JIM Simpson can leave this world knowing the rug he has “cared for like a child” for 64 years will be preserved for future generations.
The Corryong war veteran is celebrating after the Upper Murray Historical Society announced it had finally secured funding to build two climate-controlled display rooms for the Man From Snowy River Museum.
The rooms will preserve more than a dozen items of national significance but none more famous than a map of Australia Mr Simpson knitted while being kept in a German PoW camp in World War II.
Organisations such as the Australian War Memorial have been trying to get their hands on the rug for years but Mr Simpson has insisted it stay in his home town.
“Jim told me he’s been caring for this rug like a child for 64 years but he’s 94 (years old) now and can’t keep it up forever,” Bob Caighin, a close family friend of the veteran, said.
“He wants to keep it in Corryong in memory of his mother, who taught him to knit, and for all the other mothers who suffered while their sons were fighting in the war.”
The Upper Murray Historical Society has been trying to raise funding for 15 years.
Its hard work was rewarded recently when the Victorian Government agreed to provide $200,000 towards the renovation.
With a further $50,000 donation from Towong Council and $50,000 of their own money, they’re now ready to build.
Project manager Marita Albert said it was a dream come true.
The veteran then received a surprise when RAAF Wing Commander John Herlihy arrived from Wagga to present him with a leather-bound letter from the acting chief of the air force.
Wing Commander Herlihy said it was important the community never forgot “inspirational” heroes.
“Veterans like Jim have strong values of courage and selflessness and it’s important that we let him know what an inspiration he is to the rest of the community,” he said.
Editorial — page 18