Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 After the war, in late 1945, Jim returned to Brisbane and rejoined his fathers business. However, in late 1946, he returned to Darwin following an SOS from the Works Department. Without warning, the department sent a taxi to his house with a message: Come back to Darwin if you can. Catch this taxi to be on a plane leaving at midnight. Jim had no hesitation. He flew immediately back to Darwin and has been here ever since. Jim built a family home from salvaged and recycled war materials, mostly from the East Arm flying-boat base. He built his house at what is now the comer of Nightcliff Road and Casuarina Drive in Nightcliff, which was one of the first lots sold in the first sale of leasehold blocks in April 1948. I think he paid the princely sum of 20 for the block. It is worth a few dollars more than that today. In fact, it now accommodates a 3- or 4-storey block of flats. Always interested in community affairs, Jim was an active member of the Nightcliff Progress Association which was formed in 1950 to agitate for the betterment of Nightcliff. Interestingly, it also agitated very strongly against Nightcliff being part of the Darwin City Council municipality, or Darwin Council as it was then - unsuccessfully, as it turned out. It was incorporated in the council area, much to the chagrin of the very clannish Nightcliff people. Their clannishness continues today. Nevertheless, Jim served as an alderman on the Darwin Council until 1975, in the former Drysdale Ward, which is now known as Nightcliff and is part of the Chan Ward. Jim was perhaps best known for his interest in ballroom dancing. He was a professional dancing teacher and held classes at many Darwin locations over the years, including the old Town Hall, the building that was replaced by the Beaufort Hotel. Immediately after Cyclone Tracy, when I arrived in Darwin, Jim was running ballroom dancing classes at Darwin Community College. The ravages of the cyclone did not stop Jim from getting on with his great love and passion in life. There are many young and not so young people in Darwin who will have appreciated his dedication and commitment to dancing, and the contribution that he made in that field throughout Darwin. He was a fairly crusty old fellow, not short of a direct opinion on most subjects in the world, but his dedication, honesty and commitment were outstanding. He especially encouraged young people and donated many prizes for local and national competitions in dancing. Photography was another keen interest, along with his interest in the now-defunct Ratepayers Association, the Nightcliff Youth Centre and the Buddhist Society. Mr Jim Gayton is survived by daughters, Patricia, Pamela and Paulette, and grandsons Phillip and Brendan. Until immediately before the fortunately short illness that led to his death, Jim was a prolific letter writer, particularly to Darwin City Council, and a regular telephonic communicator with members of council, staff and elected members alike. He was particularly active in harassing the Darwin City Council in respect of the upgrading of the Nightcliff shopping centre. I can remember almost weekly letters to the council to ensure that adequate public seating was provided with the development of Cafe Bella. He was successful in that endeavour. Equally, he was quite prepared to offer congratulations to the council when it delivered. Nevertheless, he would take up the cause of untidy streets, care of the vegetation on the foreshore at Nightcliff or any other community issue. If he noticed anything during his regular walks around Nightcliff, you could be certain that the council would be directly informed that day of exactly what needed to be done. 3606