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.
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.
Lahm in 1970s London
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
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.
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.
atop the island fire brigade's Toyota, with
(l to r) Geoff & Di Leeson and Darcy
Nicholson (captain, 1990-91).
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
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.
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
with fellow islanders Bob Blackwood and Tony
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
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:
TOP ROOM -
3.30 - 7pm, Saturday 23 July
For catering purposes please RSVP by 10 July to Emmie
Collins: 0405 330 781
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