Bruny Island identity Adrian Dale has died, just short of his 77th birthday. Born in Suffolk, England, Adrian was an avid sailor from the age of 9 and became the youngest Chief Engineer for P&O shipping line at age 26.
He had a 37 year partnership and romance with Allegra Biggs Dale, the two settling on Bruny Island after Adrian sailed the 1990 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. They established the large land holding ‘Labillardiere Estate’ bordering South Bruny National Park and Cape Bruny Light Station.
Adrian played a major advisory role in designing solar power when Tasmanian lighthouses were automated at Cape Bruny, Deal and Maatsuyker islands.
Adrian was a Marine Engineer consultant for a number of companies, known for his inventions, ship conversions and project management for off shore installations throughout the Asia Pacific.
He was a champion for women in the male-dominated industry and, in an age where female engineers got jobs as secretaries, he insisted their engineering skills be recognized and they be employed as such.
Adrian took part in an expedition in the South China Sea to protect as a war grave the British battleship, the HMS Repulse, sunk by Japanese torpedo planes in 1941.
The pair owned a dive center in Maldives as dive masters and from 1986 -1988 they sailed offshore in conditions Adrian described as generally tempestuous weather.
He was an avid collector of British Seagull outboard engines and twice circumnavigated Bruny Island in dinghies powered by Seagulls - the second trip ‘Bruny Island Classic II’ in Richard Bennett’s Huon Pine dinghy ‘Lollipop’. Adrian had been refurbishing a 14 foot Tasmanian Cray Boat specifically to cross Bass Strait with two of his trusty ‘gulls’ when he suffered a stroke in early 2016.
Adrian was an avid bush walker and as a young man walked alone the 430 kilometres ‘Penine Way, England, up to his waist in snow.
He was a supporter of Sea Shepherd Australia’s successful campaign to end whaling in the Southern Ocean, and upon return of the Steve Irwin volunteered the ship’s survey for necessary repairs. A bird lover from youth, Adrian backed the protection of Swift Parrot habitat and an end to native forest logging on Bruny Island.
Adrian Dale is survived by Allegra and his two sons in the UK, Vincent and Stuart, Vincent’s children Megan and Charlie and Stuart’s children Lewis and Thomas.
Environmentalist and close friend Bob Brown said, “Adrian was a brilliant engineer who made Tasmania his home and was an avid naturalist and supporter of the conservation of Tasmania’s oceans, forests and wildlife. He and Allegra have done a great deal to protect the natural amenity of Bruny Island. We will miss his wit, wisdom and flair for meeting the environmental problems of our age with innovative ideas and practical solutions.”
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