The walls and tables of the 91-year-old’s room at the aged care community in Brisbane are adorned with colourful clocks.
Jock currently owns 76 analogue clocks – wall, mantle, chronometer, torsion pendulum, sculpture and cuckoo varieties – which he makes or fixes.
One of his favourite clocks, which he has owned and maintained for 70 years, is one that he built himself out of a gas street light timer device.
“When I was in the army, I kept it in the bottom of my kit bag and I brought it with me over here to Australia and made the case for it,” Jock says.
Jock’s passion for his timeless hobby began as a teenager in Scotland, when he began work at a jewellery story in the small Highlands town of Kingussie.
“My dad said, ‘There’s a job waiting for you at the jewellery shop. I don’t want any arguments, you’re going in there.’ I didn’t have much time to learn but I learned everything,” Jock says.
Jock only worked at the jewellery store for three years before undertaking military service, but the skills acquired dismantling and reassembling watches and clocks have given him a lifetime of pleasure through his chosen hobby.
Carinity Clifford House Customer Service Coordinator Chris Profke is full of admiration for Jock’s creativity abilities.
“Jock’s decorated all of these clocks that were plain-faced clocks. He painstakingly adds all of the sequins on and makes new hands for them and puts new numbers on them,” Chris says.
Jock also maintains a grandfather clock at Clifford House which is older than he is. He says he fascinated by the mechanics of what makes analogue clocks tick.
“If there’s problems with any of the clock’s movements I dismantle them and repair them. Even if it’s a battery-powered clock you strip them down and wash all the parts because there might be just a tiny speck between the teeth that is enough to stop it from working,” Jock says.
Chris says Jock is widely known as Clifford House’s “Mr Fix-it”.
“Jock fixes other things too. He’s the resident cobbler and fixes a lot of the ladies’ shoes. He has got the talent to be able to make things and a lot of people don’t have that creativity or the skills,” Chris says.
There isn’t much that Jock hasn’t tinkered with, from the Harley Davidson motorcycle he used to ride in his youth to Clifford House’s kitchen utensils.
“The food scoops in the dining area, sometimes the gears jam so I will dismantle and fix them. There’s a special way to do that,” Jock says.
“You should never say you can’t fix something. There’s always a way around things, even if you have to make parts.”