|11 Sep 2020|
|Deaths and Obituaries|
David Dallas died peacefully at his home in Melbourne on 8th September. He was 87.
At school David was an accomplished all-round athlete: he was the star off-spinner in the first XI, capturing 65 wickets in 1950 and 87 in 1951 – these all in school or Nuffield matches; he was centre three-quarter in the first XV; and a brilliant middle-distance runner. After school, he played rugby for Hamiltons before changing to hockey for the WP Cricket Club for whom he also played first division cricket for many years.
He practised as an Attorney in Cape Town and was Church Warden at St Saviour's Church, Claremont in the late 1950s. After reading a report on the needs of the commuter community compiled by a theological student, Winston Ngubane, (later Archbishop) and with the help of fellow OD Tony Smith (O 1949), David started the 'Churches Committee for Urban Mission in Claremont'. At the time there was no place in Claremont for Black and Coloured people to have tea or coffee and something to eat until 'The Open-Door Restaurant' was opened in St Saviour's Hall, where prices were kept very low and where all the organisers and helpers were volunteers – including David's wife, Bergliot.
David was elected to the Diocesan Synod and he saw to the creation of a Diocesan Council which was an effective legislative arm able to take decisions between Synods which had previously been a burden on the Archbishop. He was the first Chairman and when he moved on, the Archbishop himself took the chair.
He did extensive pro bono legal work for people referred by the Black Sash, (Bergliot was a prominent member) eventually persuading some 20 other legal firms to share the load. David served on the Board of The Christian Institute (CI) where he worked with Theo Kotze and Beyers Naude. This involvement earned him a raid on his house by the Security Force searching for CI material.
As a result of his involvement with anti-apartheid matters, David was invited on a six-week visit to the United States as a guest under their Cultural Exchange Programme. As his topic, he chose ‘Civil Rights and Social Responsibility of the Churches’. Largely as a result of seeing South Africa through the eyes of others he made his big decision to emigrate to Melbourne, Australia, with his family. This was in 1977. His one son, Ian, had just finished at the College and Tony grade 10 with Megan at the end of grade 8 – she is now the headmistress of a Junior School. For all of them, it was quite a wrench adjusting to a new life without the familiar shelter of Devil’s Peak and the Newlands oaks.
David joined a legal firm called Lander and Rogers, where, after massive growth in the size of the firm, he was appointed Manager of the partnership introducing a range of sensible ways of maximising effectiveness. In retirement he wrote four books: one was about his Dallas forebears; one on his great grandfather WE Moore, styled The Father of Woodstock (he was the first Mayor) and founder of the Legal firm bearing his name, and for whom David worked. This book paints a vivid picture of life at the Cape in the period 1870 to 1920. His third biography was about the Andersons on his mother’s side and the fourth of his maternal grandfather, CJ Offord, the well-known Natal headmaster and founder of Natal Schools week which still carries his name. When David won his SA Schools cap it was presented to him by CJ which was a lovely moment for them both.
David was the leading light in a group of retired walkers, called The Wobblies, who tackled an astonishing 85 walks a year requiring careful organising because they all seemed to combine either a stopping place or an endpoint which provided tea, cool drinks and snacks. Finally, David helped out at TiTree Lodge, a care home near to where he lived on the Mornington Peninsula, where he arranged weekly presentations of matters of general interest as well as a smaller group with specific classical music, ballet and opera interests
David leaves his wife, Bergliot, two sons Ian and Tony, daughter Megan, and three grandchildren, Hannah, Chloe and Philip. His life was one of service. He had great warmth and was much loved by all who were fortunate to know him. He made a mark and he made a difference. He will be sorely missed by his family and his many friends.
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