Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest were sleepy little villages when Joyce Davey first ventured there in the 1930s. Hawks Nest was the main area but not much more than a few bush tracks leading from the boat ramp up towards the beach and down along the river. There were fishing shacks scattered around the area, but very few houses of any size. There was an old derelict hotel on the Hawks Nest side which was mainly inhabited by campers and workers from the timber mill.
Elizabeth and Sydney Davey, Joyce’s parents were co-proprietors with Oscar Olsen, of a motor repair garage and car sales business in Dungog.1 They built their holiday cottage on the bank of the river near the ferry wharf on the Hawks Nest side in 1939.2 All the building materials and furnishings were transported down from Dungog by car and trucks and then ferried across the river.
The only way across the river was via a small flat-bottomed punt, for people and vehicles. This punt was pulled by a motor boat and left from a wharf near Engel’s Store and docked near where the Hawks Nest wharf is today. Eventually a four-vehicle punt and then an eight-vehicle ferry was utilised before the bridge was built in 1974.3
Today the Davey’s home in Moira Parade has been replaced by the Rio Vista Units.
Author: Judith Glover based on an interview with Joyce Morgan (Davey) 2018.
1 Dungog Chronicle, 26 January 1940, 2.
2 Dungog Chronicle, 15 September 1939, 2.
3 Official Opening of Tea Gardens-Hawks Nest Bridge, 6 April 1974.