Aliyah Partington, a year 8 student at Bellingen High School, interviewed retiree Gordon Jacob and wrote this profile as part of a Youth Frontiers project.
- Name: Gordon Jacob
- Age Bracket: 65-74
- Born: Naracoorte South Australia
- Grew up: Hahndorf South Australia
- Hobbies and Interests: Gardening, photography, voluntary and community work
- Careers: Police force, Business owner. Neighbourhood centre and working with Indigenous communities
Gordon Jacob is a friendly local retiree living in beautiful Bellingen Shire. In his interview, he shared his great passion for community work.
Gordon has lived in Bellingen on and off since 1976, simply enjoying the town’s lifestyle and culture. You are likely to find him out in his yard gardening or capturing some great shots on his camera.
He has travelled down a variety of career paths, starting out in the police force at an early age and later opening his own business, the local Providore. He has also worked with Indigenous communities in Central Australia and done voluntary work at the Neighbourhood Centre in Bellingen.
Flourishing in his community work, Gordon worked alongside Indigenous pupils in remote desert areas as well as with Aboriginal tribes in Alice Springs, providing guidance and making a difference in their lives.
"We should be going forward together. We’re all one country. A lot of bad things have gone on in the past, but we’ve got to recognise that and move forward."
Gordon related an experience he had in South Australia when he opened a pop-up kiosk at a football match in an Indigenous town.
The store was a hit. As you can imagine the carnival was busy and the customers were flocking. So when Gordon went away for the weekend, he needed a relief manager to run the shop. He decided to let the locals do it. He gave them cash for stock and left them in charge.
Gordon believes we need to trust people to allow them to grow.
“By giving people trust, they don’t take things and whatever you give them they will look after it better than you think,” Gordon said.
This is what motivates and inspires Gordon to do the work he does: through seeing the growth, not only in Indigenous communities but non-Indigenous as well.
“It’s all about making a difference without imposing,” Gordon said, sharing the way that we can make great improvements in people’s lives through planting trust and providing guidance.
Even if it’s just something simple like holding a stall at a football match.