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Nev’s Brave Battle

By Sarah Healey on October 4, 2012 in News

Photo: Grant Brooks

We come across many inspirational people in our community, and one man who goes close to the top of the list would have to be Neville Darragh. A loving husband of almost fifty years to wife Barbara and devoted dad to sons Sean, Larn and Quinn, Neville has contributed enormously to the local area for the last four decades. Life has treated Neville well over the years, but recently he’s been put in a tough spot, having been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.

Neville has called Bayview Street in Bronte his home for 35 years. Like all staunch Irishman, he appreciates a beer, having brewed his own for over 30 years at Eastern Suburbs Brewery Supplies alongside Chuck Hahn, founder of Hahn Breweries and James Squire. His homebrew creations are still in production, with liquid gold fermenting in multiple kegs in his double garage.

His hobby eventually became his career, and after owning and restoring the Lakemba Hotel, he sold it and bought the Charing Cross Hotel.

“That was his first entry into the Eastern Suburbs and he immediately fell in love with the area,” Neville’s son Larn said.
Hard work and sacrifice are second nature to Neville. After selling the Charro he opened up a mixed business store in Hewlett Street, running it alongside wife Barbara, working extremely long hours, and relinquishing much of his life so he could provide for his family.

“Dad has done so much, and the sacrifices he’s made so he could work hard to send us to Waverley College, giving us the amazing sports training and coaching we wanted at the time,” Larn said.

And it certainly paid off, with Sean becoming a CIS water polo representative, Larn a World Surf Swim Champion, Uncle Toby’s Ironman and Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman, and youngest son Quinn winning the inaugural Bondi to Bronte Ocean Swim and also becoming a Waverley Council Lifeguard. All three boys are successful both professionally and personally, and their gratefulness toward their father is unmistakable.

“He has taught us invaluable lessons. We all have qualities about us that are mirrored in our dad. People call us ‘mini Nevs’!” Quinn laughed.

“He made sure we stuck by our goals and turned us into gentlemen through old-school manners and values. That’s something we appreciate now being adults.”

In his younger years, Neville got together with his best mate John Dyson and formed the band The Centurians, with John on the drums and Neville rocking the acoustic guitar. During the late 1950s andearly 1960s the band flourished in the Sydney pub scene and regularly supported Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs.

Despite living in the hub of Roosters territory, Neville is a Bulldogs devotee, never afraid to don the blue and white during footy season. His fondest sporting memories are the Dogs’ glory days in the 1980s, and recently his sporting hero, Steve Mortimer, phoned him up to wish him well in his battle with cancer.

“Dad’s a true Irishman,” Quinn said. “And like all fighting Irishman, he’ll fight this battle in true Irish style!”
The family encourages Nev’s mates to pop in and say ‘G’day’ when they’re in the area. You may get a chance to down a few pints of his signature ‘Bronte Bitter’!