In Memorial - Jim Stynes, AFL Brownlow Medalist

Rising Sun, Uluru, Central AustraliaUluru, Central Australia

AFL football great, Jim Stynes, died this morning from Cancer at age 45.

A champion, both on and off the field, Jim was recruited from Ireland in the mid 1908's and made his senior debut in 1987. As a player Jim achieved 244 consecutive games for his beloved club, Melbourne. That feat stands as an AFL record and a testament to the man's courage and tenacious spirit. Highly respected both on and off the field Jim won 4 club Best and Fairest awards and was the first international player to win the Bronlow Medal, the games highest individual prize, for Best and Fairest player in 1987. 

After his playing days were over Jim threw himself into charitable work. His work with the Reach Foundation, which provides disenfranchised youth with a sense of self worth and aids their transition back into the community, only adds to his legacy as a champion (talented, hard-working, fair and courageous) player for the Melbourne Football Club. His great love of the club brought him back, at a very trouble time in the club's history, as President. At the end of his time there the club was, once again, reorganised, rejuvenated and on a sound financial footing. Enabling the games oldest club to survive is an achievement for which all supporters of the code should be grateful.
 
Jim's contribution to Australian society was formerly recognised when he was made Victorian of the Year in 2003 and then, in 2007, when he was awarded the Order of Australia medal.

Survived by his wife, Sam and two young children Jim is greatly loved and sadly missed. Sam Stynes wrote on her Facebook site that Jim died "pain-free, dignified and peaceful" with his family by his side.

Other than my thoughts and words all I can do is dedicate a photo to Jim, an Irish lad we loved to call Australian. Though we wish it had lasted longer, his candle burned bright and touched the lives of many.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru