Jim Hardy was born in 1913 at Warrnambool, one of eight children in a family with a strong Irish heritage. His parents, Winifred and Thomas Hardy, moved several times between Warrnambool and Bacchus Marsh, where Jim spent a happy childhood.
Sport and music were important elements of the Hardy family life and both had remained as keen interests in Jim’s own life. Jim left school at aged fourteen to become an apprentice in a barber’s shop.
During the Depression, he took any work he could find and eventually followed his father into the Federal Milk Company until 1940 when he enlisted in the army Jim gave service as a member of the 3rd Light ACAC in the Middle East and also on New Guinea, where he became a member of the concert party.
Jim is affectionately known as “Crackers”, a name first coined by his gun crew in Palestine.
In 1940, Jim married Anne Moylan at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Dandenong. After the war, they settled there and for twenty-seven years, Jim worked for Westminster Carpets. His warmth and generosity, together with his wit and humour, made Jim many friends around Dandenong.
Jim was an active contributor within St Mary’s Parish, particularly with their cricket club, both as a player and as a coach of the junior teams. Well into his eighties, Jim still continued to devote himself to helping others, particularly through the Dandenong Sub-Branch of the RSL and ‘Thuruna’ Homes for the Aged.
He had been President of both organizations for ten years and guided the RSL through the challenging task of relocating. Jim was a strong advocate for the RSL and its role in protecting the welfare of ex-servicemen and their families. He was particularly proud that his daughter, Judy has followed her parents’ model of service.