Best remembered for creating Broken Hill’s crest of arms on citizenship certificates, and on the weather-beaten sign seen at the entrance to Pro Hart Way when heading to the airport, Fred Jobson – more commonly known as Jobbie – is remembered fondly as a real one-man show.
And now it looks like Jobbie will finally be remembered publicly if a Council proposal to rename the South Community Centre gets the go ahead.
Broken Hill South resident Don Mudie has long been campaigning for the name change after the iconic ‘southie’ artisan and musician, and now it’s taken another step forward with Council putting the suggestion out to public consultation.
Without knowing Jobbie personally, Mr Mudie felt inspired to explore various naming options – streets, roundabouts, and roads – as a way of honouring this multi-talented character, so the South Community Centre may soon become known as the Fred Jobson South Community Centre after the painter, actor, singer, composer, cartoonist, craftsman, and more.
“Fred Jobson was a great man and I’d like future generations to know how he contributed to Broken Hill’s creative culture,” Mr Mudie told the Barrier Truth.
“Of course, I can understand the later generation not knowing about him,” he said. “I didn’t know him personally, I just observed what he did, so I’m not doing it for a mate, I’m doing it for someone I recognise did something special for the city.”
Pulling a 45 vinyl record out of its cover, Mr Mudie said, “he even wrote the song, Broken Hill I love you still, so I’d just like to see him have some recognition.”
Born Aubrey Frederick Jobson in Goulburn in 1902, when he was 14 Jobbie went off to serve in the Merchant Navy during World War I, later living in San Francisco and Honolulu after the war, making a quid creating art by day and boxing by night before arriving in Broken Hill in 1932 during the Great Depression.
Delving into stage production and scenery painting, Jobbie produced stage performances during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.
In his later years, Mr Jobson was employed by the Zinc Corporation, creating safety posters to help to save the lives of Zinc Mine workers, and later served as the editor of the corporation’s Conveyor Magazine.
Mr Jobson created several large murals to help decorate the city for the Queen’s visit in 1954 and became a well-known and highly respected personality in the Silver City.
Mr Mudie introduced us to Jobbie’s daughter in-law, Mary Jobson.
“He was a really nice guy and a lot of fun,” she says.
“I remember when the grandkids would go over to his house, he’d get into the playpen and sleep while they crawled all over him,” she laughed. “He was a very family orientated man.”
When asked about Jobbie’s many talents, she said her father in-law was a wonderful musician, “but everyone knew he couldn’t play the violin at all.
“To be honest, he’s probably looking down now shaking his head thinking, what’s all this fuss about?”
“A friend of Fred’s said at his funeral, ‘you can feel sad that Fred’s gone but don’t feel sorry because he put more into his life than any person could,” said Ms Jobson.
“He also told us a story about how they were once at a performance needing a harp, so Fred pulled a piano apart and made a harp out of it.
“He met his wife, Betty, at a sideshow and the creative couple led a wonderful life with two sons – both now passed – Brian, and my late husband, Les. Fred and Betty died four days apart.”
Mr Joson passed away on November 20, 1973.
There’s no doubt Fred Jobson has etched his place in Broken Hill’s historical records. Raising tens of thousands of pounds for World War II efforts and local charities too, he used his creative talents to floats for Broken Hill street processions, as well as for exhibits in the Melbourne Moomba Festival and the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Broken Hill City Council (BHCC) has placed the renaming proposal on public exhibition so you’ve got until midnight on Sunday June 25 to make any submissions.