Norwood coach Haydn Bunton spotted Jim Contos while both were playing with the South Football Club in Port Augusta in 1957. North Adelaide had refused the 20-year-old Bunton a clearance to play for Norwood but he was able to maintain match fitness by having a run with South Augusta in Sunday matches while coaching Norwood to the grand final. This was possible because the Spencer Gulf league was not affiliated with the SANFL at the time.
Bunton was Norwood playing coach the following season when he recruited Contos, who played five league games until a broken wrist ended his league career. "A pity", says Norwood legend Wally Miller, "because he was a brilliant player. Jim was a slightly built wingman, a beautiful player."
Jim kicked one goal in seven games with the seconds. He also played cricket and was a very good batsman and spin bowler.
Although he was known in Port Augusta as Dimi (short for Demetrios - James in Greek), no-one in his family called him by that name and to most people he was simply 'Jim'.
Born on 31 May 1934, Jim played for Murray Bridge High School before attending Norwood High School for one year at the age of 16. He played football with Teachers College from 1951 to 1954 and then three seasons with South Augusta while teaching in Port Augusta. While with Norwood in 1958 he taught at Enfield High School where he stayed for six years. About 1964, he resigned from teaching and moved to Murray Bridge with his wife Marie, a daughter of Port Augusta couple Theodore and Anne Struck, to take over the family building supply business in Murray Bridge. He played a short time for the Ramblers Football Club.
Jim and Marie had two children, Melissa and Jason. The couple built a brick shack near Blanche Harbour on Eyre Peninsula, about 20 km down from Port Augusta, which they treasured for more than 45 years. Marie passed away in September 2012, aged 71. Jim celebrated his 85th birthday in Adelaide on 31 May 2019.
M Shirley, P Robins May 2019
* Picture and information kindly supplied by Jim's daughter Melissa Wright