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Farewell Bro Hardy

07 December 23

Lodge of sorrow

Lodge Sir James Hardy No 1046 is mourning the loss of an esteemed brother to The Grand Lodge Above. He is here remembered by RW Bro Malcolm Stradwick PJGW.

RW Bro Sir James Hardy Kt, OBE, PDGM was initiated into Freemasonry in November 1962 in Lodge City of Sydney No 952, Passed in January 1963 and Raised in July 1963, becoming WM in September 1971. In 1993, the Lodge consolidated and became Lodge Mackay City of Sydney No 761 where Jim remained a member until the charter was surrendered in 2000.

Jim was born at his family’s home in Seacliff, South Australia on 20 November 1932. Jim always referred to himself as being a 1932 drop – same as the Harbour Bridge and the ABC’.

Jim was the youngest of four children of Eileen and Tom Hardy. His father was killed in a commercial plane crash in 1938, due to pilot error when passing through cloud.

A close mate of his late father, Sir James Gosse, supported Jim through Saint Peter’s College in Adelaide.

Jim did his National Service after leaving school, then spent two years on farm before joining Hardy’s Wines. He chose the business side rather than being a vintner and completed his accounting qualifications. He main­tained his certifications right up until his final year. As well as his strong busi­ness acumen, Jim was a top wine pro­motor and a natural leader.

Jim was moved to Sydney to build the business here. Up until the end, he often travelled between Sydney and Adelaide. He became Chairman in 1980 and held the role until the company was sold. He remained as a consultant to the new owners up until this year.

During his life, Jim held director and chair roles with numerous organisations in medical research, land-care and sailing. He mentioned once that he was on the Father-of-the-Year Committee. Jim loved AFL and became a Director of Sydney Swans after their move from South Melbourne in 1982 and was later made a Trustee of the Sydney Cricket Ground.

When Jim was around ten years of age he developed a passion for sailing, patching up the family Cadet dinghy then later building his own. In his new Cadet, Jim represented South Australia in the National Dinghy Championships, aka the Stonehaven Cup. Ironically the event was sponsored by Baron Stonehaven, and Jim was unaware that this sponsor was a Past Grand Master of the UGL of NSW and that one day he himself would become Deputy Grand Master.

Jim’s passion for sailing led him to more successes than we can list here. He built a Sharpie for the Olympic trials in 1956, then won the national title in Perth in 1959. From there he moved on to the Flying Dutchman class and the 505 class. Jim also represented Australia in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo – one of his proudest achievements.

In 1966 Jim won the first world championship for an international class of sailing to be held in Australia.

The America’s Cup: In 1970 Jim was chosen by Sir Frank Packer to skipper his yacht Gretel II to challenge for the America’s Cup. His close defeat as helmsman was a crushing blow. However his sportsmanship was acknowledged in a telegram later found in his papers. It was from The White House saying how impressed the American public was with his manners and sportsmanship despite his loss, and how they looked forward to his next challenge. It was signed by the President of the USA, Richard Nixon.

He was America’s Cup Skipper on two more occasions; 1974 in Southern Cross and Australia in 1980.

He was the first skipper ever to win a race against the USA in a Cup Challenge. Jim was Alan Bond’s Team Advisor when Australia II won the cup in 1983. During the elimination trials, Jim skip­pered Australia II, winning nine out of ten races, thus contributing to our team becoming the challenger.

In 1980–81 Jim was honoured as Australian Yachtsman of the Year and was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 1994.

Belying his easy-going demeanour, Jim was a dedicated and aggressive competitor. His son David found jour­nals Jim had written in his teens, detail­ing every yacht race each year, analysing the performance, what went right and what went wrong. It was clear to see that he was a very harsh self-critic.

Whilst being this aggressive competi­tor, Jim still valued decency and manners during competitions – earning him the nickname Gentleman Jim. The motto on his Armorial Bearings is ‘E Moribus Sit Homo.’ Translated: ‘May he be a man on account of his character!’ or, ‘Manners maketh the Man’.

In 1974 Jim was made an OBE, and then a Knight Batchelor in 1981.

In 1975, Jim was given the task of Chairing the organising committee for the highly successful opening of the new Sydney Masonic Centre. He was appointed Deputy Grand Master, 1976–77.

 Had his then domestic situation been different, Jim may well have been later elected Grand Master. However he didn’t put his name forward – his family came first.

Jim was a Foundation Member of The Sydney Lodge 1020 and remained a member until his passing this June.

Jim’s State funeral was held in the Grand Hall of St Peter’s College in Adelaide on 23June. I’m very grateful to our Lodge for sponsoring myself and Bro Sean Langman to attend. A wake was held for Jim on 11 August at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. It was attended by Sean and myself, as well as VW Bros John Freedman and Peter Carton. Sean delivered a moving Eulogy, during which he spoke of Jim’s passion for Sailability, leading to our Lodge’s sponsorship of that organisation. He also explained that it was Jim who sug­gested our Lodge motto – ‘To be happy and confer happiness’. The event was a memorable occasion, with many light – even humorous moments.

Twelve years ago when I rang Jim and asked, ‘Right Worshipful Brother Skipper, how would you like a Lodge named after you while you are still on this sublunary and probationary abode?’ His response was, ‘You better hurry up crewman.’

As our Patron of Lodge Sir James Hardy No 1046, Jim is one of only two masons who have had a lodge named after them while still alive. Since our Consecration in May 2013, he has attended every meeting except for four when he was overseas or in Adelaide at meetings. He has met and encouraged every newly initiated brother.

James Gilbert Hardy was loved and adored by many hundreds, if not thou­sands of people. No-one ever heard him say a bad word about anyone, nor did anyone say a bad word about him.

Grand sailing over the bar skipper – we will all miss you.


Jim playing pirate during the Consecration of his Lodge; with Malcolm Stradwick (left).


Jim donating a dinghy to John Taylor of Sailability L–R: Malcolm Stradwick, Sir James, RW Bro Tony Craig PAGM, Masonicare, John Taylor, Sailability


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