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‘Mr John’ Hemmes - a remarkable trailblazing entrepreneur, radiating strength and vision. A loving husband, passionately proud father and grandfather, and a true gentleman.

In memoriam: Mr John

The Hemmes family invites you to celebrate the life of Mr John.

The family have requested that instead of flowers, donations are made to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital LALTHAM Fund, supporting blood disease research and patient care. Fund Name: ROYAL PRINCE ALFRED HOSP LALTHAM FUND, BSB: 062000, Account Number: 16068321

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I worked at JAM's Collins Street store when it first opened in 1972. What an incredible experience to be surrounded by such ambiance & genius. Thank You Mr John & Merivale for your wonderful inspiration.

Mr John, the man who in the 70's implemented concepts of 'branding' well before branding became the marketing term of the 80's - 90's and for bringing out the best potential in people. I Salute with treasured memories.

My deepest condolences to Merivale, Bettina, Justin & families.

- Anne Chan

I was thinking today how nervous I got when you came in to one of the restaurants that I was waitressing in. This was not because you were scary or mean but because I thought so highly of you and really wanted to impress you. You always noticed when we were trying our best and you were generous with your compliments. So, thank you for being such an aspirational and kind man and thank you for always treating me and the other staff like we were your friends. Your support and encouragement made me want to be a better person.

I feel lucky to have had you in my life and I know you made quite an impact on me.

With fond and loving memories,

- Melissa Buchanan

So sad to here such an icon has passed. I remember when I came to Mr John's & Merivale's home in the Eastern Suburbs in the late 80's to ask them if I could bring clients into their store in Pitt St Sydney to dress them after hours. My business name then was "Dress for Success". They both very kindly listen to my ideas & said yes. Both Merivale & Mr John saw this as a win win scenario & an opportunity for both our businesses!! I did this with them for about 18 months & will never forget their encouragement & willingness to help me out to establish my new business.

Thank you so much you were both such a joy to meet!! My deepest condolences to Merivale & all the family!!

- Virginia Bowen-Porteous

Thank you Mr. John for the great years I had in the 80's working at your gorgeous Collins st store in Melbourne.

You are a true icon in the fashion world and always have come up in great conversation of the "Remember When" days, you will never be forgotten, I still have my most of my pieces I bought and will treasure! I have fond memories of your "Sales training mornings" special breakfasts for all staff, listening to tapes by Dale Carnegie smile They proved very valuable, Thank you for everything you have given to the Fashion Industry and the valuable, amazing memories.

RIP Mr John. sincere condolences to Merivale, Bettina and Justin.

- Adriana Stolejda

I worked for Merivale and mr John from 83 to 85, it was an experience of a life time, I have lots of fond memories of him and his amazing family. Merivale, Bettina and Justin, sad for your loss.

- Nermina Willaton

I was a young girl from Hobart who walked into The House of Merivale and Mr John, went upstairs to the 'White Room' and bought my wedding dress... It was the late 70's and I remember showing my mother thinking she would have a fit because it had a very large triangle cut out revealing most of my stomach! She LOVED IT!... Mr John was innovative and exciting and he created an amazing 'destination' for shopping in Sydney.

- Lyndall Pitchford

In the very early 1970's I travelled from Brisbane to Sydney for my first big adventure interstate. I knew noting of Merivale but while strolling through the streets of Sydney came across the most fabulous shop. I had a very limited budget but I could not resist purchasing a custom made handbag that included a large M sewn into the fabric of the leather. It was the most wonderful item. I had to wait sometime for it to be delivered to me in Brisbane and for many years I used this bag and gained wonderful happiness from this handbag. I have such fond memories of the purchase event and of course the product.

Now living in Sydney, each time I dine at one of Merivales great establishments I remember that experience and it seems that it has left me with a special connection to the living history of this productive and generous family. Thank you for starting me on a love of fashion and design.

- Christine Marsden

I travelled by train from Newcastle to Sydney especially to go to the John and Merivale shop. I think it was the early 1970s. I purchased a fabulous pair of shoes that day. I was fascinated with the shop and remember John dressed in flares and velvet top and Merivale dressed elaborately. They were ahead of their time. I still have a small packet of matches "House of Merivale fashion Centre and Mr John Menswear" as a memento.

- Jude Mitchell

I was one of the employee in the House Of Merivale and MR John in 1978 till 1982 in Melbourne when John Caust and Peter Harvey was my manager, I had great time working for MR John was a good man very fair to all his employees was very genrous was always very elegant well presented himself.

My Deepest Sympthy to MRS Hemmes (Merivale) and his children God Bless His Soul, and God Be with you all.

Love from Sam Yakub & family

- Sam Yakub

Its is 1966 - Just out of school - a gap year before Alexander Mackie Teachers College - haunt House of Merivale just near the Royal Theatre - that year purchase a green and linen dress and coat lined with grosgrain ribbon, a silver crepe dress, a purple military styled mini. Later in 1970 sail on the Fairstar - and I'm wearing a XXSSW sized mini lilac outfit - packing a case full of Merivale gear. I arrive in London, live in Chelsea and compelled to visit Bibas - Maxis have replaced the minis. I do remember John - he was always welcoming and made one feel a valued friend.

- Gail Sweeney (nee)

I would like to express just how fabulous I thought John Hemmes was. I did not know him though moving from London to Australia in the mid 70's, my mother used to take me on outings to the Merivale and Mr. John Store in Collins Street, Melbourne. Having grown up in the UK on a self imposed strict diet of Mary Quant, David Bowie and all things fantastical, I came alive as I walked down those stairs and entered that beautiful establishment. We didn't actually live in Melbourne though in Rural Victoria and the 4 hour train trip dropped us at Flinders Street and Merivale and Mr. John was always our first point of call. I was not yet a teenager though developed a love of all things bright and beautiful from those experiences among the racks, Kentia palms and ceramic leopards. Thank you Mr. John Emmes for inspiring me and for developing my passion for the divine. Gone though ABSOLUTELY not fogotten xx

- Lyndel Moore

A true gentleman in every essence of the word, your tenacity, humbleness and caring qualities truly inspired the world. Your passion and vision will live on forever.

You will be greatly missed.

- Tol Broinowski

When I was younger Mr John would be the place to shop, and be fashionably wicked. I can't believe I'm right between your dad's age and yourself. I too, am a regular client at RPA, and hope to be for many years' to come. Best wishes in dealing with the family grief. Love to all the family, Angela.

- Angela Bell

I am so sad to hear if John's passing. I have known him and Merrivale since the Sixties. They supported me in many of my fashion ventures over the years. Jonn was an inspiring trend setter and will be remembered by many. For me, I always will visualise him at the entrance to the Pitt Street store. RIP Mr John.

- Pamela Noon

Mr John had the unique ability to make everyone feel important. World leaders, business leaders, managers, guests, floor staff... Anyone and everyone! He was a brilliant leader, patient, great company, a visionary and a wonderful person.
I know for a fact that his life and legacy will not be forgotten anytime soon. Millions of great meals, fun nights and wonderful experiences will make sure of that.

All the best to the Hemmes family

- Zach Levien

Sad to hear of Mr John's passing. Was great to work at Merivale Potts Pt. way back then & get to know the Hemmes family. Best wishes to you all.

- Steve Major, ex-Bistro Moncur

Thank you John and Merivale, my husband Tony and I got married in 1981 in "Merivale and John". You looked after us so well. Thank you and watch over us from your cloud in the sky.

- Veronique Johansson

We have had the sad news in Holland of our uncle John's passing. Our sincere condolences to Merivale, Betina, Justin and family.

He will probably now having laughs and fun somewhere up above with Oma, our grandmother, his mother, as he always had. Perhaps they are enjoying an Indonesian "rijsttafel" which she always cooked for him when he and his family were visiting her in Amsterdam.

I have so many pleasant and warm memories of "Uncle Johnny", he was a great man!

Oscar, Petra and Hugo van der Schoor

- Oscar van der Schoor

1970, pitt st...

Wow! Condolences and thanks.

- Rob Coghill Maddrell

I'm very sorry to hear of Mr John's passing. As one of those teenage girls who haunted Merivale's in the Angel Arcade & later in the shop next to City Tatts, spending large swathes of my allowance on whispy bits of luscious fabric, I have very find memories of him, Merivale & that era.

I've followed the growth of the business into hospitality with great interest & admiration - and am still a happy customer, all these years on.

And I still remember that gorgeous little chocolate chiffon dress. And the youngster we all were then.

My sincere condolences to Merivale, Betina & Justin. Vale Mr John.

- Robyn Mowatt

Merivale, Justin and Bettina,

Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time. I will remember "Mr John" fondly for his passion and also for the lovely man that he was.


- Fiona Myatt

Back in the late 60s when I was a very sweet young thing, John and Merivale were hot! They remained hot. Style and lifestyle icons. Very recently, all these years later, I was standing at the corner of Hunter and Pitt streets when John fanged around the corner in his Aston. He took the corner wide and fast, lid down. He was in the moment, enjoying life despite all its challenges and adversity. He played hard, worked hard and lived hard. I want to be just like that when I grow up, starting now! Thanks John. Peace be with you.

- Anne Moore

So many wonderful sentiments with so little time or space to put them into. I will never forget my first night at Hemmesphere Mr. John. I've always strived to be the best I possibly can at what ever I do and that 1 hout chat we had on my first shift made me want to be EVEN better. It wasn't what we spoke about but the incredible enthusiasm you expressed throughout the conversation which I will always remember. Thank you! Your essence could move mountains. All my love and thoughts are with the WHOLE merivale Family.

- Michael Lawrence

I knew nothing of Mr Hemmes' story until I read Saturday's obit. What an inspirational person and beautiful story of love and passion. Please someone write a biography so the story of how to live can be passed on. His story of how to live should not be forgotton and I for one want to share it with my children!

- Michelle Irwin

I remember my first meeting with mr john at Felix restaurant. He was impeccable in his dress with great style and presence. A true gentleman.

- Andrew Brett

When our family had a function to attend, if it were important enough, we dressed in Merivale. Simply as that. Our family's memories are framed by 'that' Merivale outfit. From my father to my brother, my mother to my sisters. Perpetually unique and forever inspirational. Thank you Mr John.

- Janelle Urquhart

Shortly after opening Merivale at Macleay "the now Fish Shop Site" Mr John told me, I don’t like the cars that park outside the espresso bar Todd "they are a bad look for business" mostly foreign tourist cars that were staying in the cross for a few days. It annoyed him, until one day he asked me to get a screw driver and a cafe chair. He climbed up removed the parking sign from the corner and placed it further down the street outside Benny’s night club. Problem solved no more cars out front. He used to laugh as the parking officers walked by wondering. He loved role play once he asked me to pretend I was a customer and sit on the toilet, he closed the door and asked me to tell if the cleaner ever mops behind the door or wipes the back of the door, attention to detail!  

- Todd Finigan

I am an ordinary Sydney Sider. I never knew Mr John. But for the past 20 years my friends and I have enjoyed the benefits of Mr John's courage, vision and tenacity.  We are better for it, we are happier for it and Sydney is a more of a 'place' because of it. Thank you. Your legacy will live on and on.  

- Christopher Carolan

As a 16 year old teenager from the western suburbs a trip to Mr John twice a year was one of the great highlights of my life because it represented a fantasy world of true glamour and bohemian excitement. Mr John ignited my taste in fashion that continues to this very day. Farewell my mentor.

- Rick Wootton

Never met Mr John but what a wonderful man for people to look up to and emulate.  I have fond memories of Mr John and Merivales'.

- Dana Vandyke

On behalf on Anita and I please accept our deepest sympathy, Merivale, Justin, Bettina and family. It was indeed a great privilege to know John and be part of history. He will never be forgotten... my birthday was his birthday! RIP

- John Caust

Mr John you were a legend. Faithfully dining at Lotus each Saturday night for practically the entire 3 years I was there. Margaritas - always said they were the best you'd had (and since after chatting with Ant from Est, apparently his are the best too. Love that!) You showed us what it meant to be a leader. You showed us what work ethic was. You showed us what it meant to empower your kids to be the best they could be. You showed us that all the little things mattered to make the sum of all the parts as good as they are (cue pictures taken and sent at 2 in the morning of a cracked side walk or a blown lightbulb to follow up the next day!). Thanks for leading such a full life and encouraging those around you to do the same. Bye Mr John and so sorry Justin, Bettina, Felix, Jasper and Merivale for your loss - thank you for hosting a lovely afternoon for us to all come together and share our memories yesterday x

- Alexx Stuart

I am blessed to have known you Mr John.

Rest in peace... Your soul will live forever in our hearts.

Miss you today & tomorrow

- Sandy Grice

Dearest Merivale,
So very sorry to hear of John's passing, we all shared so many memories in the 60's and 70's, you called me little Jenni back then. My thoughts are with you and your family always Jenni xxx

- Jenni Champion

For the 6 years I have worked for Merivale I have only ever known Mr John for his warm smile and generous heart. He was the most inspirational man and will always feel very prevailed to have worked for him. Mr John is an inspiration to all and will never be forgotten. We will miss you warm welcoming smile and wisdom. Sending My Love to Merivale, Bettina and Justin x

- Meryl Burn

My deepest condolence to Mr John Hemmes family, May his soul rest in perfect peace!

- Liz Pam

You were so much more than a boss to me and many others, you were my friend and an incredible father figure in times of need which I will never forget and will continue to hold you in my heart forever.

The memories you leave behind will always make me smile and laugh, going for a spin in your brand new Aston Martin before stopping for lunch and a 'few too many' red wines! Tackling fence jumpers at Good Vibrations Festival and rolling around in the grass with them, speeding down the bus lane on George Street in a luxury vehicle as though you were invisible whilst yelling at taxi drivers because "they don't know how to drive" ha ha...the list is endless.  

I am blessed to have known you & will miss you dearly Mr John xx

- Georgette Davren

Mr John was a Man among Men , It didn't matter to him what your background or social standing was he always treated you with respect. I will miss him !!!

- Mark Irwin

I only met Mr John a couple of times but he was courteous, charming, bright and interesting. He will be missed from his business enterprises but most of all by his family and friends. Frances Drummond.

- Frances Drummond

Always the first sending you birthday wishes, always the first congratulating you for the good results, always the first leading by example, and forever the most true gentleman I've ever had as boss.

R.I.P Mr John.

- Gabriele Taddeucci

One of the world's true Gentlemen: a humble, caring and tenacious man who inspired and touched so many people. Mr John, you will be sadly missed by all of us.

All our love and thoughts to Merivale, Bettina and Justin.

- Brett Sergeant

Dear Merivale,Bettina and Justin,

Thinking of you during this difficult time. I was deeply saddened to learn of Mr Johns passing, he will be truly missed.

- Jennifer Elliott

Mr John was a visionary and a pioneer and to me he was always a kind, lovely man. It was a pleasure to have known him! It is with great sadness that Australia bids him goodbye. He will be missed by all who knew him. My condolences to the Hemmes family. Our hearts go out to you. X

- Sarah Biswas

To the Hemmes family, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.

My first meeting with Mr John was working on the Mr Wong project. He seemed concerned that the work we were doing was to top standard, I assured him that all he had mentioned would be completed to the best of our ability and that I would personally oversee it to make sure he had the best quality finish. I met him on a few other occasions while doing work on some of the other Merivale venues. It wasn't until late one night I received a group email from him, not sure I was suppose to receive, however, we returned a short conversation over a few short emails. From that point, he struck me, just from that short exchange, he was a proud family man, with strong family values and regardless what was happening in his life, family was 1st and foremost. He spoke highly of you all.

- Tracey Fellows

I bought my first ball dress in 1960 from The House of Merivale & Mr John for a Knox Grammar Ball at The Trocadero. It was olive green with a strapless bodice and ruched skirt and came with a matching stole. I felt like a princess. It was the start of my passion for everything John & Merivale - they were the 'it' couple of the time. We followed them faithfully into to Angel Place, the Slip Inn, The Establishment, lunches and dinners in various restaurants and now to events and occasions at Ivy.

Its been quite a ride Mr John and I thank you making it all possible.

- Jill Varley

John was a remarkable person with vision and a leader as fashion designer with a real flare for life a rare skill that he has past on to his son.

John will be missed by all who new him over his many years.

- Richard Mailey

The story of the little prince says it all. There may be millions of Mr's in this world but there is only one Mr John who can never be replaced nor forgotten. Loved by all. We will keep you in our broken hearts until we meet again.

- Kerrie Boylett

In what has been a sad week for me with the funeral in Wales of my Nana who planted the seed and inspired me with her love of cooking to become a chef and hearing the news of Mr Johns passing. A great man who along with Justin trusted in me and gave me my first head chefs job at Bistrode CBD, he ate my food every week and was always supportive of me during my 8 years working for Merivale, he even popped into our bistro in Northbridge and when he realised we had popped out for a break left a nice message on the bench ending the note with a comment on how clean the kitchen looked!

The memories and stories are endless. His eye for detail and work ethic are an inspiration for all. He was a true gentleman and very genorous, when I decided to move on after an amazing time at Merivale, he invited me and my wife to have lunch with him at est which is a memory I will cherish.

Warmest condolences to Merivale, Justin and Bettina. I wish I could make it on Friday but I will still be in Wales, I will be thinking of you all x

- John Evans

Remember visiting Mr John's store in Pitt St with my mother as a teenager. He was a unique character. May he rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with the family x.

- Carmen Ianni indovino

Dear Bettina Felix Jasper Merivale and Justin... So sad About the passing of Mr John, too many stories to list... But such a sharp character, and I loved seeing him drive his Aston along the Rose Bay promenade with the wind in his hair and a huge grin on his face. Beloved life and it loved him.

Vale Mr John
The Lumsden Family

- A & B Lumsdens

Mr John was an inspiration. It is rare that you meet anyone who just oozed enthusiasm about everything he achieved in life. (Even sweeping up the floors of the shearing sheds in NZ when young.) He will be sorely missed - not just because of his successes, but because he was a bloody nice guy.

- Iain "Huey" Hewitson

Mr John, I never personally met you though you have passed on an inspiration to me and left a legacy to be proud of.

- Adam Rakowski

I met Mr John when we were both having Bone Marrow Biopsies at RPA in 2012. He offered to recommend a list of vitamins and supplements that could help in my own battle with Multiple Myeloma.

Since that day we kept in semi-regular email contact and he always enquired on my progress. He also referred me to his own specialist as well as to his friend Dr John Tandy who was a great help.

Mr John was very happy for me when my Stem Cell Transplant last June was successful. And I was truly saddened around Xmas when he informed me his own treatments weren't working so well anymore.

What a tremendous man - he took the time to help another patient 30 years his junior… I'll always remember his kindness.

An inspiration to many.

- Paul Gray

A gorgeous stylish gentleman.  Mr John has left a huge legacy. Congratulations for all your accomplishments and thank you for providing us with beautiful clothes and now top of class bars clubs and restaurants.  Justin you created a new era.  You must be proud of your dad and he of you.  Very sad loss for the family and all who knew him.  He was a kind thoughtful man.  Justin keep up the great work.

- Jana Lazarou

Ahead of your time Mr J - R.I.P.

- Jenny Lennox

I was very fond of  Mr John and he will be sadly missed. My wife and I were at the Slip Inn for lunch and I complained to the waiter as we had been waiting a little for our order. Would you believe it when I went to pay Mr John had paid for us. "What a legend".

I was fortunate to meet him as I provided the dental technical expertise for him. He was a good person and I know how hard it is when you lose something you cannot replace. My sincere condolences to all the merivale family and friends this sad time.

May the good memories far out weigh this recent sadness.

- Wallis Franklin

To all his friends and family, so sorry to hear about the sad news.

- Scott Commins

I remember John talking of the different stages of his business life but that what he valued most was what it taught him personally. The privations and challenges of John's early life were matched by his final years and yet he was so stoic throughout. Undoubtedly one of nature's true gentleman.

- Ian Wunderlich

Thankyou for being an exemplary Australian and for bringing the best in the business, from local or overseas, into the Merivale family and empire.

- Lillian Rojas

Mr John Hemmes a man so generous, creative, bold, courageous and unique. Its been a true honour to not only work for you but to also be a part of your wider family. You're a true inspiration and you will forever be etched into our hearts and souls. RIP.

- Andrew El-Bayeh

I'm very sorry to hear the news of Mr John's passing. I worked for Mr John at the Mr John and Merivale clothing stores in Sydney. One day I was smoking pot in the toilet downstairs. Mr John came downstairs and asked me to come to see him when I was finished. He was kind and concerned. What he said to me was this: "You can tear your clothes and repair them, Stevie, but you can't tear your mind and repair it". It was good advice, that I didn't take, but I've always remembered it... and Mr John.

- Stevie Wright

I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. John since 1992 when I arrived in Australia to open the Park Lane Hotel and he was always supportive and helpful and when he ultimately introduced me to Justin and Bettina we had the tremendous privilege and pleasure to design Felix Restaurant followed by Mr. Wong for the Hemmes family. May he rest in peace.

Michael McCann
Dreamtime Australia Design

- Michael McCann

Merivale, Bettina and Justin, you are blessed to have been gifted with so many extraordinary memories of an amazing man. And to you, Merivale, in all that you taught me to believe in my early days remain a constant in my life. My deepest sympathy, Esther.

- Esther Lacherdis

An inspirational and generous man and a true gentleman. I feel so privileged to have been a part of this journey with you. Mr. John, you will be truly missed.

- Franck Moreau

An incredible man, I particularly remember sitting with him on a retreat and him telling me about his past, from prison camps to fashion visionary and hospitality pioneer you are truly one of the greats Mr John... Sending much love to Merivale, Justin, Bettina and the rest of the family.

RIP Mr John

- Luke O'Donohoe

My memory of Mr John will also be of a stylish, warm and generous man with a fabulous sense of humour and I'll never forget the glint in his eye which always heralded an amusing (sometimes slightly naughty) story. He was wonderful company and one of the world's true gentlemen. The world lost some of its shine when he passed away.

- Susie Newham

Mr John's pet hates within the restaurant are something that I will never forget. Having almost five years worth of these 'things not to do' on the floor, most of which actually made complete sense and were purely an insight into Mr John's eye for detail, understanding and passion for service. I actually picked up some of these pet hates and carry them into my current work place to this day! Ha.

Making sure the coffee spoon sits on the saucer in the correct position to the coffee cup and not clearing any wine glasses before any of the other guests have finished drinking, empty or not.

Dear Mr John, you truly were an inspirational legend. May you rest in peace.

- Alistair Clarkson

When I was 18 and in my first job, my entire pay packet of $29 paid off the numerous lay byes I had at the House of Merivale, the best boutique in Sydney at that time and for years to come. I remember Mr. John always being so welcoming and proud of their magnificent boutique. I'm sure this was a huge inspiration several years on for my career in fashion. Thank you for the great fashion and for the great memories.

- Rosemary Armstrong

My mum had the privilege to work as a sewing machinist for Marivale back on the 70's. She holds fond memories of Mr John and wishes me to pass on her sincerest condolences to the family.

- Gloria Konnaris

Mr John name first came about when working in the high end fashion industry in Martin Place during Uni back in 2006. Years later I was hired by Angelica B. which invited me to Hemisphere big bash where I saw first-hand what an amazing company & culture to celebrate achievements Merivale does have.

During the induction, Michael Lawrence encouraged us to introduce ourself to Mr John when ever we will see him around. Following his advice I encountered a passionate, sharp and very approchable human being.

Meeting him again on Pacha opening night his eyes were filled with proud looking at you Justin and on his way out when I asked him how the evening went, he had his eyes wide open with huge spark and said "great & did you see the show". You felt the sense of accomplishment & proud transpired through his words.

Later on during the first few weeks of Pacha I was told to be extremely careful in my contribution to the Mr John Report as he was paying great attention about spacing left in between numbers & dollar signs. At 5am on a Sunday morning this request sounded very "zealous" but it all made sense, you don’t get to leave such a legacy without tenacity, an open heart, love for your work and a sharp eye for details.

I was so impressed when I heard an email that came through from Mr John around 5.30am before even leaving the manager office asking for clarification on numbers or why the lift had not been fixed earlier on that busy night.

The contribution made by Mr John & Merivale, you Justin & Bettina to Sydney Hospitality landscape is immense and I can safely say rarely achieved in any capital city worldwide.

Feeling blessed to be part of such a group, be strong & make him proud in doing what you guys are gifted at, just do love & do best!

Warmest Condolences to your family Merivale, Justin and Bettina.

- Joris Cuesta

It is hard to put into words what an incredibly generous, caring and thoughtful man Mr. John was. He always took the time to call you on your birthday and when you had achievements in the business. For such a busy man, he always had time for each and every staff member. He will be sorely missed. xxx

- Emma MacMahon

A respectful farewell to a man I greatly admired, Mr John I only had brief moments with him, but he made a great impression on me.

My best wishes to the family,
Matt Iles

- Matthew Iles

I modelled for them back in the 80's, when they had their lovely little building in the CBD.  All art deco and beautiful delicate touches.  I remember him as a very regal, elegant, impeccably groomed man, always putting his lovely wife first.  One of the last true gentlemen...

- Leonorra Ward

Dearest John, You're the "J-Bomb," a true force of nature, Awe-inspiring; you inspired me last week, I’m inspired by you this week & you'll inspire me all over again next week too, Ad-infinitum,
Shine On Mr John. Love Always Michael (that's Uncle Michael, wink!)

PS. If I’m lucky and I make 83, please remember to ask me, so what was Mr John like? I'll light up like a Xmas tree, I’ll laugh out loud, you'll put a smile on my dial & with a happy tear in my eye, I’ll reply, Awesome! absolutely Awesome!!

- Michael Francis

Hemmes Family,

To a dear colleague who showed insight and care to all around him, may his memory be blessed and let his legacy continue.

With fond memories.
David Scheinberg Family

- David Scheinberg

Vale Mr John,

My thoughts are with Merivale, Bettina and Justin during this sad time; yet with the passing of Mr John, it would be worthwhile to celebrate the wonderful and inspirational influence he had on those he came into contact with. From the loudest and dingiest of nightclubs, to the most glamorous of cocktail bars and fine restaurants, Mr John valued each and every employee working for the group as part of a greater family. He taught us to value the detail in the minutiae as well as the big picture, where attention to detail drives success on the grand stage, to take pride in our work, whether you are stocking the cellar to managing the busiest bar in a venue. He was the conductor; his willingness to be aware of and understand every single beat and note of the Merivale orchestra, from broken lightbulbs to yearly takings, Mr John's pride in the business flowed down to so many of us.

Thank you for being the inspiration for some of my many important life lessons, as you undoubtedly have been for many others. You will be sorely missed by Sydney and the innumerable bar, restaurant and hospitality workers and venues whom you have influenced in some way.

Vale, Mr John.

- Jae J

Mr John leaves an extraordinary legacy of success, determination and innovation. How wonderful to be able to look back over a life that brought so much happiness to so many. Just about everyone has a great memory from one of the venues Mr John created. I enjoyed meeting him very much. He was a rare breed - and lives on in his talented family.

- Amy Cooper

Merivale, Bettina and Justin, my thoughts are with you at this sad time. Mr John was an extraordinary man, one of a kind. He was caring, generous of heart and his passion for life was amazing.  He taught us a lot and set a wonderful example in so many ways. He may be gone from this world but he will not be forgotten.

- Amanda Peters

Mr John, will remain in our thoughts, hearts and spirit. The man who gave me fashion in the 70's and challenged fashion boredom. A true gentleman... an icon... and true spirit!! Am sad today but a better man to have known him.

- Russell Minkie

Dear Mr John,

Never will I forget you tackling the fence jumpers at Good Vibrations Festival!

Love you forever xxx

- Jane English

Dear Justin.

Thinking of you and the family.

From the Moufarrige's.

- Marcus Moufarrige

Mr John - so kind to me when my partner and his friend died - Monte Gildea. Such an amazing life with kindness, friendship and helping others being the strong themes through personal Life and business. Vale Mr John, you will be missed by many. xx

- Jo Woodrow

I first met Mr. John around 6 years ago when I helped him jump-start his Jeep in the pouring rain one night after I had just been performing at a charity event. He was so appreciative that he invited me for lunch at the Ivy and gifted me with a free membership to the Ivy Pool Club. We remained in touch ever since then, such a beautiful and generous man. The world has lost a bright beacon of light. My most sincere condolences to all his family. From New York, Alfio Bonanno.

- Alfio Bonanno

Working for Mr John allowed us to be the best we could be - and yet he still encouraged us to be better than our best every day. Mr John was inspirational, a perfectionist, caring, generous, and very entertaining. Working for Mr John and the Merivale Family is still to this day the best job I ever had. There are so many stories to tell, oh the books that could be written. I use to love receiving updated emails from Mr John after I had left, most were about Merivale Group's continued achievements and success. He was so proud of Justin and Bettina's work.

Love and best wishes to Merivale, Bettina and Justin xxx

- Kerry Gemmell

Rest peacefully John - you fought your battle with such dignity and strength. We are honoured to have shared our front garden with you all these years. You were so smart, so witty and so devoted to your beautiful family. We send love and light to your beloved Merivale, Justin, Bettina and your beautiful grandsons.

- Bev and Kevin Bermeister

I always enjoyed Mr John's company and admired his ability for making people feel special. Reading all of the comments on this page I now realise his ability to connect with people was one of his defining characteristics - a great example to anyone who wants to succeed.

I found him charming, funny, a great story teller and wonderful company – he struck me as a true gentle-man. I was also always so impressed by the close eye he kept on the growing Merivale empire... whenever we visited a Merivale restaurant (even without a booking) he knew about it by the next morning and there would often be an email asking how everything was! I admired his business acumen – his concern for his staff – and most of all his love for his family – he always talked about the grandchildren and was so proud of what Bettina and Justin were achieving!  He was a very special man who will live on in the hearts and minds of so many people. Vale Mr John x

- Roberta Muir

I didn't get to know Mr John to long. But the times i did see him he was always radiating with kindness, happiness. I wish i had more of a chance to get to know Mr john.

Rest In Peace.

- Joel Cheeseman

The night sky has another bright shining star. Mr John - dedicated, passionate, a wonderful story teller, who build a family surrounded by so much love for one another - that will always remain and his legacy will carry forward. I send a world of love to Merivale, Bettina, Justin - my memories of my close time with the Hemmes family I  always cherish!! Some of the best in my career - my thoughts are with you all.

Wrapping you in big hugs. Xx

- Nikki Andrews

Mr John, a man who had it all. He had drive, passion, motivation, determination, compassion and let's not forget style. He never dropped his guard and he never stopped fighting until the very end. He is, not was, a man that all men wished they could be. He lived a life that could only be achieved by being what Mr John was and stood for. "Excellence". You will be missed but always remembered. It would be impossible to forget you as there is a footprint left behind in almost every corner, nook and cranny of this city. And I am sure for those that have known you since the years of fashion there is an amazing story to tell.

A star and an icon...

RIP Mr John.

- Napoleon Giannoudis

As a fellow Dutchman, I am so very proud what he and all of you have achieved.

From when I arrived in Sydney in 1994, John ( Jan ) embraced me and showed me around.

I will never forget the day he picked me up from the Hilton, convertible Roller – on our way to the just purchased ‘Establishment’ site. We walked around on burnt out floors, with John painting a magnificent mental picture!

- Joost Heymeijer

Dearest Merivale, Bettina, Justin, Jasper and Felix,

We cannot express in words our greatest sympathies for you all at this time.  Mr John was an inspiration to ourselves and so many.  Bettina we will try to make contact with you directly but understand at this time you may wish to remain private - but please know our love and warmest hugs are with you all now and always.  I (Belinda) will personally be there on Friday to show our families respects for your wonderful father, I know how much Mark looked up to him as a business leader and hope to give you hugs when I see you next.

All our love,
Mark, Belinda and little Matilda Stapleton xxx

- Mark, Belinda and little Matilda Stapleton

Dear Merivale, Justin & Bettina. It is with deep regret to hear the sad news and loss of the passing of your beloved husband and father. May his wonderful soul rest in peace as we all collectively embrace the wonderful things he had to offer including the kindness and time he offered to all, including myself. May his spirit and aspirations continue on throughout the Merivale family for all time.

Thinking of you all.
John Senakis

- John Senakis

Mr John your were a trailblazer in the hospitality industries I am very sad to see you join the great entrepreneurs in the sky. Enjoy your next challenge.

- David Johnson

Your were an infectious man. A gentleman and great fun. You had a momentous impact on the Merivale team. You knew them all and gave them such a great place to work. You leave behind such a legacy and great ideas and experience in Justin and Betina. Rest in peace. While we will never forget you we will remember your fantastic contribution to this world. You thought us all. Adam xo.

- Adam Thompson

The morning of my 21st I was lucky enough to receive a phone call from Mr John sending me his best wishes. Not only did he wish me Happy Birthday he also asked what I had planned for the day - I was genuinely shocked and grateful that Mr John took time out of his Saturday morning to wish me a Happy Birthday.

- Sophie Madigan

Enjoy your glass of champagne in Heaven, John.

- Sam Leon

My fondest memory of Mr John is from the 2012 Merivale Christmas party "our very own pacha". Mr john and myself stormed through the crowds hand in hand dancing, There was no stopping him. I looked over at a slightly worried Bettina. But we had it all under control. show stopper!!! God bless you Mr John. xxx

- Aimee Pitcher

My mum, having not met Mr John, attended an event on the day following an injury to her knee. Mr John would not allow my mum to get a taxi, but personally organised a car home for my mum (Marguerite Winter) seeing the pain my mum was in. People who care for others are the best. Mr John was the very best.

- Diarmuid Hogue

Thank you for the opportunity to wish the Hemmes family strength in this sad time. Yes you are right - a visionaries were Merivale and "Mr John". Your stores were a wonder to behold. I have today dug out my "Merivales" dressed in them and had my husband photograph me. I will send the photos to you. Sadly I am unable to attend on Friday. Memories - Jan

- Jan Burgoyne

Being a Melbournian and a frequent visitor to such a beautiful city up north. Mr John you created some amazing venues. Always visit one of your spots when up there. Will be sadly missed.

Your turn Justin to carry on the Merivale name.

RIP Mr John. Sincere condolences to the family.

Warmest regards,

- Adrian Mckinnon