Mas­sive fu­neral for Gav

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Obituary - BY ROBERT MUIR

One of the largest fu­ner­als ever in Mul­wala took place last Fri­day, for 53-year-old Ga­van Dowl­ing who lost his fight with cancer on August 26.

“We all ex­pe­ri­enced and knew Ga­van as a great per­son, a great ‘bloke’, a man of in­tegrity, so loyal to his fam­ily and friends, so much part of this com­mu­nity,” said Fr Steve Bo­han, from Sa­cred Heart Catholic Church Yar­ra­wonga who con­ducted the fu­neral ser­vice, as­sisted by im­me­di­ate past priest of St Brigid’s Catholic Church Mul­wala Fr John McGrath.

The old­est of the Carmel and Frank Dowl­ing’s chil­dren, Michael (Mav­er­ick) Dowl­ing, spoke so highly of Gav’s farm­ing at­tributes on the ‘Carme­lea’ fam­ily farm near Mul­wala.

“Gav was an ac­com­plished shearer and an ex­tremely hard worker,” Mav, 59, told the packed St Brigid’s Church and hun­dreds of mourn­ers seated and stand­ing out­side.

“He was a prob­lem solver and had the abil­ity to man­u­fac­ture a so­lu­tion to a me­chan­i­cal is­sue where many oth­ers would fail.

“Ga­van’s farm­ing ca­reer has been ex­ten­sive and has seen him be­come a highly knowl­edge­able and vastly ex­pe­ri­enced farmer with an ex­cep­tion­ally broad skill base that ex­tends across the dry ce­real pro­duc­tion, rice grow­ing, live­stock and me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing sec­tors.

“These skills were an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion in al­low­ing the busi­ness to ex­pand and de­velop with the pur­chase of fur­ther crop­ping and graz­ing land over a long pe­riod of time.”

Gav’s strong com­mu­nity con­nec­tion was ev­i­dent, Mav said, via his 35 years with the Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice, a mem­ber of the Drain Lane Com­mit­tee in­clud­ing four years as pres­i­dent, and be­ing a Mul­wala foot­ball com­mit­tee mem­ber.

Ga­van Pa­trick Dowl­ing had three sis­ters - Ker­ryn, Fran and Ma­ree - and three brothers, Jim, Peter and Mav.

Peter men­tioned Gav’s birth on May 11, 1964 at Yar­ra­wonga and his ed­u­ca­tion at Mul­wala Cen­tral School then at Corowa High School.

Peter’s three qual­i­ties he loved about Gav were his “steely de­ter­mi­na­tion to con­tinue and per­sist, the abil­ity to ac­cept some­times the out­come you get isn’t ex­actly what you wanted, and his smile”.

Youngest sib­ling Ma­ree also paid trib­ute to Gav, re­call­ing the annual fam­ily hol­i­day to Port Philip Bay with all the fam­ily crammed into Frank and Carmel’s 1961 pink coloured Ford Fal­con.

“Gav was strate­gi­cally placed in the mid­dle of the fam­ily and would in­evitably fea­ture in the mid­dle of any ac­tion that hap­pened to even­tu­ate,” Ma­ree said.

“Gav was a keen foot­baller and rep­re­sented his schools as a player and later had an ex­ten­sive foot­ball ca­reer with both Ren­nie and Mul­wala se­niors and re­serves sides. His achieve­ments in foot­ball were sig­nif­i­cant.

“Gav played in the 1983 Re­serves pre­mier­ship with Ren­nie and the 1987 Mul­wala Re­serves pre­mier­ship. Gav also went on to claim the Mur­ray League Re­serves Pres­i­dent’s Medal for the 1989 lead­ing goal kicker. Gav con­tin­ued to fol­low foot­ball avidly after his play­ing ca­reer came to a close.”

At the big wake, at the Li­ons clu­b­rooms at Lons­dale Re­serve, Mul­wala Foot­ball Net­ball Club Pres­i­dent David Rose fondly re­called the “pretty handy” full for­ward.

“He was a good, solid foot­baller, run­ning around in Num­ber 43 and boot­ing 10 goals in a match in which he won the goal kick­ing with 58 goals,” the club pres­i­dent told the Yar­ra­wonga Chron­i­cle.

“Gav had served on our com­mit­tee and was a great fol­lower of both the Ren­nie and Mul­wala clubs, al­ways be­ing loyal to the clubs.”

Lighter mo­ments and times in­volv­ing Gav were re­called dur­ing the Re­quiem Mass and at the footy/net­ball clu­b­rooms. “Gav got the bal­ance right - there was a time for fun,” Fr Steve said ear­lier.

“He was so well re­spected, so well loved. We en­joyed the warmth of his per­son­al­ity, the warmth of his smile.” None moreso than his nieces and neph­ews who adored him and de­liv­ered the fu­neral ser­vice prayers su­perbly un­der dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances.

The per­for­mance of the gui­tar singing band of seven first cousins of the hymns dur­ing the ser­vice was so favourably com­mented upon by so many mourn­ers.

Mav­er­ick ex­pressed his and the fam­ily’s ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the large num­ber of at­ten­dees, es­ti­mated to be 750. “Gav would have been very proud with the huge amount of peo­ple here to­day,” he said.

“It’s a demon­stra­tion of the re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion for him, a re­flec­tion of the bloke.” A bloke de­scribed as “wonderful” by brother Jim, who worked so many years on the farm with Gav.

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