Port Fairy RSL sub-branch president Jim Lane would help anyone in need

Jim Lane is being remembered as a bloke who loved the sea and would do anything to help others. 

Mr Lane died on November 15, aged 74, after a battle with mesothelioma. He was farewelled in Warrnambool on Wednesday. 

Mr Lane was one of eight children born to Angus and Joyce Lane. The family lived at Nirranda South where he attended the local primary school and later the Warrnambool Technical School.

Kind: Port Fairy RSL president Jim Lane is being remembered for his roles with the Royal Australian Navy and the RSL and for helping others.

Kind: Port Fairy RSL president Jim Lane is being remembered for his roles with the Royal Australian Navy and the RSL and for helping others.

He told the Moyne Gazette in Febraury that joining the Royal Australian Navy was a childhood dream. "As a small kid, I remember being with my dad in the dairy, milking the cows,” Mr Lane said. “From the yard, you could see the sea and the ships going past. I always said that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to go to sea."

Maureen, his wife of almost 55 years, said they met when the handsome 19-year-old came off the ship and into the Coles variety store in Williamstown where she worked, looking for a date. Mrs Lane accepted and they married months later.  

He was an engineering mechanic with the navy from 1961 to 1992 and held roles at the Port Fairy RSL sub-branch including president, stepping down due to ill health, treasurer and membership officer. He was also a Warrnambool RSL member.

Mrs Lane said despite his navy postings taking him away for six and nine months at a time, the couple “managed to have three children”, Edward, Bevin and Rosemary, and six grandchildren.

The Naval Association of Australia south-west sub-section treasurer also worked at Warrnambool trade supply businesses Mitre 10 and Welsh’s. He received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in January, for his outstanding contribution to veterans and their families, which Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau presented to him in March.

“He was so overwhelmed,”Mrs Lane said. “It was wonderful. It really made his day. He always said ‘one day I’d like a OAM’ and he got it. The sad part is he never got to wear it. He was proud of all his medals he got for his service.” 

He said in February he was “honoured and humbled” to receive the OAM. “I have always enjoyed helping veterans and their families but you don’t go looking for accolades. I’m proud of what I’ve done.” 

Mr Lane was the Warrnambool Neighbourhood Watch chairman for 18 years and received a Warrnambool City Council Good Neighbour Award. He was a Justice of the Peace for a decade. “He’d help anyone or do anything,” Mrs Lane said. “He’d help the neighbours out with different projects, woodwork and building. He’d virtually help anybody if he could.”