The Jesus Light & Power Co.
by Ian Piggott – 13 January 2013
Although I really wasn’t a big churchy type of a person. I did enjoy the man who used to come to my primary school (Helensburgh Public), once a week and teach/tell us stories about this guy called Jesus. He was a nice man this Mr. Findlayson. Kind, warm and gentle are things I remember most about him. He didn’t get stressed or angry or impatient, he just took it all in his stride.
Over the back fence and through the Fire Station was Mr Fins house. I remember he had this old pile of junk mini bus that he used to cart the older high school kids around in. I remember thinking that it looked like so much fun and that I wish I could join them… but I was too young. Mr. Findlayson had a son who was (what I thought at the time) HEAPS older than me, and he and all his friends looked like they had a great time with Mr. Fin in that old mini bus driving off to somewhere.
I remember there was a joke about that bus that went like this.
Mr. Fins bus has 3 gears:
Get out and push
I remember down at the hall in Parkes Street one evening, (before Mr. Findlayson home was built?) there was a great mound of wood in readiness of a bonfire. As I displayed certain pyromaniacal tendencies at the time, I was very excited to see this go up in flames.
I eventually grew up and went to high school, and with that I was now older and could attend the Friday Night Club or The Jesus Light & Power Co. Friday Night Club was the best. Mr. Findlayson used to have a hall next to his home which was located in Parkes Street.
Friday Night Club was great for many reasons, the first was because Mr. Findlayson had arcade games in the hall, like old EM (electro-mechanical) pinballs, Exerion – arcade game, pool table and a jukebox; (remember that this was the 80’s). It also allowed us to meet all our friends in the late afternoon/evening and night time. Being allowed out at night with your friends when you’re an early teen was cool. Mr. Fin would also take us on excursions to the City (Sydney).
A couple of excursions really stand out, the first being when Mr. Findlayson took us to a huge all-you-eat Chinese Restaurant in China Town in the city. I remember trying Sweet Corn & Chicken Soup for the first time in my life and being completely addicted to it. I must have had at least 5 bowls that night and I could remember eating not much else because I was so full of soup.
Another time had us passing through Kirrawee on the bus to the city again, (might have been the same outing to the Chinese Restaurant) and Shane Poole got all grossed out by someone in another car next to us at the lights who showed their bare bum to her and the bus. That was funny and the whole bus was full of laughter.
One evening at dusk, the bus was chugging along the incline at Garawarra heading north. There was some smoke and Mr. Findlayson removed the cover from the engine to reveal fire. We all got of the bus quickly and moved away from it. I can’t quite remember what happened after that but I think another bus came and collected us.
My mate Alan Lewis had a thing for Mr, Findlayson daughter, Justyne. Alan had a way of being super cheeky but very honest and endearing and this open doors for him. Like the time when after school, Alan would go to Mr. Fins house and ask for the hall key so we could go play games. Mr. Fin would trust Alan (and to a lesser extent, me) by allowing us to have free rein over the hall most of the time. Alan is no longer with us but I personally will never forget him as we shared so many experiences growing up.
Mr. Findlayson… what a guy. It appeared he’d dedicated himself to us… to the little shit kids of Helensburgh. We could sometimes be naughty, or could be ‘dirt poor’, or a little ‘well to do’; and it certainly didn’t matter to Mr. Fin. as he treated us all equal. He seemed to care and have time for us and we knew he was just there for us. I have a deep appreciation and gratitude for Bryan Findlayson. He certainly left many lasting impressions on me and I’m certain others in the town as well. I truly thank him from the bottom of my heart for what he did for the youth of Helensburgh in those times. I’m not sure why he was compelled to do such things but I’m glad he did. (later he would tell me a guy “up there” was the reason).
Years later I felt compelled to write him a letter which I did and I got a very nice reply. I also conveyed my sentiments to Justyne at a primary school reunion several years ago and I remember Justyne’s expression on her face. I don’t think she really understood what her father had dedicated himself to, and the profound effects on the lives of those he came into contact with, or maybe I just read her expression wrong. Either way Mr, Finlayson did much for the township of Helensburgh. His literacy skills and historical knowledge are well known by those who partake in such interests.
Mr. Findlayson, if you ever read this… THANK YOU.
Images/Photos, and Article © Ian Piggott 2013 – all rights reserved,