VALE DEREK JOLLY – APRIL 2002

Last month we said farewell to my friend, Derek Jolly, our multimedia man in Adelaide. Derek died at the age of 74, after a fierce battle with injuries that he sustained from a horrific car accident, 15 months ago – when an out-of-control car crashed into his stationery car at 90kph. To add to Decca’s troubles, he was battling cancer at the same time.

Derek was a very remarkable person with wide interests – from car racing to wine to the arts, and from science and technology to business.

His mother came from the Penfold family, so his life-long interest in wine was fairly predictable. In the fifties, he worked with the famous Max Schubert, maker of The Grange. When he visited, he always brought a very special bottle of red with him, which we then drank with much ceremony here in Bucketty. On one of my visits to Adelaide, after a nice dinner and visiting some bars and pubs, we ended up in his wine cellar where we finished off the evening with some lovely Hungarian Muscat from 1925!

Between 1948 and 1962 he was one of Australia’s most prominent car racer. He built two cars himself, which are now all museum pieces (Decca I, II and III). He was the national champion and was closely linked to the Lotus team, for which he raced. He assisted in the development of cars and toured the European race circuits with the Lotus team, including racers like Sterling Moss and Graham Hill.

In northern Germany and the Netherlands, he recorded live music played on 17th century organs. In the early 1960s heimported the Moog Mark III, one of the first synthesizers in Australia, which was instaffed in the rear of his recording studio and was also used by students of the conservatorium in Adelaide. He built a cultural centre in Melbourne Street, Adelaide (Decca’s Place) and developed a large part of this street to what you see today –apartments, shops and restaurants. For the last ten years he, with his partner Helen, was a key person in the organisation of the annual Barossa Music Festival, for which they both received medals acknowledging their contribution.

As a part of all his activities Decca took literally thousand of photographs, some of which are now featured internationally.

Derek loved nature, especially the Flinders Ranges, which he began visiting in the late 1940s and he kept a photographic record of his trips to this area. He also took some great pictures of our grey gums here in Bucketty, after the 1994 fires.

He loved technology. When Decca visited us in Bucketty a car that looked like a Christmas tree would arrive – with antennas all over the place. He was the first to get into PCs, faxes, mobile satellite and online services – this is how our association began.

Soon after I arrived in Australia in 1983, Derek contacted me and asked if I would like to introduce the latest online technology (videotex) in Adelaide. I did one of my first videotex presentations in Australia in his Portobello Centre and we have been friends ever since.

Decca was a victim of the very high interest rates of these years and lost all his property and other assets in the stockmarket crash of 1987.

In 1996 he moved to Marananga in the Barossa, where he opened a Multimedia Gallery. Combining his vast collection of slides and photographs with the many sounds that he had recorded – as well as with excerpts from his rare sound collection of, for example, WWI footage that he had somehow acquired from the BBC.

The Gallery was a showcase of his interest and talents. The opening exhibition was a collection of his recent landscape photographs each accompanied by a specialy created musical interlude. Many of the Lotus owners were enthralled by Derek’s projection onto a lrge screen of his slide collection on the early days of Lotus accompanied by his stories on working with Colin Chapmand and the rest of the Lotus team in the 1950s.

At the time I wrote of the tremendous value that such collections would have in the development of new broadband content. On another occasion I featured one of his photographs in our newsletter – a picture of an old timber telephone box in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the Flinders Ranges, connected via fence wire to the homestead several kilometres away.

I will greatly miss my friend Decca – a free spirit, an out-of-the-box thinker, an optimist who never complained about his financial losses, the accident, or his illness. He has truly earned his place in Australian history and his many legacies will remain with us forever.

Paul Budde

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