Gelignite Jack: The Explosive Larrikin’s Biography Launched

20,000 turn out to celebrate Gelignite Jack’s Redex win with Jack Murray,  author Phil Murray’s brother John, aged 10, and Bill Murray (no relation), co-driver and navigator.  From the Murray Family Archives.
20,000 turn out to celebrate Gelignite Jack’s Redex win with Jack Murray, author Phil Murray’s brother John, aged 10, and Bill Murray (no relation), co-driver and navigator. From the Murray Family Archives.

 

’GELIGNITE’ Jack, the larrikin best known for the antic of throwing gelignite out of his car window during the Redex Trials, is the colourful subject of a just released biography written by his son, Port Stephens local Phil Murray.

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Jack won the Redex Round Australia Reliability Trial without the loss of a single point in 1954.

Phil wanted to explore the story of his father and in doing so uncovered the amazing larger-than-life story of Jack Murray.

The Redex Trials were just one of Jack’s sporting outlets.

He won 13 NSW Wrestling Championships, and is considered by some to be the father of waterskiing in Australia as the founder of the iconic Bridge to Bridge ski race which is held annually to this day on the Hawkesbury.

Local resident and former Port Stephens Mayor Bob Westbury water-skied with Jack in the early days of the Bridge to Bridge and remembers him fondly.

Author of ‘Gelignite’ Jack Murray, Phil Murray, told the News Of The Area that writing the book was a personal journey where he found the facts and sorted them from the legend that was ‘Gelignite’ Jack’s colourful life.

“The book also exposes the cultural changes from Jack’s days when it was considered a bit of a hoot to throw gelignite and create small explosions in the main streets of towns to how this behaviour would be treated in this day and age.”

“Dick Smith wrote the Foreword for the book about ‘Gelignite’ Jack’s life, as it is a real honour to Jack’s memory,” he said.

Dick Smith said, “This is one of the best books I’ve read in years.”

A small granite monument sits on the foreshore of Shoal Bay noting the impact that ‘Gelignite’ Jack had on the community of the bay.

Copies of the book ‘Gelignite’ Jack Murray, An Aussie Larrikin Legend, can be found at New Holland Publishers and Booktopia.com.au.

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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