My Day with Dangar Dave (Part II): A Rabbitohs Warren in the River

"Welcome to Dangar Island!"

“Welcome to Dangar Island!”

Our tinnie coasted up the Hawkesbury River towards the pier at Dangar Island.  The last time I saw this part of the Hawkesbury River was back in 2013 when I rode the ferry around the river.  Suffice it to say, I was really excited to explore more of the Hawkesbury on foot.  With the exception of Wondabyne and Brooklyn, I hadn’t seen much of the region other than on the water.

Me with the friendly faces of the Hawkesbury!

Me with the friendly faces of the Hawkesbury!

After tying and mooring the boat by the pier, David wasted no time introducing me to some of his friends and neighbors.  Just steps from the dock by the provisions store, David was talking to three people seated a table having a smoke.  One of these bush denizens was a woman named Mel, who according to Dave, worked for a local newspaper.  She was working on coming up with clues for a crossword puzzle, all of which were themed after things that made the Hawkesbury River famous.  Digging into my knowledge of Oyster Farmer , I blurted out, “6-letters.  The clue is: they spend all day in bed.”  Oyster, I shouted out!  After a few pleasantries were exchanged, Dave and I began our trek towards his house.  To say that this island in the Hawkesbury was beautiful would be such an understatement!  First off, the smell alone is enough to put a spring in ones step; a bouquet of flowers and the mild sea air tickles the senses in a way that is hard to comprehend, let alone put into words.  Second, the birds sing and warble in every tone that could only be matched by a woodwind section of an orchestra.  The laugh of the kookaburra, the tweeting from a magpie, the squawk of a cockatoo, and the whistling of a gallah fills the air with a musical interlude that you just can’t get in Long Island or New York.  In fact, a kookaburra flew down just inches from my head!  Lastly, the path leading to Dave’s place sits along a path that feels like one giant pergola; a never ending garden covered by palm trees and gum trees.  Not to mention fruit trees bearing such vittles like avocados, oranges, and berries.  If I could describe the aesthetic, I’d day it falls somewhere between the Florida Keys, the South Pacific, and a hint of Calabria, the southern most part of Italy.

"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!"

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!”

A Rabbitohs warren in the middle of the Hawkesbury!

A Rabbitohs warren in the middle of the Hawkesbury!

Dave invited me into his humble abode.  It was as if someone went to HomeGoods and bought out half the store and went to town on the inside.  If you are unfamiliar with the reference, that is a compliment!  It was such a cozy place where an oil incensed burned, new age music filled the room, and unsurprisingly, there was Souths gear strewn about.  My kind of place!  After introducing me to his lovely wife, Roweena, Dave unloaded his most valued Rabbitohs items upon my eyes and hands.  One such item that he was rather proud of was a rulebook of footy that dated back to 1913 and an autographed picture of Harold Horter, a Souths player from the 1910’s, arguably the first big star the team had.  To say that this man was a devotee of the red and green would be a gross understatement.  Granted, I had only been following the team for just under 5 years, but even I had to tip my cap to this bloke.  I did, however, ask him who these red and green men in black and white were.  One of my favorites was a photo from the first time Souths played an American league team in the 1950’s.  This massive brute named Al E. Kirkland with is toothy grin and hulk-like arms tried to take down South Sydney legend, Clive Churchill.  The “Little Master” as he was known, is considered to be both one of the greatest rugby league players and coaches in Australia’s history, if not the world.

Footy rule book from 1913

Footy rule book from 1913

Harold Horter: South Sydney's first big star

Harold Horter: South Sydney’s first big star

Al E. Kirkland (American) VS Clive Churchill (South Sydney)

Al E. Kirkland (American) VS Clive Churchill (South Sydney)

Before leaving the house, David took a moment to roll a smoke.  Not pull a cigarette from a pack, but actually sprinkle dried tobacco into a piece of paper, just like how the cowboys used to roll a cigarette.  Talk about old-fashioned.  Afterwards,  Dave and Roweena invited me along for a walk throughout Dangar Island.  My adventure in Hawkesbury continues!

Me with the lovely Roweena

Me with the lovely Roweena

TO BE CONTINUED…

Next Time:  Dave and Roweena introduce me to the locals that call the Hawkesbury River home and continue to show me around the beautiful and pristine Dangar Island.

About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
This entry was posted in Australia, Hawkesbury River, New South Wales and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *