We were so lucky to grow up in the house that Dad built. The house with the little love hearts marked in sandstone. It’s a house that sprawls out over the landscape.
He extended it as he saw fit to accommodate his growing family and his grand vision, stone by stone, to create the little kingdom we know as Talai Estate. David came up with the name ‘Talai’ after a small fish in New Guinea because he said that’s how he and his wife Eleanor felt coming back to Australia, like small fish in a big pond. Through hard work and sheer grit, they forged lives worth living.
David was the epitome of a jack-of-all-trades. He knew how to make anything and if he didn’t, he gave it a crack anyway. He has five children, but was a father figure and mentor to countless others. He had seemingly endless patience and energy and persisted with people, particularly if they had lost their way in life.
He enjoyed hard, physical work and he could never sit still. He really set high expectations for us because we saw buildings go up, walls come down and whole landscapes change in such short time frames that we assumed that’s how everyone did it. After receiving a voucher for a joy flight from Eleanor for his 40th birthday. David ended up attaining his private pilot’s licence and became Director of Schofields Flying Club for a time. He was a compassionate and generous man. He enjoyed helping people through his volunteer work with Eleanor at St Vincent De Paul
It was David’s vision to create the massive cellar, buried underground and encroaching into solid sandstone, is remarkable. In its construction, a huge slab of sandstone was removed, cracked down the fault line and was left in the paddock behind the winery.
Driving his tractor, with the sun low in the sky, Dad noticed long shadows cast along the rock. He saw what no one else had, the indentations were fossilised footprints. The Australian Museum identified them as footprints from the Triassic Period, set in the sandstone over 200 million years ago. The name of the ancient creature? Coincidentally, Paracyclotosaurus Davidi.
His vineyard and cellar door became one of his biggest achievements. He loved nothing more than welcoming friends and strangers onto the property and he astounded people with his generosity and hospitality. He swung open the cellar door and did what he did best, mingling with and entertaining locals and travellers at his monthly Pizza and Pub nights.
He put up a brave fight and a long fight. Many people would have given up after suffering so many blows, but he dusted himself off each time and got on with business after seven major cancer surgeries over seven years.
He wanted us to remember him when he was well. So we will remember him for his generosity and kindness, his intelligence, wit and love of life. We will remember him for the way he loved Eleanor fiercely. We will remember him as Patriarch of the Moss family, local icon and immovable pillar of his community. We will hang on to the image of him happy and contented, dressed in his old clothes, looking out over his day’s work, glass of red in hand and setting sun on his face. David has left an indelible mark on all of our hearts. While we mourn his loss, we celebrate his life. We look around this house that Dad built and revel in how lucky we have been to know and love him.