Read the heartbreaking notes left to the Sydney cobbler who arrived penniless in Australia 60 years ago and built a business serving everyone from PM John Howard to the clowns at Luna Park – before he became one of the 1,000 Aussie victims of Covid
- Sydney community mourns the death of a beloved and ‘humble bootmaker’
- Jim Saad, 80, was a legendary cobbler who sadly died after contracting Covid
- He ran his shop at Milson’s Point station for 60 years after arriving from Lebanon
- Grieving locals have left flowers and moving tributes outside of his store front
- Mr Saad’s long list of customers include former Prime Minister John Howard
Published: | Updated:
A Sydney community is mourning the death of a ‘humble bootmaker’ who spent the 60 years putting a smile on local’s faces before being struck down by Covid-19.
Jim Saad, 80, ran Shoe Repairs & Key Cutting at Milsons Point station servicing the shoes of former prime minister John Howard, celebrities and a legion of loyal customers on Sydney’s lower north shore.
He even the over-sized boots worn by the clowns at Luna Park.
The Kirribilli community say the area ‘will never be the same again’ and have flooded his shopfront with flowers and moving tributes to show his family how much he meant to locals, who passed by his store everyday on their way to work.
Mr Saad died of a heart attack last Saturday, six days after contracting coronavirus.
He is one of the 1,000 Australians who’ve tragically lost their life after being struck down by the virus`.
An affluent Sydney community is mourning the death of ‘humble bootmaker’ Jim Saad, 80, (pictured) who spent the past 60 years putting a smile on local’s faces
Locals left flowers and moving tributes outside of his shop, Shoe Repairs & Key Cutting, at Milsons Point station
Vale Jim: Locked down residents left messages showing how much Mr Saad meant to them
Mr Saad ran the store for 60 years at Milson’s Point station and had an army of loyal customers
Local residents said they wanted to leave tributes at his shop to show his ‘beautiful family’ how much they ‘loved and appreciated’ him
‘Everybody in the area walked past his place going to and from the area and you’d see him in his shop working away and say hello,’ Lloyd Gledhill, who has been mates with Mr Saad for 38 years, told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Everybody took their shoes to him because he did such a great job.
‘And he just had an interesting sense of humour and would reprimand customers if he thought they weren’t looking after their shoes.’
While the highly-skilled cobbler, who started the business after emigrating from Lebanon in 1962, was a master when it came to his craft, customers remember him for his kind-hearted nature.
‘Your welcoming wave to come and join you for a chat or a cuppa will hold so many special memories,’ a tribute left outside his shop front said.
‘Jim was a kind man who always took the time to talk to me and my four children. I miss you Jim. Kirribilli will always miss you.’
Mr Saad started the business after emigrating from Lebanon in 1962 and was a considered a master at this craft
Lloyd Gledhill captured a stunning photography series of his friend at work earlier this year
Mr Gledhill said ‘Jim had an interesting sense of humour and would reprimand customers if he thought they weren’t looking after their shoes’
Another message said: ‘Warmest regards from a community that will never be the same again.
‘You meant so much to so many in the local area’.
Locked down local residents said they wanted to leave tributes at his shop to show his ‘beautiful family’ how much they ‘loved and appreciated’ him.
‘He was just a humble bootmaker who came by bus and train every day for 60 years to serve the people of Milsons Point and Kirribilli,’ Mr Gledhill said.
‘But Jim had a lot of very prominent people who came in. I believe John Howard was one of his customers and he also worked for Luna Park to provide the oversized giant shoes for the clowns there.
‘The thing was he was 80 and had absolutely no intention of retiring. He just wanted to serve and help people.’
Mr Saad is captured in his younger days in a black and white photograph as the community mourn a local legend
Mr Saad’s family are working to live stream his funeral service and are set to finalise a date in the coming days
Mr Saad’s family say they are overwhelmed by the support of the community (pictured, his beloved shop)
Due to NSW Covid restrictions a large public funeral is not possible.
But the family are working to live stream the service and are set to finalise a date in the coming days.
Many are also calling on the local North Sydney Government to erect a permanent memorial at Milsons Point Station.
Mr Saad’s family say they are overwhelmed by the support of the community.
‘As a father he provided everything for me and my sister and his grandchildren – the way he was at work was the way he was at home,’ his son Matthew the North Shore Times.
‘He never wanted the kids to go without and was always happy and smiling.
‘The shop was his second home – he worked six days a week and he only had maybe three weeks off each year at Christmas.
‘There was nothing he didn’t know about shoes.’