Community rallies around much-loved KI character Dan Dungey

COLOURFUL CHARACTER: Kingscote resident Dan Dungey pictured with his sons Dylan, Cooper and Jackson after playing paintball on Kangaroo Island.
COLOURFUL CHARACTER: Kingscote resident Dan Dungey pictured with his sons Dylan, Cooper and Jackson after playing paintball on Kangaroo Island.

The Kangaroo Island community has rallied to give larger-than-life Island character Dan Dungey the farewell he deserved.

Mr Dungey, 47, was tragically killed in an electrical accident at his Kingscote home on Thursday, March 21.

Well known for dragging a truck tyre around the town’s streets as part of his fitness regime, he was also a retired Army veteran who moved to KI after suffering hard financial times in Adelaide.

He and his sons were welcomed into the Island community and this spirit of community continued after his death when money was raised to pay for his funeral.

His youngest son Cooper Dungey, 18, said his dad was farewelled at a funeral in Adelaide on Friday, April 6 attended by about 120 family and friends.

The funeral was made possible by $4323 raised in a GoFundMe online campaign set up by fellow Kingscote resident Bobbie-lou Fulwood.

“The family is very grateful and want to thank everyone who made donations and it was a really nice funeral,” Cooper Dungey said. “We wanted to have his funeral on the Island, but that just was not possible, so we have brought back his ashes for another ceremony.”

In fitting timing for a former serviceman in the Australian Army, his sons are planning an informal gathering to remember their father on ANZAC Day after the official ceremonies at about 1pm at the ocean swimming pool at Kingscote.

It’s a location that their father enjoyed being at and all are welcome to come and remember his life and contribution to the Kangaroo Island community.

LOVED DAD: Kingscote resident Dan Dungey with his sons Jackson and Cooper, pictured at Cooper's school formal at KICE in 2017.

LOVED DAD: Kingscote resident Dan Dungey with his sons Jackson and Cooper, pictured at Cooper's school formal at KICE in 2017.

Island spirit extended to son

That same community spirit extended to Mr Dungey is also helping out his son Cooper, who is now living at the Kingscote Tourist Park at Brownlow thanks to its owner Con Belios.

Mr Belios had been a friend of Mr Dungey ever since Dan and his son arrived on the Island about six years ago, when Cooper was about 12.

“He is one dad’s oldest mates on the Island and has always looked after us, “ said Cooper, who was living at home with his dad until the accident.”

Mr Dungey spent 12 years in the Australian Army, where he served in an infantry division and also was involved as a physical trainer and fitness instructor.

He carried this love of fitness into his later life but he and his boys fell into hard times and were living at a pub in Adelaide when a friend offered them a house to stay in Kingscote.

Dan and his young son Cooper jumped at the chance for a new life on Kangaroo Island.

After graduating from Kangaroo Island Community Education last year, Cooper continues to make a new life for himself.

Cooper’s life was looking up, embarking on new traineeship, just as the tragedy of his father’s death struck.

He is actually one of the six new trainees on the SeaLink ferries featured on the front page of the previous edition The Islander, however he was not featured in the article as he was away on compassionate leave at his father’s funeral.

Cooper while given a placement in the ferries’ cafes and a chance for a certificate in Hospitality, for which he is very grateful, also has dreams of getting up on deck and becoming a ship’s master. 

“I’m very grateful for being given this opportunity," he said.

Regulator issues SA-wide warning

The office of the Technical Regulator following Mr Dungey’s death has taken steps to inform the public of the dangers of electricity, issuing a public warning in multiple SA newspapers.

Island locals may have noticed the public warning on Page 3 of the April 12 edition of The Islander.

”The practice of using electricity to burn patterns into wood is extremely dangerous and is suspected to have resulted in a recent fatality to a member of the public,” the public warning reads.

“It appears the deceased was attempting to apply a high voltage to a timber table top.

“High voltage work should be performed by licensed and qualified professionals. Removing or modifying electrical components from appliances for equipment is extremely dangerous.”

Cooper Dungey said his father loved being in his shed working on various projects and welcomed the public notice of a way preventing any similar deaths involving people working on timber projects.

Mr Dungey’s death will also be the subject of a report to the Coroner by police as is standard procedure in all untimely deaths.

Funerals discussed at council

The issue of “pauper’s funerals” was raised at the April 10 meeting of the Kangaroo Island Council by resident Allan Henderson, who was aware of the online campaign to help Mr Dungey’s family.

Mr Henderson made an appeal to the council to set up a fund to help families who could not afford funerals for their loved ones.

While sympathetic to his appeal, the council stopped short of setting up a fund.

CEO Andrew Boardman instead informing him that the council had hardship provisions and individuals could make direct appeals for financial assistance in times of hardship. 

Mr Henderson was also informed the council that the town hall was available for use for community events, that include a funeral.

Cr Sharon Kauppila said there needed to be a way of informing the general population that such assistance was available.

Council management took the comments on board with possible action of informing various service providers on the island or the hardship provisions.