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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

June 16, 2022

Newsletter for the Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 23, Issue 1179

We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Traditional Custodians of Pittwater, as well as our Indigenous readers



14/4/1942 - 31/5/2022

David Hartmut Lahm, a former Scotland Island resident who never lost his connection with the offshore community, has died aged 80.

Dave, otherwise known as ‘Lahmy’, grew up in Hunters Hill amidst a bohemian scene of artists and writers. Dave’s grandfather, a watchmaker and jeweller, had come to Australia from Estonia when Dave's father, Hartmut 'Hottie' Lahm, was 16. Hottie was a talented, flamboyant and successful commercial artist/cartoonist for the papers of the day: his portrait, painted in 1973 by Nora Heysen, hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. Dave’s beloved mother, Joan, was, besides her work in real estate, an accomplished painter and famed cook.

David Lahm in 1970s London
Dave was the eldest of three brothers, the younger two being James (deceased) and Nicholas. Dave enjoyed Boys' Own adventures in the gardens of family friends, including Norman Lindsay, the Missinghams, William Dobel and Nora Heysen. Through these experiences in the Blue Mountains, on the Lane Cove River, the Northern Beaches and Era Beach in the Royal National Park, David developed an early love of nature, boats and, of course, aircraft.

Following schooling at Woolwich School, Hunters Hill and St Andrews Cathedral School, Sydney, Dave was offered a Qantas cadetship as a flight engineer. But Dave declined the offer since his family didn’t approve. Instead he went into a ‘proper' job in banking.

Through an art school friend Dave met the beautiful young June Morison in 1965. They married in 1967 and honeymooned by driving to Melbourne in one of the first Mini Coopers. This car, with its grey and red trim, was Dave's other early obsession.

Dave and June lived for a while in an old schoolhouse in Gordon, but in 1970 headed off for halcyon days in London, travelling there via Tahiti, Easter Island, South America, Mexico, the USA and Canada.

Settling in a flat in Wimbledon, Dave began a new career at the Engineering firm TT Boughtons and Sons, while June worked for the British Potters Society gallery in Soho and later the British Crafts Council gallery in Covent Garden. Lifelong friends were made, gathering at their local pub, the 'Hand in Hand’ on the edge of Wimbledon Common. Dave and June also explored the UK in their royal blue Fiat 500. With the sunroof open, life was good and carefree.

Journeying home for just £50 under Gough Whitlam’s Returning Australians scheme, Dave and June bought a block of land above Scotland Island's Cargo Wharf in 1974 for $10,000. They had a Bisley Kit home built on the block and moved onto the island in 1975. Dave and June went their separate ways in 1977, but both stayed on the Island they loved and remained close friends. June Lahm still lives on the island, although now in a house on its northern shore.

Dave atop the island fire brigade's Toyota, with (l to r) Geoff & Di Leeson and Darcy Nicholson (captain, 1990-91).
When a Mona Vale-based engineering company that Dave worked for was relocated to Mascot, leading to a grinding daily commute, Dave chucked it in and followed the time-honoured tradition of carving out local offshore employment. He worked with Lenny Duck and Joey Heather on the old Curlew and was the go-to man to install and fix your water pump.

Lahmy was equipment officer, deputy captain and long-term member of the Scotland Island Rural Fire Brigade. He was also involved with the Woody Point Yacht Club from its very early beginnings. At Beashels, he dynel sheathed the old putt putt, ‘Alex’, which he bought off Graham Duff. He also painstakingly restored the ‘Corella’, winning the Huntington Cup with John and Phil Hebden and Richard Leplastrier.

In the 1990s an old work mate brought Dave over to International Seal Ltd in Mona Vale, where his specialist knowledge saw him traversing the globe providing O-rings and seals for the likes of Concord and Collins-class submarines. Naturally, some of his enduring tales were of his regular London to New York flights on Concord, with privileged access and chin–wags with the pilots in the cockpit. Good times.

In 2005 a different Island captivated Dave and he moved to Tasmania, purchasing and restoring an original seaman's cottage in Arthur's Circus, Battery Point, Hobart. There he sailed with friends in old wooden boats on the Derwent.

Dave with fellow islanders Bob Blackwood and Tony Freeland
Another chapter began in 2009 when, missing old friends in NSW, Dave sold up and bought a federation house in the Georgian town of Morpeth in the lower Hunter Valley, a few streets away from his good friend Simone Meakin. But Dave returned often to Sydney, maintaining old and forging new ties with Scotland Island. He regularly stayed with Emmie Collins and found new family joy as a surrogate grandpa, besides continuing to give to the community in various other ways.

Living in a coal mining area, restoring an old house and extremes of weather contributed to a chronic lung condition, which in recent years left him less active. As he would often say, he was increasingly ‘Kangaroo Edward’. Following a poor recovery from a lung procedure in Sydney in March, and contracting Covid19 whilst in rehab care, Dave died in Lake Macquarie Private Hospital in Newcastle on the morning of 31 May.

David Lahm was one of a kind and is remembered as a great Scotland Island eccentric. An elegant gent with a ready wit, a pocket full of rhyming slang, a kind and generous heart and a humorous, romantic’s take on life, he was well loved. He will be dearly missed by the many friends, colleagues, acquaintances and admirers whom he gathered along the way through his extraordinary, rich and roaming life.

Fair seas and clear skies, Lahmy.

David Lahm: a celebration of his life

Those who knew Dave are invited to raise a glass to a life well lived, share stories or just listen and reminisce at the:


3.30 - 7pm, Saturday 23 July

For catering purposes please RSVP by 10 July to Emmie Collins: 0405 330 781


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Updated June 2021
  • Festival of Making, April 2021

  • The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily the views of the Scotland Island Residents Association (SIRA), or the Western Pittwater Community Association (WPCA)
    Original Newsletter Design:Paul Purvis & Julian Muir