Vale – Dave Magill

By September 13, 2020 No Comments


Dave Magill

(Photo courtesy Holly Magill)



It is with sadness that Brindabella Ski Club records the passing of David William Magill on 4 July 2020 in Batehaven, NSW.


Dave loved the mountains and was a keen cross-country skier & joined what was then the YMCA Ski Club of Canberra in 1989. Together with his family, he spent many seasons in the Club’s lodges in Thredbo and Guthega. A regular attendee at many work parties he was also the Club Captain from 2000–08, organising club championships, Thredbo interclub and Balmain Cup races. Dave was very skilled at recruiting competitors from within the membership of what is not, above all else, a racing club. He worked exceptionally well with others, quietly organising teams in four disciplines and calculating results for the presentation dinner for the Balmain Cup. He helped build club morale by organising teams to compete in the Thredbo Interclubs for a number of years while we had no lodge in Thredbo. He was always present, on his cross country skis, at the start line of alpine and cross country races to spread good cheer and coordinating bib swaps between competitors in different disciplines. He always enjoyed a drink after the races with the competitors. One member recalls that “it was like having Santa looking after us.”


His daughter Holly and his son Davey continue the family’s association with the Club, being active members & keen snowboarders.


Dave Magill was born on 19 December 1952 to proud parents David and Noelle Magill at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Paddington, Sydney & was the big brother to Penny, Margaret and Tim. He grew up in Chatswood and attended Shore (Sydney Church of England Grammar) School at North Sydney from 1965 to 1970 & was a star winger in the First XV rugby team. He went on to study naval architecture on Defence cadetships at UNSW from 1971 to 1974, graduating with Bachelor of Engineering degrees in naval architecture on 5 May 1975.


His career began at HMA Naval Dockyard Garden Island and culminated in Canberra as Assistant Director – Submarine Systems, Directorate of Navy Platform Systems. He was passionate about submarines and submarine safety, always reminding his staff the importance of “keeping water out of the people tank”. For over a decade, Dave served as Deputy Chair then as Chair on the ACT Section Committee of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects.


He retired to Batehaven, NSW in 2008, where his love of the sea, nature and the mountains gave him the best base within reach of his interests.


Dave was a keen sailor beginning at Middle Harbour in 16ft skiffs and represented NSW at several National titles. He also sailed in 4 Sydney–Hobart yacht races, the two known being, in Lolita in 1972 & in Wainunu V in 1977. In Canberra he moved into Lightweight Sharpies with the Canberra Yacht Club & the ANU Sailing Club. In addition to much racing, Dave was a long-term administrator of both the NSW and National Sharpie Associations and was awarded life membership of the NSWSSA in 2008. In retirement he became a stalwart of the Bateman’s Bay Sailing Club, being Race Officer for several years leading up to this year.




Dave always had a twinkle in his eye, was fond of a jar or two and had a ready quip for anything that arose in life. He didn’t always say much but, when he did, you listened. He was a kind, quiet and modest man who didn’t seek attention or applause, he simply got on with the task at hand. He was one of those people who didn’t want to lead the parade but, if not for him, the parade wouldn’t happen! He was extremely loyal and he will be missed.


Dave is survived by his mother Noelle, ex-wife Angela, children David Jnr and Holly, and grandchildren Imogen and Adyson.


The funeral service was held at Gungahlin Cemetery, Canberra, and was streamed live for those unable to attend on 22 July 2020.




Picture 15


Dave Magill, second from left, discussing Balmain Cup with other members of Brindabella Ski Club in 2003.




Permission has been kindly given by the editor of the RINA journal ‘The Australian Naval Architect’, to use the Vale column printed in the August 2020 issue as a basis for this obituary.

R. Blavins – 11/9/2020.




Admin Manager

Author Admin Manager

More posts by Admin Manager

Leave a Reply