Goodbye Gentleman Jim


MITCHELL, James Leslie. Jim the boat builder/bus driver from Dover passed away peacefully overnight December 20, 2014. A true gentleman, perfectionist and a mentor. You loved the boats and looking at what you created. Never an argument.
I don’t think I ever met a man who enjoyed his job more than Jim Mitchell. I won’t say I knew him well. I was one of his passengers, a regular for several years and an occasional traveller in recent times. Jim used to be a boat builder but he gave it up,  I believe because he had a bad back. When I first met him he was the relief driver for the Dover to Hobart route but when another driver moved to another route the Dover run was given to him full time.
Dover is about 80 kilometres south of Hobart but Jim’s run started from Raminea a little south of there. In fact I think that Jim’s route is probably the most southerly bus run in Australia.
The day started early for Jim preparing the bus which was kept near his home ready to depart before 6:30 am. A lot of the early morning passengers were students travelling to Hobart College and other schools around Hobart. The bus always made a stop at Hobart College to drop them off in the mornings. I actually learned of Jim’s death on Facebook and there was a long line of comments from young people who had travelled on the bus. They were all devastated as Jim always had a smile and  a joke with each of them when they boarded the bus. I often sat and listened as he said goodbye to every single kid that got off at the college, sometimes twenty or more of them. That was typical of him though. When you travelled on Jim’s bus you were a guest not a customer. He was always welcoming to the adult passengers as well. I don’t catch the bus as often as I used to so I didn’t see Jim very often but whenever I did he would always give me a big smile as if he’d really missed me.
Jim adored children and sometimes if we had time for a little chat he would tell me about the school charter trips that he was occasionally asked to drive in the middle of the day. He was never happier than when the children had come up to thank him for being their driver or given him a little note or a drawing.
He was also very kind to the travellers from overseas who often visit the Huon Valley during the summer. I know that a few of them kept in touch with him for a long time after their holidays. Jimliked to travel himself and he and his wife Maggie had a few overseas holidays. On a couple of their European trips I know that they visited people that he’d made friends with on the bus.
I think that the job must have been very tiring sometimes but Jim didn’t complain, he was always cheerful on the job and he really did care about his passengers. If he felt that they were being inconvenienced by over crowding on the bus or timetables that made them late for work and school he was not afraid to say so to his bosses. At 4 pm when the bus left Hobart for Dover he was always just as welcoming to everyone as he had been in the morning.  It would be after 6pm by the time that he reached home each night and then he would clean the bus ready for the next day. I  know that over the past few years Jim cut his workload back a bit. The last time I saw him was two or three weeks before he died and he wished me a Merry Christmas in case he didn’t see me again.
I decided to write this piece because I felt that Jim was a rather special person. He made everyone’s day just a bit better. I’ll miss him.
Stephen-Jones-TassieLink
Stephen-Jones-TassieLink
MITCHELL, James (Little Jim). Our happy and friendly Dover driver who always had a smile for his customers. Deepest sympathy to Maggie and family. Will be sadly missed by all customers and staff at Tassielink Transit. ”See ya girls” – See more at: http://obituaries.themercury.com.au/notice/108942009/view#sthash.2BgDqWyp.dpuf

Taswegian1957

I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband, David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on WordPress.com with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. Currently we have five pets between us. Naomi's two dogs Toby and Teddy and cats, Tigerwoods and Panther and my cat Polly. My dog Cindy passed away aged 16 in April 2022.

4 comments

  1. I am one of the people who Jim and Maggie travelled with in Europe (Netherlands – Italy – Greece – Spain). He visited me and my family four times in 4 years, and stayed in my home for 2 to 3 weeks every time. Am very shocked to hear about his death. Am so sorry to live so far away. My thoughts are with darling Maggie, and his family. Love ya! XXX Yvonne from Eindhoven

    Liked by 1 person

    • He always loved talking about those visits Yvonne and how kind you were to him and Maggie. I decided to write about him in my blog because he was quite special. I will copy your comment on to my Facebook page so others that knew Jim can see it to.

      Like

  2. Thank you for writing such kind words about my dad.He took pride in every thing he did .He enjoyed interacting with the young and spent a lot of his time visiting and talking to the elderly.A Well respected community member that i know first hand is sadly missed.Thanks Matt.

    Like

    • It’s nice to hear from you Matt. I’m sure you know that the young people in the Huon Valley that he drove to school and college every day were very upset by his death and many commented on social media about how much they would miss him. I had many nice chats with him about his overseas travels and the friends he had visited after meeting them on the bus. Catching the bus to Hobart is just not the same without him. I hope your mum is well and that you all have a merry Christmas.

      Like

Leave a Reply to Matthew Mitchell Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.