52 Journeys, Australia: No 2, Broken Bay, Part 3

by | Jun 26, 2021 | Islands, Beach, Architecture, Travel, 52 Journeys

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It’s day one of Sydney’s second Covid lockdown where we’ve been ordered to ‘stay home’ for at least two weeks. I realise this is nothing compared to Victoria and the rest of the world but I’ve just had three weeks of my own mini lockdown due to a fractured ankle – I was looking forward to a long drive somewhere over the next few weeks of school holidays at least (luckily I broke my left ankle, so I can still drive). Anyway, what better time I thought when I woke up this morning, to do some virtual travel, to the last place in my Broken Bay journey – Dangar Island.

Dangar is a relatively small island (30 hectares) on Deerubbin, the Hawkesbury River, in Darkinjung country. Before white settlement/invasion, Indigenous Australians lived here, enjoying the plentiful fishing no doubt; when Captain Arthur Phillip landed on the island in 1788, he named it Mullet Island because of this. I read there were Aboriginal engravings and rock shelters and was keen to check them out.

Aside from that, the idea of escaping to somewhere surrounded by water and wilderness was so appealing last year after lockdown. When I spied a vacancy for a long weekend in November at the Dangar Island House, a beautiful home that at the time was owned by design gurus Karen McCartney and David Harrison (it’s since been sold), I nabbed it and rustled up a couple of friends to come with.

We arrived late afternoon on a Friday and made a beeline straight for the water; we thought it was hot then, little did we know…

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cooling off at Bradley’s Beach

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Dangar’s one and only shop – with water views

water only access

Dangar’s transport system

The Dangar Island House is well hidden amongst the trees – standing on the road looking down you can’t really make it out. Once you’re in the house, your view of the surrounds is equally obscured by the trees. I loved that feeling of being surrounded by green.

a home amongst the gumtrees – Australian hardwood blackbutt exterior

the open and airy living room

The interior of the home is just as lovely as its location, light-filled and populated with classic design pieces such as a Noguchi lamp and a handful of iconic, highly covetable chairs.

I still have chair envy to this day

love those curves – the iconic molded plywood chair designed by Norman Cherner in 1958

Over the weekend the temperature hit 42 degrees. We all took to our beds, just lying there, trying to read, waiting for the southerly to hit.

too hot to move

a detail of yet another beautiful chair

Before it got really hot, we explored some of the island as well as nearby Little Wobby. Walking around the three kilometre perimeter of the island, it’s hard to believe you’re only an hour or so away from the big smoke; it’s serene, quiet and very tree-e. 

Dangar’s beautiful tall trees

 another house on Dangar

Once you’ve made your way down to the water’s edge, it’s all about the life aquatic.


definitely the place to have a tinnie

or a canoe

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previously known as Mullet Island, due to all the fish

a runabout run aground?

 no cars but there’s Foxtel

Little Wobby beach


We had dinner at the local bowlo on the hottest night – I can still remember the feeling of relief walking into the air-conditioned restaurant.

The Bowling Club

food yes, but more importantly air-con!

A quick dip after dinner and then it was back to the house for one last night before jumping on a ferry the next morning.

an evening dip

our last night

I had wanted to do more exploring and photography during our stay but honestly, it was so damn hot for so much of the time, I just couldn’t. I was also a bit frustrated because I really wanted to spend time on the actual river in a little boat, looking back at the island in some lovely early morning or late afternoon light. But I feel grateful to have seen what I did, at the same time as experiencing such a beautiful home.

So that’s it for journey No 2 to Broken Bay. Given that Coco is in year 12 doing her HSC this year (and yes, that little thing called Covid too) I probably won’t be journeying anywhere else in this incredible country this year. But look out 2022, I plan to be gallivanting all over the place!