30 years, dad was the accommodation co-ordinator at Belmont during the QRA Queens.

Dad initiated the Rush Shield to encourage the next generation.

He continued to retain an active interest in the development of younger shooters at the Ipswich club and beyond until the end.

He also helped to set up the Champion of Champions competition; he was a QRA Councillor and on the executive committee from 1957/8 to 1970; he was the vice-captain of the Ipswich & District Rifle Club, and later was the captain for 12 years and the club's president since the late 1960s.

A life member of the Ipswich Club, he was also named a life member of the QRA in 1991.

Dad was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000; and in 2009 the 'Jim Rush Training Centre' at Belmont, was named in his honour.



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