Neil Hunt
Youngest brother of John Morris Hunt.
Reminiscences of a baby brother on his BIG brother.
Believe it or not but I'm the baby of the family! Jack (Jack was John's family name in case you wonder who I'm talking about. He was only called John when he started work. He'll always be Jack to our family and most of the Granville Methodist friends) was the oldest. Then Wally, Lois and myself, Neil. Unfortunately, Wally and Lois left us prematurely after battles with cancer.
Philip, when he asked me to speak today, called me the New Patriarch of the family. It sounds impressive and I hope brings some perks. I had a fleeting thought, however, after him asking me that just maybe it was only one of those con devices he learnt at World Vision to talk gullible uncles into something he knew they didn't want to do.
My earliest impressions of Jack was that tall skinny much older brother. We have a photo of him and myself on his motor bike when I was a 14 stone 14 year old and he was like a beanstalk. A good title for the photo would be "Neil and the Beanstalk."
Over the past few days I've thought more about my relationship with Jack and have come to realise how well we got on together over the years. I have concluded that maybe one of the main reasons for this is that we were so much unalike. I don't mean in looks, as I was mistaken for Jack on a number of occasions, but in our likes and dislikes. I'll give you a few examples:
He was very fastidious, always clean, neat and on time and hated to get dirty! As Betty will testify that I'm the opposite on all counts.
One example is when we decarbonised and ground the valves of the family Morris 10 car. Jack donned his inevitable white boiler suit, laid out the tools methodically, covered the surrounding bodywork of the car with rags, laid all the parts of the engine in order after being carefully cleaned and then put them all back again in reverse order with none left over and the car started first go in time for me to drive it to tennis. He was hardly dirty but I needed a bath and half a cake of Solvol.
Another example when I was only about 3 or 4 years old and we had a Chrysler tourer car with mica blinds that were attached when the weather dictated such action. Jack always sat in the seat behind Mum with me between his knees. Once when driving back from Parramatta down the Hawkesbury River hill to the Peats Ferry I started to go green around the gills. Jack saw what was happening and just before the eruption he shot my head through the mica blind to save getting his clothes soiled.
Another example was his love of reading and art. He was an avid reader from the time he started school, loved to visit Art Galleries and showed a shrewd appreciation of the masters.
His photography was abundant and professional. His early teacher was my mother who was also very keen and always developed and printed her own 116 size films. He soon overtook her ability and had a very efficient darkroom set up in one corner of our laundry complete with enlarger and all the works. Needless to say I was banned from this domain of his and never touched anything especially when he was around to see. We have many fine photos in our albums to show off his appreciation of the artistic side of taking photos.
His crowning glory in photography as far as Betty and I were concerned was his professional photography of our wedding. It was his wedding gift to us and we lost nothing by not having a professional photographer. All the photos were processed in his darkroom although as he was married at this stage it had been transported to his Merrylands home.
To complement his artistic talent he was also very innovative. A good example of this was during his long stint as Sunday School Superintendent at Granville. Numbers were dropping off in the school so he thought up innovative ideas to counter the trend. One was to break old gramophone records when an attendance record was broken and another that stands out in my mind was copying a current TV quiz show compered by Chuck Faulkner called "Tick Tack Dough". He turned it into a successful bible quiz format girls versus boys and played on a large felt board he made up with removable noughts and crosses. Partly to overcome copyright in case it became too successful and probably a bigger partly because of the state of the Sunday School coffers, he called it "TICK TACK NO DOUGH".
He was my Sunday School teacher when I was in the Bible (or senior) class and I taught in the Sunday School for about 10 years under his superintendentship.
His ability as a thinker and a studier led him to start the Granville Methodist Mission Team with Jack Chegwidden (later the Rev Jack) and Harry Gorton. They were a highly respected team and took many services within and outside our 4 church circuit. This lasted for many years with different personnel and I was even invited to join with rather disastrous results.
Using these talents he also joined and led a number of bible study groups including one that Mavis Butenshaw ran at Terrigal. The onslaught of Parkinson's Disease a number of years ago ended his involvement with this group which is still meeting with some of the old and many new members. I received a number of cards from members of this group all who speak highly of the help Jack gave them in the understanding of the scriptures.
His love of music which was the one area where we had many common interests and abilities. He loved classical music and was a subscriber to professional performances of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. We did differ here as my concentration span likes this type of music in short bursts. He always possessed a good quality hi-fi unit which he listened to for hours in latter years.
On the practical side of music, like myself and our father before us he loved conducting starting with the Junior Christian Endeavour Choir at the morning service then the District CE choir at rallies and his greatest joy was the 100+ choir of the Sunday School pupils and teachers at the 7 services at the SS anniversary each year. They were great times and I had the pleasure in singing in all these choirs under his conductorship as well as our joining together to sing in the great Billy Graham Crusade Choir in 1955.
Lastly one love of Jack's that I could never understand considering his cautious nature was his love affair with his BSA motor bike. If it had been our brother Wally I could have understood, but not Jack. Maybe the big thrill was that his pillion seat was nearly always occupied by a pretty girl including Jean and they hugged him tightly as he went around corners a bit too fast.
With all our differences in interest and abilities Jack and I got on really well with each other and I was always content with the big brother relationship which he never exploited but helped me through many trials. May God bless you Jack wherever and whatever form that wonderful hereafter takes.