This wiry and frail looking man walked into the camp from nowhere, with his backpack full of plant specimens.

I first met Dave Dureau in 2002 when I had flown into Freshwater Cove in the seaplane. This wiry and frail looking man walked into the camp from nowhere, with his backpack full of plant specimens. Looks do deceive. For the next few days Dave would be dropped off in the bush from the dinghy, to appear at nightfall with more plant specimens. I was fascinated by this man. To have a conversation with Dave is like climbing a mountain. It can be exhausting and invigorating. The subject changes from local government, Broome’s history, to pearling and then to the environment. The advert that I first saw about Dave was so apt "Stop This Man". He is unstoppable.

Dave does stand out in the crowd, and so do his red socks! Why Red Socks?

"Well,” he said, “the establishment in Broome always wore white socks. To me white socks were associated with pearls, sitting on verandahs and having cups of tea. I was a worker and white socks were not my cup of tea. I wanted to make a statement. These socks are red to go with the red pindan and the fact that I am an outside worker. A bit overt I know and not very subtle. So, it evolved out of my work", said Dave.

Dave's life has taken many paths from Agricultural College in New Zealand, working on farms in Victoria, fishing on boats in Eden, travelling around Australia, mining, pegging out claims in Onslow. His life turned to Broome when he received a telegram from his father. "I was near Cairns and about to start a mining job when a telegram arrived. “Voyage to Broome on the John Louis lugger to complete a season of pearl diving out of Broome, be in Thursday Is. immediately’. The voyage on the lugger was basic and primitive, as we had no power, shower or toilet. Food was good, though we mainly lived off the sea on fish, turtle and dugong. On the journey was 4 Torres Strait Islander crew, Alan Badger (diver), myself, Dale Chapman (dive team organiser) and Peter Cumming (skipper & ex naval commander).

That was the beginning of white people diving successfully for pearl shell using hookar gear. Till then diving was done by Aboriginal, or indentured Japanese, Aboriginal, Malays and Chinese. I dived for eight years and loved the life, the camaraderie, the ocean."

Dave is known for his passion on the environment, development of Broome and its future. “My favourite drive is on Hamersley St looking out over the bay - where else would you get that view - let’s keep it that way!”