Renzo Benedet
Son-in-law of John Morris Hunt
Renzo gets introduced to Ann and the rest of the Hunt family in 1976On Saturday we celebrated Australia Day. Today, we are remembering a special Australian.
1976 was the year that I first was introduced to John, Jean and the rest of the Hunt family.
In the 26 years since, I have grown to admire the strong qualities of John, both as a father-in-law and as a grandfather to my three children.
Whether it was Drummoyne or Bateau Bay, we all enjoyed the simplicity of life that John liked. We enjoyed the background music of Beethoven or Brahms. We enjoyed sitting in the lounge room talking about all sorts of things or watching sport or a TV show.
We would walk to Crackneck and surrounding areas. Those were eventful walks. We would admire the flannel and other native flowers. We went to the extent of naming a special tree -- our tree (we had no other name for it) -- where the children would stop and climb before we would continue on our bush walk. Not even the 1994 bushfires made an impression on our tree.
How can we forget the visits to the Entrance and the landing (and feeding) of the pelicans. 3pm was the designated time and without time clocks, the pelicans were never late.
Being able to visit Dad at Bateau Bay and completely relax and take it easy was a gift. Who would forget the many times we would read newspapers, magazines and look through countless photo albums only to admire or laugh at what one saw or to read through the lengthy letters from the Philip Hunts.
Visiting John was like a one day holiday.
John had three great qualities.
Firstly, he was a true professional. Secondly, he had a discipline about him that is rare in today's society. Thirdly, he had a strong moral conviction.
His professionalism I most admired. He held a very senior position with Babcock and at times was its chief executive. There is no doubt to me that at times the company's fortunes rested squarely at the feet of John - he had to win the business. He didn't disappoint. But he never lost sight of his responsibilities. He was always there for Jean and his family and grandchildren, always attended church services on Sunday or at times during the working week and attended to the needs of the home.
He did this without complaint, week in and week out. When things became really tough, he never questioned why him. I never heard him as uttering a bad word against anyone. He never sought pity for his situation. Whatever personal situation he may have been facing, he didn't burden others.
That was the type of person he was. He was a true professional and underlying that rather calm and confident character was a strong discipline. I admired his ability for calmness. His ability concentrate on things during the time of Jean's failing health - where he completed the Hunt family history and put together the Babcock company history in Australia.
In my view his strong moral conviction was his saviour. His Christian ethics moulded the character that we all have got to know. And I am sure this went a considerable way to moulding the children that called him grandad.
Like all grandads, grandchildren occupied a special place. There wasn't any shortage of things for the grandkids to play withy. His 1955 Globite school case carried some amazing things - being able to play cricket using two blocks of wood; the dominoes; the marbles that somehow diminished as time went on and the numerous one-armed puppets that occupied children's chatter.
Even for the adults, I'm still amazed at the numerous bolts, nuts, screws, nails and the like that he had. All were given a label and all were put into the right jar or tin. Not even a full-time handyman would have gone into such an orderly state of affairs.
I'm glad John and Jean are together somewhere in the heavens. And without being flippant, I hope they are catching up on time lost or perhaps John is listening to Beethoven on DVD. Whatever the case, he was a great father-in-law. He was a great grandad. And he was a great family man. You can't get better than that.