DANGAR IS­LAND

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - History -

Gover­nor Arthur Phillip landed on the is­land on 7 March1788 dur­ing his ex­plo­ration of the Hawkes­bury River. Mem­bers of the ex­pe­di­tion caught a quan­tity of fish and con­se­quently the is­land was named Mul­let. A band of na­tives ap­proached the party the fol­low­ing morn­ing and First Lieu­tenant Wil­liam Bradley recorded the event in his jour­nal with an ob­ser­va­tion of the in­tri­cate body mark­ings in pipe clay and red ochre on their skin. The beach is still named Bradley where this meet­ing took place.

An­drew Thomp­son, Chief Con­sta­ble of Wind­sor, com­mis­sioned the con­struc­tion of a boat in1802 and es­tab­lished a salt man­u­fac­tur­ing plant on the is­land by build­ing shal­low ponds, filling them from the Hawkes­bury River and al­low­ing the sun to evap­o­rate the wa­ter. The is­land was pur­chased by Henry Dangar in 1864 and he built a large house with a castel­lated stone wa­ter-tower which may still be seen a short dis­tance from the gen­eral store. Dangar died in 1917 and sub­di­vi­sion of his es­tate has re­sulted in a set­tle­ment where no ve­hi­cles are per­mit­ted. Mea­sur­ing half by three quar­ters of a kilo­me­tre, this is­land of­fers a pleas­ant re­lax­ing walk­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and is only a kilo­me­tre by boat from Brook­lyn town­ship.

The Union Bridge Com­pany which built the rail­way bridge across the Hawkes­bury used the is­land to as­sem­ble the steel spans, some of which weighed up to 1000 tonnes. These spans were floated into po­si­tion and made a dra­matic scene.

A mil­i­tary post was es­tab­lished on the is­land fol­low­ing the Ja­panese sub­ma­rine at­tack on Syd­ney Har­bour on 31 May 1942 when cap­tured maps re­vealed the rail­way bridge as a tar­get. For­ti­fi­ca­tions were built to pro­tect ap­proaches to the bridge with gun em­place­ments on Long Is­land to the west of Dangar Is­land.

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