Date: October 07, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Vale: James Dixon

The final chapter of one of Queensland and Australian golf’s most extraordinary lives was sadly written last week when James Stuart Dixon died on September 29. He was 94.

Dr Dixon is survived by his wife of 63 years, Marjorie, their children John, Patrick, Kaye and Jill and their grandchildren Tom, Frances, Jack and Marjorie.

Jim, as he was known to generations of Queensland golf teams, was golf a passionate advocate for the sport and a proud supporter of Queensland golf teams in particular.

Even in his later years, Dixon was actively involved with the Queensland Interstate team as non-playing captain having been involved with squads through the years that yielded names such as Peter and Jeff Senior and Greg Norman, to name a few.

A talented golfer himself, Dixon once lowered his handicap to eight at his beloved Brisbane Golf Club; but it was his dedication to administration for which he’ll be better remembered.

Dixon began that phase of his life when he represented the Brisbane GC as a delegate to the Queensland Golf Union from 1965 before being elected vice-president and member of the QGU executive committee in September, 1969.

He became QGU president for seven years from October 1975 until 1982.

During this period, he was a delegate to the Australian Golf Union from 1970-82, a member of the AGU executive from 1975-82 and its president in 1978.

He was Australia’s delegate to the World Amateur Golf Council and a member of the council’s administrative committee from 1980-82, a task he also performed with the Asian Pacific Golf Conference from 1979-81.

At club level, Dr Dixon was a committee man from 1960-62, became vice-president in December 1962 and then president from 1964-66.

He was also a delegate for his club to the Brisbane District Golf Association from 1965-69, during which time he was a member of the association’s executive committee from 1968-69.

On a suggestion by Gordon Miles in October 1979, a Queensland matchplay championship was introduced in 1980, with the winner awarded the Dr J.S. Dixon Trophy. After several changes to the format, the trophy bearing his name was subsequently awarded when the event reverted to matchplay in 1994.

Dixon was known for his “gravelly”, distinctive voice. He was not an overly talkative man in boardroom discussions, but those involved knew where he stood when he voiced his opinion.

One of the more colourful days of his administrative career came in 1978, when, as president of the AGU, he went to the office of Kerry Packer, the billionaire television tycoon who was also effectively the supremo of the Australian Open at the time.

Dixon went to Packer, who’d effectively housed the Open at his home course at The Australian in Sydney for the past four years, to request the AGU be paid $5000 for what effectively amounted to the “rights” of the tournament.

Packer is understood to have been irate with the request and threw Dixon out of his office in disgust – and the tournament began rotating around the country again.

Life wasn’t always so glamorous for Dixon, who became a prisoner of war held by the Japanese in the renowned Changi camp before, as one of the fittest prisoners, being seconded to work on the infamous Burma-Thailand Railway.

Dixon worked at the Burmese end of the railway in horrendous conditions, then was kept on the railway’s maintenance crew right up until the Japanese surrender in 1945.

So badly was Dixon injured throughout this torturous phase of his life that he spent almost all of 1946 recovering in a Queensland hospital.

It was there that Dixon, who’d previously only completed Year 10 studies, decided that he would study to become a doctor. He completed his Year 11 and 12 studies in one year in 1947, then studied medicine at university before becoming a general practitioner in his own clinics in Moorooka and later in Queen St in Brisbane’s CBD. He was later a Commonwealth medical officer, too.

Dixon spent much of his life volunteering to help others and noble causes. He had a long-time involvement with Legacy and was a member of the Lady Musgrave Lodge Committee that helped women without housing throughout Queensland.

He was a devoted family man whose passion for his wife, their children and grandchildren knew no bounds.

And those who knew Dr Dixon recall him as a loving, empathetic man who cared about everybody he met in his professional and private life.