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In March 2015 Brahminy was contacted by a father of a young man who was killed in the Cobar mining accident.

Brahminy has received a heartfelt donation from the CSA mine in Cobar and would like to share with you the story behind the donation and extend our heartfelt gratitude to CSA mine in Cobar, Bob Hearn (James father) and James Hearn.

IN DEDICATION TO JAMES LEO HERN (HERNIE)

James Leo Hern (Hernie) was named after his Grandfather who was also James Leo Hern.

James was born in Melbourne on the 14th December 1987

He was in a hurry to be born and has been in a hurry ever since.

He lived in Kinglake West on the Great Divide North of Melbourne with his mum and dad and two sisters until he was 13.

James moved to South Morang with his mum and sisters when his parents divorced. He then moved out of home at 14 living with friends and couch surfing.

James then moved to a next-door neighbours house who was a paraplegic. He helped look after him for a number of years and took good care of him. He started getting into trouble with the police and ended up being very well known by all the surrounding police stations. He was getting into alcohol drugs and street fighting. The police would ring to say James was in the lock up on a regular basis. It got to the stage that on a number of occasions I said leave him there to cool off and I would pick him up later. He would get very angry and abusive and had a few goes at his old man. It was very unpleasant living with the abuse and violence. It was like living with a time bomb and not knowing when it was going to go off. He had been to a number of schools and ended up not being welcome at those schools. Things were getting worse, when in one of his fights an older guy in his thirties who loved bashing young blokes had a go at James. James ended up putting the guy in hospital on life support. It was a very close call and James could have ended up in Juvenile detention for a long time.

The Juvenile Justice System became involved. James had two options. One go to prison, two do an anger management course and change his ways. James ended up on a bond for two years. One wrong move and he was going inside. James moved back with his father and enrolled in the Jim Stynes Reach programme (a program for children at risk and who had been missed out by the public system). We virtually had to bribe coerce and tenderly take him to the programme. He also went to Berry Street School in Eltham (another program for kids who had been missed by the system). Berry Street School had a very small class of kids (almost one on one teaching and mentoring). James completed his studies and topped the schools all time exam results.

At that time he got a pup, an American “staffie”. He trained that dog and had a big responsibility looking after her. The dog was very good for him.

A friend took him on as an apprentice, in an opposition business. We did not think he would last the distance. He proved us wrong. James trained in film set building, general building, shop fitting, cabinetwork and display work. He later joined a builder to complete his apprenticeship building multi million dollar homes.

James worked on quite a few Films and TV shows during his short years.

In his teenage years, like a typical angry adolescent boy he went through various stages. One being a gangster and rapper stage (Yo Mother!!! Wazzup?) He scarred the hell out of his Dads new partner in the early days when an agro monster in gangster clothes would appear out of the bottom bedroom swearing and carrying on.

He enjoyed 4W driving fishing and hunting, anything outdoors.

On Black Saturday the day of the 2009 Victorian bushfires, James was at the Southern 80 in Echuca. As soon as he heard of the fires he drove crazily to Kinglake West the back way with one thing on his mind. Get home and help. He spent the next 3 weeks fighting the fires, operating on adrenalin. The roads were all blocked after the fires and we made a deal with the police to get food, water, generators, fuel and a fire pumps through a roadblock, as there was no power, phone reception or food for people on the mountain who were freaking out.

James donated a lot of his time to bushfire victims with his dad, advising them on how to build a Bushfire Resistant home, clearing and setbacks. He then went on to help rebuild the TV show; Neighbours’ film set in a very short period of time and then commenced building complicated bushfire homes with his dad, uncle and mates. James helped build five homes in the Kinglake and Flowerdale area.

His younger sister had a major accident in 2010 and wasn’t expected to live. It effected him greatly as he thought he was going to loose his sister. She proved everyone wrong and eventually got back to normal after putting in a lot of hard work over a number of years.

James was very kind and would always drop everything to help someone. One time when a couple of James Dads partner’s chooks died, he rushed down to Mernda Market to buy her more to cheer her up. To her horror one had one eye - we named it Cyclops. It was a real character of a chook. He thought that was hilarious.

In April 2011 James Grandma passed away. James was very attached to her. It became too much for him and he had to get out. He had seen horrific things during the fire that no one should ever have to see, let alone as a young man and needed a change.

He headed north to the Northern Territory, which suited him to a tee, (t-shirts, shorts in skinny legs and thongs, that is).

His Dad and partner with his two sisters visited him in Darwin at the end of November 2011. We then headed down to Katherine where he was working and James took his youngest sister pig hunting. He left her in the scrub whilst chasing a pig. James’s dog put the pig into the Katherine River and the dog went after it. By the time James caught up all he heard was a splash no pig and a dog swimming around looking for it. He jumped in grabbed the dog and swam out. I said you are mad, what about the croc? He said all good the croc already had a feed no probs. What about the other crocs Nah territorial wouldn’t have been any others. All good.

In February 2012 James moved to Cobar NSW, caught up with his mates and got a job in the CSA underground mine. He met a nice girl and things really started to settle down and they were starting to build a life together. Cobar suited him as he could build, hunt and fish on his days off. There are many James running around Cobar with their 4WDs and hunting dogs in dog crates.

He was in a happy place, looking for land to buy and we had already designed two houses for him. He loved the people and loved his girl friends mum and dad. (It would have been a bit worrying seeing your daughter turn-up with a guy that looked like a bit of a rough nut with tatts all over him). He loved Cobar Nanna particularly her stews that he missed when his grandma had passed away. No one made stews like Grandma. Nanna Cobar was also very useful in taking up his jeans at very short notice.

He was on the move and he had the makings of being very successful. He certainly wasn’t an oxygen waster.

A friend quoted- I’ve never met a guy so charismatic that he made his colourful language sound endearing. He would light up a room when he walked in.

James was killed in the mine on the 11 June 2014 due to a work place incident.

He was a very kind loveable hard working ratbag and a larrikin.

He loved life, nature and the outback. He crammed more into his 26 years than others could do in a lifetime.

We all miss him every day and that will be the case for the rest of our lives.

He was one in a million.

James mates and friends in at the CSA mine Cobar very kindly donated a sum of money after his death, which has been held in trust.

James would have wanted the funds to go to a worthy cause. He was interested in the great work The Brahminy Foundation were doing for kids who were growing up in a similar situation, after seeing a documentary on the ABC.

He would have been very proud of all those who contributed.