Memorial service for Ted Dowling to be held at Yanchep Lagoon

Former Yanchep resident Anita Stockburger with one of the cakes celebrating Ted Dowling’s 94th birthday. Picture: Facebook

A COMMUNITY memorial service for Edmund (Ted) Dowling will be held at Yanchep Lagoon in front of the surf life saving club on Tuesday, August 9 at 5pm.

Born on February 19 in 1925 Mr Dowling introduced culture and theatre to the Blessing of the Fleet events in Two Rocks which then morphed into theatrical productions.

These productions included Punkerella Pantomine, Fantasy & Folklore at Fifty Fathoms, Fantastic Toyshop, Peter Pan, Castles and Cobwebs, The Hobbits, Hansel & Gretel – detention, the musical Oliver, the all-adult play What the Dickens! – written by Yanchep author Barbara Yates Rothwell.

In their notice announcing his death on July 16 his family said he was a chorister, soldier, playwright and good mate who they would miss.

Known to everyone in Yanchep and Two Rocks as “Ted” Mr Dowling was a great supporter of theatre, actors and youth.

This week actress, producer and director Priscilla-Anne Jacob (nee Forder), who is a former Yanchep and Two Rocks resident paid tribute to him.

“Ted was the first person to encourage me on my acting path,’’ she said.

Elena Lumsdaine and Morag Crompton at the party for Ted Dowling’s 94th birthday. Picture: Facebook

“He cast me in the lead role of Pandoras Box at the Blessing of The Fleet and encouraged me to follow my dream of becoming a professional actress.

“I will be forever grateful to him for that.

“Rest in Peace, Ted; God bless his soul.’’

Two Rocks resident Anne-Maria Colman said when Mr Dowling got involved in the Blessing of the Fleet it became huge.

“The first year was a stage down on the front of the wharf – the big involvement was the kids – the dress up and bicycle parade – dancing, singing and the whole thing spread from the wharf up to the shops with stalls and a mini funfair in the IGA car park,’’ she said.

“He had people working on it for months.’’

Former Yanchep resident Anita Stockburger, who is a former vice president of the Little Mermaid Theatre, described Ted Dowling as her mentor and friend.

His friend Kerrie France-Poole said she felt honoured to have spent many an occasion and evening over a glass of cabernet and a home-cooked meal together enjoying all the remarkable tales of his life, including his earliest days where he was fascinated by the lure of drama and performance.

Ted Dowling and Kerrie France-Poole, who is organising the community memorial service for August 9. Picture: Facebook

“He did well in creative activities, learning stagecraft and becoming a chorister at Westminster Cathedral,’’ she wrote on Facebook.

“His family background encouraged this direction in his life.

“His grandfather was a theatre impresario, his mother a dance and cellist and his father a stage door Johnny.’’

She said his family established itself in Australia where Ted and his wife Betty became Australian citizens.

“Ted’s gift for music, theatre and the army disciplines of hard work and leadership were not to be wasted.

“In the following years he was involved in the planning of orchestral and choral concerts around Perth.

“Then at last he brought his many skills and talents to Two Rocks where he undertook the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony and developed the Marine History Exhibition revealing the historical past of the Western Australian coastline.’’

His family is holding a private service today.