Stinker’s History: The adventures of ‘Clanka’ – Part 3

Hardened by the sea, Clanka always had time to help others and was considered a bit of a softy by those who knew him well.

THIS story is part three of an ongoing series on Ronald Barry ‘Clanka’ McLean.

To read Part 2, pick up a copy of last week’s paper or jump online to the News Of The Area website.

Part Three – Tough as nails

NELSON Bay fisherman Clyde Mitchell remembers when Ronald Barry ‘Clanka’ McLean lived next door to him in Tomaree Street.

Clyde recalls a particularly wild moment in Clanka’s storied history.

“A story that I was told 50 years ago was that he was on the long wharf or Navy wharf, as we called it, and a fellow from down Stockton came along and was complaining that he had come up to do some fishing in Nelson Bay and he had caught no fish and the weather was crook; what a waste of time,” Clyde said.

Clanka, taking exception to the complaint about his hometown, asked the bloke: “Have you got
any tobacco on you mate?”.

“Yep,” replied the disgruntled visitor.

“Well give it to me,” Clanka ordered.

“What about your matches?,” he demanded, “give them to me too.”

As the matches were handed over, Clanka picked up the confused and luckless fisherman and threw him off the wharf into the drink.

Without blinking an eye, Clanka stepped aboard the ‘Bosto’ with ‘Skeeter’ Archard and Neville Asquith and sailed off to the Myall Lakes, leaving this poor fellow hanging on to the piles singing out for help.

Decades later, Clyde went to a wake in Stockton and got talking to Reg Terry, who he had attended school with in Newcastle.

“Well blow me down if he doesn’t tell me about his trip to Nelson Bay 50 years ago where this mad bloke takes his tobacco and matches off him and throws him in the drink,” Clyde said.

“You weren’t complaining about the poor fishing in Nelson Bay were you?” Clyde asked Reg.

“As a matter of fact I was,” answered Reg.

By John ‘Stinker’ CLARKE

Clanka found time to take the local kids to a picnic.

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