Mystery man from 1950s identified after reader recognises him as old family friend

By Daneka Hill

YOU might have seen this picture in last week’s reflections - thanks to a helpful caller the mystery market gardener pictured has been identified.

Brett Brasher said the man is Mr Jimmy Goon, an old family friend.

Mr Goon was born in Kyabram after his parents came to Victoria for the gold rush.

When the gold didn’t pan out they turned to gardening.

Mr Brasher said he recognised the photo straight away because he had the original copy at home.

“We have multiple pictures of Jimmy with our family, he lived behind our family home in a shack on Mangan St, Tongala,” Mr Brasher said.

In the photo Mr Goon is standing before the Tongala Hotel.

The Brasher family owned the local butcher shop and allowed Mr Goon to live in the shack on the back of their property after he struggled to find a home.

“He just pottered around and grew groceries for the town, there are a lot of people who remember him, I was only talking about him the other day with some friends,” Mr Brasher said.

“He used to come around and do our garden, when I was young he taught me to speak some Chinese.

“One time my mother was telling me to stop speaking nonsense because she couldn’t understand me and the next minute Jimmy pops his head through the window and says ‘he’s not speaking nonsense miss, he’s speaking Chinese, he wants a drink of water’.”

Mr Brasher said Mr Goon died around 1965 and is buried in the Tongala cemetery.

“He didn’t want to die a pauper, so my grandfather kept putting away money to pay for his burial.”

Mr Goon was not survived by any spouse or children after his wife died soon after their marriage in China.