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We would travel from home to the harbour, the three of us, intent on some fishing or spearfishing. Just boys, all of us about thirteen.

There was a small pier at the eastern end of the beach, a boathouse, a stretch of sun-blasted wood, pylons dug deep and ringed with kelp. Down there were leather-jackets and wobbegon sharks. We were all Tom Sawyers on Sydney Harbour.

We swam and fished all day, we slept on the sun-warmed wood when tiredness overcame exuberance, and we always got home after dark. There was the trouble. The dinner table of suspicion.

Who was there? Who was with you ? Why are you so late ?

We were with Roly. Though it was never said. He was our friend, our adult, not theirs.

Roly came by towards the beginning of one summer, he just wandered up the pier with his own spear fishing gear one day and did what we did. He dived and fished and after a while we got used to him being there and he began to talk to us. All we knew until then were fathers and uncles, teachers – and now we knew Roly. There was an immediate trust, he liked to be with us, because he was always with us, always for just the one summer.

Sometimes he would bring us lunch, something special, and we all began to spearfish together – paddling across the bay with him always leading. He dealt with the small dramas of oyster cuts and sunburn, he sat with us as we talked of whatever boys talked about – we looked forward to him coming down on the weekends, weekdays. He showed us that a slingshot spear was best for spearing leather- jackets and he coaxed us to go a little deeper for the bigger fish. How to stay down a little longer. All of this he gave us.

I remember a soft voiced man. Patient.

He promised us much, next year he would have a boat with an outboard and we would all fish the harbour – next year he would show us his place at Palm Beach and we would fish and swim up there. There was much to come he said – later – this is only the start.


We never questioned amongst ourselves why a man would want to spend to much time with boys. This was in 1957. The long summer holidays seemed eternal, days without end. The days he did not come were incomplete and we spent the better part of them just waiting for him to walk down the pier.


Two boys went up to Palm Beach with him for a weekend.

– and in the darkness of night he invaded one of their beds, the first night.

He was hard- breathing, and strong.


No patience in lust is there.


11 Comments Post a comment
  1. joe green #

    thats dark and creepy.I was never chestered but friends were.

    August 29, 2011
    • chestered .. ? where does that word come from joe ?

      August 29, 2011
  2. A parent’s worst fear – not as much awareness then(as today) – but still as hazardous…

    August 29, 2011
  3. Very unsettling and disturbing. Difficult stuff to bring up into daylight. It must have been hard to write about – although you have captured the insidious experience perfectly.These people are so clever and so credible. Did the law ever catch up with him?

    August 29, 2011
    • No .. years later I saw him in a night club in Surfers Paradise, he was the manager of a boy girl band called the Chocolates and he looked just fine in a front table amongst his friends – He had the life.

      August 29, 2011
  4. Your last sentence said it all.

    August 30, 2011
  5. There are few instances in life where I am certain I could and would take another’s.

    Being a father of three children… this one well qualifies.

    August 30, 2011
    • Davo's Liver #

      That was strongly considered in this case
      but it was determined that the justice system should be given a chance and killing was just too good for him. He went by the name “Will” here and was a common sight showing up to the beach with a carload of young boys, giving them surfboards to use, buying them lunch, clothes, wax, etc. I have no doubt how it’s working out for him after his return to the big house in Hawaii, my understanding is that after a few months of island style indoctrination he has settled into the lifestyle of a very compliant wife of the largest moke in the Hawaiian Penal System.

      August 30, 2011
      • There has never been a satisfactory explanation of the link between politicians, police and the boy brothels in Sydney in the 50’s to the 90’s – The concentration of condemnation has been on the churches for the last ten years, and in most cases deservedly so, but there are many who have led a blessed life.

        The worst offenders are family (it is said) – fathers, uncles, grandfathers, cousins –

        My problem is when I google up something like (say) Dark Beach I get an image of some lady with no trousers and no hairbrush –

        August 30, 2011
  6. joe green #

    chester the molester.thats chester.chestered.california slang.

    August 31, 2011
    • that’s like merv the perv – aussie slang, bit dated now though

      August 31, 2011

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