Jim Dowling will be remembered for his dedication to farming and family, and community-minded work which included 45 years as a fire fighter.
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Several hundred mourners paid their respects to Robert James Dowling (Jim) at St Brigid’s Catholic Church Mulwala on Friday, November 10.
Jim, aged 61 years, passed away on November 1 after finally losing his long battle with cancer.
Fr Paul Lu Adm from Finley conducted the funeral mass. Cousins of Jim, O’Connor family members Janet, Brendan, Anne and Paul, with the sisters on guitars, played the music throughout the service.
Jim’s two daughters delivered the eulogy. Primary school teacher Georgia described her Dad as exceptional and included in what she said follows.
“His kind-hearted, caring and loyal nature was truly one of a kind. Dad was the fourth of seven children to Carmel and Frank Dowling, loving husband to Catherine and father to Brooklynn and me.
“Dad was born on the 5th of August 1962 in Yarrawonga and grew up on his parents’ family farm known as Carmelea in Mulwala NSW.
“The place that we are all gathered here today holds significance to Dad’s life as he spent many days here as an alter boy during his early years. Dad always held a strong catholic faith which he displayed daily, exhibiting what it truly means to be a good person.
“Dad began primary school at the Mulwala Public School on the 23rd of May 1967 and left the Corowa High School in 1978 in year ten to work on the family farm.
“In his spare time, Dad enjoyed the social aspect of football, playing for Mulwala and Rennie football club from the age of 13 to 16.
“Dad’s football career was facilitated by his close friend Neil McDonald picking him up before training from the front ramp, until he got his driver’s licence in 1979.
“Dad carried with him a sense of community spirit which was dedicated to his 45 years of commitment in the rural fire service in the role of deputy captain, joining the Taramia brigade at the age of 15 and later joining the Savernake and Mulwala Brigades.
“Dad’s community-minded nature continued further with his association as a member of the Drain Lane Committee as well as his position as Vice President of the Redlands and Mulwala Land Care groups.
“Everyday of his 34 years of marriage, Dad taught us what it means to be a great husband. He married his sweetheart. He adored Mum.
“Dad will live on in our hearts and memories and I will always be extremely proud to call myself Jim Dowling’s daughter.”
Brooklynn, who is about to graduate as a medic in the Royal Australian Air Force, said the family will never forget her Dad’s dedication and commitment to farming.
“Dad’s work ethic is simply incomparable to anyone else that I know and even though sometimes the workload was immeasurable, he would always have a smile on his face because he truly loved what he did.
“Through the wet, cold, heat and mice, he would always finish the job. Dad’s dedication to the farm was more of a lifestyle than a job. And such a passion was evident as in 1983 when he won the Southern Riverina Crop Competition, Dad was always so proud of this achievement.
“Fortunately, I had the privilege of helping and working alongside Dad on the farm for many years which will be memories that will stay with me forever.
“After school, on weekends, holidays and on days where I wasn’t working in the RAAF, Dad and I would work on the farm together.
“Dad and I spent our time fencing, shearing sheep, gardening and on a good day horse riding together.
“Legacy was important to Dad. Especially as he worked alongside his brother Gavin, farming in the local area to carry on the name of JF Dowling and Sons Pty Ltd.
“Such a legacy grew under the control of my Dad and Uncle Gav as they advanced further in their farming careers to purchase several farm properties including Conroys, Happy Go Lucky, Yuba, Rodgers and Slogger’s block to create and establish the solid farming entity.
“And while I haven’t picked up farming as a career, the invaluable skill and knowledge that Dad has passed onto myself may one day prove to be vital.
“From driving a tractor, harvesting a crop with Case or towing a 40-foot header front down the main street of Yarrawonga and Mulwala, as well as many other skills, I would never have learnt if it wasn’t for my Dad.
“Dad’s cancer journey was not easy and was one in which he embarked with great strength and dignity. Dad stoically faced his diagnosis, and fought every battle, hospital visit and form of treatment with a smile on his face.
“I hope that one day I can exhibit Dad’s bravery and courageous attitude into my everyday life. Dad’s passing leaves a profound void yet his spirit continues to surround and guide us.
“As I stand here today, I’m not saying goodbye, instead I say thank you dad for your endless patience, your invaluable lessons, wisdom and guidance. Thank you for being my Dad.”
Jim was laid to rest during a private burial prior to the church service at Mulwala Cemetery.
Refreshments were served on the Mulwala Water Ski Club Malibu Deck where many fond memories of Jim were recalled.
Jim’s two daughters did a marvellous job delivering the eulogy. Georgia is currently teaching at Strathulloh Primary School, but will commence at St Fransis of Assisi Baranduda in January.
Brooklynn is graduating from the Army School of Health as an Air Force Medic on November 30 and being posted to No.3 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at RAAF base Richmond, Sydney.
Jim loved his family and would have been so proud of the eulogy delivered by his loving daughters.