Jim’s Legacy

Jim’s Legacy

Champion footballer, selfless philanthropist, respected writer, inspiring youth worker, qualified teacher, passionate chairman, loving husband, caring father and most of all, a role-model to thousands. The Jim Stynes name means many things to many different people.

Some think of the footballer who, with no prior knowledge of the game, travelled from Ireland to Australia as an 18 year old as part of the Melbourne Football Club’s “Irish Experiment”, to eventually win the game’s highest individual honour and set a record for endurance that will never be broken. Many will be reminded of the man who, alongside friend and then fellow school teacher Paul Currie, started the Reach Foundation in 1994 with a vision to try and inspire young people to believe in themselves and get the most out of life. A vision that now touches the lives of more than 30,000 young Australians every year. Or you may be reminded of the man who so very publically fought his illness, with a resilience, strength and dignity that inspired so many others in a similar situation.

Whichever Jim Stynes you think of, whichever words you use to describe Jim Stynes, it’s certain to be of a positive nature.In his lifetime and beyond. Jim Stynes the man and Jim Stynes the name remains and represents as an Irish-Australian icon of sport and charity work.

“I love life. There’s always something to overcome,
new people to meet… You’ve just got to find
your bliss and go after it. That’s where the drive is,
that’s how you find your special place.”

Awards and Recognition

1966

April 23, 1966

James Peter Stynes born Dublin, Ireland.

1984

1984

Moved to Australia, aged 18, as part of Ron Barassi’s program to recruit Irish football players to Melbourne.

1986

1986

Transferred to VFA club Prahran to learn more about the AFL game.

1987

July 25, 1987

July 25, 1987

Melbourne v Geelong (Waverly Park). First senior AFL game for Melbourne Football Club.

1987

September 19, 1987

Melbourne v Hawthorn (Waverly Park) Preliminary Final. Ran across the mark in the Preliminary Final.

1988

1988

Completed Bachelor of Education.

1988

September 24, 1988

September 24, 1988

Hawthorn v Melbourne (MCG) Grand Final. First Grand Final (lost by 96 points). Named Melbourne’s best player for the match.

1991

1991

1991

Appointed Melbourne Vice Captain. Melbourne Best and Fairest winner. Brownlow Medal winner (25 votes) – the first (and so far only) player recruited from outside Australia to win. Selected in the All-Australian team.

1993

1993

Selected in the All-Australian team.

1994

1994

1994

Co-founded the Reach Foundation with film director Paul Currie.

1995

1995

Save the Children Foundation’s White Flame Award winner. Melbourne Best and Fairest winner.

1996

1996

Melbourne Best and Fairest winner.

1997

1997

Appointed Member of the Victorian Premier’s Youth Suicide Task Force. Melbourne Best and Fairest winner.

1998

1998

Retired from AFL after 264 games – played 244 consecutive games from Round 17 1987 to Round 4 1998 (AFL record). Appointed Anti-Racism Officer for AFL. Jim Stynes Medal announced and named in Jim’s honour – awarded to the best Australian player in the International Rules series.

1999

1999

Appointed Australian International Rules team assistant coach. Appointed AFL Racial Vilification Officer.

2000

2000

Appointed Melbourne Football Club Assistant Coach. Selected in the Melbourne Team of the Century. Australian Sports Medal winner – awarded by the Governor-General to people who have contributed to the nation’s sporting success.

2000

November 4, 2000

Married Samantha Ludbey, his girlfriend of three years, in St Kilda.

2001

2001

Awarded Victorian of the Year. Awarded Federal Government’s Centenary Medal for founding Reach and supporting youth development – established in 2001 to commemorate the Centenary of the Federation of Australia and honour people who have made a contribution to Australian society or government.

2001

September 2, 2001

Daughter, Matisse Stynes, born at Cabrini Hospital.

2003

2003

Inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame. Awarded Victorian of the Year. Australian of the Year Finalist.

2004

2004

Member of the Federal Minister for Youth’s Youth Advisory Consultative Forum Committee.

2005

March 13, 2005

Son, Tiernan Stynes, born at Cabrini Hospital.

2005

2005

Appointed member of the Federal Minister for Education’s National Youth Careers and Transitions Advisory Group.

2006

2006

Inducted into the Melbourne Football Club Hall of Fame. An MCG function area, the Jim Stynes Room, is named in Jim’s honour – located in the Olympic Stand on Level 2 and renamed the Jim Stynes Grill in 2014.

2007

2007

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) recipient – awarded in recognition for service to youth through the establishment of Reach, as well as his standing within Australian Rules football as a player, coach and selector.

2008

2008

2008

Appointed Melbourne Football Club president.

2009

2009

Diagnosed with cancer and given a nine month life expectancy.

2010

January 1, 2010

His wish for the year is to see Christmas.

2010

April 4, 2010

Jim’s condition worsens. He has surgery three days later to remove five brain tumours.

2010

August 28, 2010

Named Melbournian of the Year by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle. Cr Doyle noted that “while Mr Stynes’ name is synonymous with his successful AFL career both on and off the field, it’s his philanthropic endeavours that have earned him this prestigious award. Mr Stynes has devoted much of his life to helping adolescents.”

2011

January 26, 2011

Notes that his arduous treatment is “a marathon” yet a “blessed journey”.

2011

August 3, 2011

Admitted to hospital where doctors decide not to remove a life-threatening tumour.

2011

2011

Awarded Doctor of the University by The Australian Catholic University. The ACU’s highest honour was awarded in recognition of Jim’s service to the community, particularly in the areas of youth depression, homelessness and suicide.

2011

December 25, 2011

Travels to Colombia, Panama and Mexico for a cherished family holiday.

2012

January, 2012

Further brain surgery to help extend life expectancy.

2012

February 2, 2012

Retires as president of the Melbourne Football Club. Undergoes minor surgery.

2012

March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012

Passes away pain free, dignified and peacefully surrounded by his family.

2012

2012

Federal government commits $3 million to establish the Jim Stynes Scholarship for disadvantaged youth, with the AFL committing an additional $150,000 per annum. “Through these scholarships, Jim will continue to inspire some of our most disadvantaged children to gain confidence and find their place in the world.” – Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

2012

2012

2012

AFL introduces the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award. Presented annually on Brownlow Medal night to a current day player demonstrating the same values as personified by Jim.

2014

2014

The Jim Stynes Bridge is opened along the Yarra River by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle. Two bronze plaques adorning each end outlining Jim’s achievements.

2014

2014

A statue of Jim is unveiled on the MCG’s Avenue of Legends in the Yarra Park. Jim’s statue sits alongside other icons of Australian sport including Shane Warne, Neil Harvey, Norm Smith and John Coleman.