Ulverstone man John Jobber, 80, home in North-West after year long ordeal to return from Ireland

HOME AT LAST: John Jobber went on a final trip to the UK to visit friends and family in March 2020. He and his daughter Samantha John had no idea it would take more than a year to get him home. Picture: Simon Sturzaker
HOME AT LAST: John Jobber went on a final trip to the UK to visit friends and family in March 2020. He and his daughter Samantha John had no idea it would take more than a year to get him home. Picture: Simon Sturzaker

The "long, long journey" home is finally over for John Jobber.

Having spent more than 12 months effectively trapped in Ireland, Mr Jobber arrived back to Tasmania's northern coast with his daughter Samantha John last week.

"It has been a long, long journey. I'm delighted to be back home," Mr Jobber said.

Faced with illness and approaching 80, Mr Jobber left Ulverstone, Tasmania, in March 2020 bound for a tour of the UK to see old friends and visit his daughter.

"I'm an old man now, I'm 80," he said, laughing.

"I decided that while I could still fly it would be nice to have a last visit.

He can have plenty of toys and television but he's not leaving Australia.

Samantha John

When he left there was no indication that the virus was about to shut down the world, and as Ms John said, no advice from the government to not travel to the UK.

"You think you know the world, and suddenly it changes so significantly," he said.

"It was a bit scary."

IN OTHER NEWS:

Fortunately, he was able to stay with his daughter who lives in Ireland, who he said "went above and beyond the call of duty" to care for him over the last year.

After a couple of cancelled flights in recent months, he finally boarded a flight to Australia on April 8 and was able to quarantine at a South Australian hospital for two weeks.

Ms John, having returned to Tasmania with her father, had previously said his trip to the UK was a last hurrah and that he expected to return home to die.

But, having started dialysis for kidney failure while in Ireland, Mr Jobber said the treatment is not as traumatic as he expected it to be.

"I wasn't keen on the idea, but it is better than the alternative."

Although a keen performer and former member of the Ulverstone repertory club, Mr Jobber's short term memory is now "pretty fallible", and he fears he will not be able to return to the stage.

"I love being on stage, but the simple fact of trying to recall lines is beyond me.

"It is very irritating, there is something there in the back of my mind I just can't quite grasp."

Laughing with her father, Ms John said he was now banned from travelling.

"He's grounded. He can have plenty of toys and television but he's not leaving Australia."

This story After more than a year stuck in Ireland, 80-year-old John Jobber is home at last first appeared on The Advocate.