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Dangar Island

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Dangar Island
SydneyNew South Wales
Population313 (SAL 2021)[1]
 • Density920.7/km2 (2,385/sq mi)
Area0.29 km2 (0.1 sq mi)
Location50 km (31 mi) from Sydney CBD
LGA(s)Hornsby Shire
State electorate(s)Hornsby[2]
Federal division(s)Berowra[3]
Suburbs around Dangar Island:
Brisbane Water National Park Brisbane Water National Park Brisbane Water National Park
Wisemans Ferry Dangar Island Patonga
Brooklyn Pittwater Palm Beach

Dangar Island is a forested island, 30.8 hectares (76 acres) in area,[4] in the Hawkesbury River, on the northern outskirts of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Dangar Island is a suburb of Hornsby Shire and as at the 2021 census had a population of 313, which swells dramatically during holiday seasons. The island is serviced regularly by Brooklyn Ferry Service and departs from Brooklyn and takes about fifteen minutes. The Brooklyn ferry is itself adjacent to Hawkesbury River railway station. The ferry service is in operation 7 days a week.


Dangar Island has been known to the local Guringai Aboriginal nation for thousands of years. The first European to visit the area was Governor Arthur Phillip, who explored the lower river by small boat in March 1788 within weeks of the First Fleet's arrival. He named it Mullet Island, for the abundance of fish in the local Hawksbury River.[5] At first the local people were friendly towards him, but when he returned a year later, they would not come into contact. By 1790, over half the Guringai people had succumbed to the smallpox the British had brought with them.[6]

The island was purchased in 1864 and renamed by Henry Cary Dangar, the son of Henry Dangar, a surveyor, pastoralist and parliamentarian.[7]

Dangar leased the island to the Union Bridge Company of Chicago for the construction of the original Hawkesbury River Rail Bridge between 1886 and 1889. About 300 workers and their families lived there and the island boasted a large social hall, school, library and its own newspaper.[8]

In the 1920s the island, which is barely a five-minute walk across, was divided into residential plots, though space was reserved on the beach, the flat and the top of the hill for recreational use. Dangar Island Post Office opened on 1 September 1951 and closed in 1986.[9]

Dangar Island


In the 2021 census, there were 313 people in Dangar Island. 63.3% of people were born in Australia, the next most common countries of birth included England 13.7%, New Zealand 5.1%, the United States of America 4.2%, Germany 1.6% and the Netherlands 1.6%. 90.4% of people spoke only English at home, followed by Spanish at 1.9%, Mandarin at 1.6% and French at 1.0%. The most common response for religion was No Religion at 65.2%, followed by Anglican at 8.6%, Catholic at 6.7% and Buddhism at 3.2%.[10]

About the island[edit]

The Brooklyn ferry wharf to Dangar Island

In contrast to much of the surrounding area, which is designated national park, Dangar Island is relatively heavily inhabited. This was not always so. The island has several tarmacked roads which are closed off to all but the community fire truck, the council ute and vehicles with special permits. There are no private cars on the island. A wheelbarrow is a common method used to haul goods from the ferry. The island has one shop/café, and a bowling club for members/visitors which has a bar. The island also has a community hall that supports several community groups, including a children's film workshop, and mains water.

The island was connected to the water supply system by the then Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board in 1971. The island has since been connected to the Sydney sewerage system by Sydney Water, via a sub-marine pipeline to the mainland and a state-of-the-art treatment plant in Brooklyn. Septic tanks are being quickly phased out by most residents, providing a boost to the Hawkesbury waterways surrounding Dangar Island. Mail is delivered to the island daily by Australia's last Riverboat Postman.

The island has a shop next to the ferry wharf that serves light snacks, coffee, breakfast and lunch. It also sells groceries and has a good supply of meat. On the weekend the Dangar Island Bowling Club, which is licensed, serves meals and you can play bowls.

Island access[edit]

Travelling by road from the south, from either Sydney or Hornsby, access is available by the M1 motorway. Drive across the Hawkesbury River Bridge at Kangaroo Point and follow the Brooklyn-Mooney Mooney turnoff just after you cross the river. Travelling by road from the north, from either Newcastle or Gosford, access is available via the M1 motorway. As you approach the Hawkesbury River you can exit the motorway via the Brooklyn-Mooney Mooney turnoff on your left hand side. Follow the signs to Brooklyn and drive through the village. At the end of the road you will find a public car park and the Dangar Island Ferry Wharf.[11]

Rail travellers can catch any all-stations train on the Central Coast & Newcastle line. If travelling from Central (Sydney), the train departs from the InterCity section (Platforms 1–15). Alight at Hawkesbury River Railway Station (after Cowan railway station). Access to and from the station platforms via lifts is an available option. The Dangar Island ferry can be seen on your left as you leave the station.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Dangar Island (suburb and locality)". Australian Census 2021 QuickStats. Retrieved 28 June 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "The Legislative Assembly District of Hornsby". NSW Electoral Commission. Localities and Postcodes. Archived from the original on 23 April 2024. Retrieved 23 April 2024. Arcadia, Asquith, Berowra, Berowra Creek, Berowra Heights, Berowra Waters, Berrilee, Brooklyn, Canoelands, Castle Hill, Cherrybrook, Cowan, Dangar Island, Dural, Fiddletown, Forest Glen, Galston, Glenhaven, Glenorie, Hornsby, Hornsby Heights, Laughtondale, Maroota, Middle Dural, Milsons Passage, Mount Colah, Mount Kuring-Gai, Pennant Hills, Singletons Mill, West Pennant Hills, Wisemans Ferry.
  3. ^ "Profile of the electoral division of Berowra (NSW)". Australian Electoral Commission. 19 November 2019. Location Description. Archived from the original on 23 April 2024. Retrieved 23 April 2024. Berowra covers an area from Hawkesbury River in the north, to the M2, Pennant Hills Road and North Rocks Road in the South. Osborn and Normanhurst Rd and Main Northern Railway and Belmont Parade, Cockle and Cowan Creeks in the east, Hawkesbury, Bellbird and Cattai Creeks, Boundary Road, Taylor Street, High Road, Castle Hill Road, Main Northern Railway, Old Northern Road, Gilbert Road, Merrick Way, Gawin Court and Linksley Avenue in the west. Suburbs include Annangrove, Arcadia, Berowra, Brooklyn, Cattai, Cherrybrook, Cowan, Dangar Island, Galston, Glenorie, Hornsby (part), Maroota, Middle Dural, Mount Colah (part), Mount Kuring-gai, Pennant Hills, Westleigh, West Pennant Hills and Wisemans Ferry.
  4. ^ Rowland, Joan (2008). "Dangar Island". web page. Dictionary of Sydney. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Hawkesbury River Gateway".
  6. ^ ' History on the Hawkesbury River" Archived 18 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Huxley, John (26 September 2006). "Stranger Dangar: an idyllic island's growing fear". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  8. ^ "About the Island". Archived from the original on 5 February 2015.
  9. ^ "Post office list". Premier Postal History. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  10. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Dangar Island". 2021 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 29 January 2024. Edit this at Wikidata
  11. ^ UBD City Link 2006, street directory. Page 55-56, Map reference N7 – on page 56 and P4 on page 55

Further reading[edit]

  • Dangar Island Historical Society (2018). Guide to historic Dangar Island : gem of the Hawkesbury (3rd ed.). Dangar Island Historical Society.
  • Howard, Ann (2010). A Ghost, a Murder and Other Dangar Tales: a history of Dangar. TARKA. ISBN 9780958584340.
  • Howard, Ann (2011). Ten Dry Pies and Other Dangar Tales. TARKA. ISBN 9780958584357.
  • Howard, Ann (2012). Rainbow on the River and Other Dangar Tales. TARKA.
  • Howard, Ann (2012). Derrymacash to Dangar : Dangar Island in the 1950s as told to Ann Howard. TARKA. ISBN 9780958584371.