Preddys Wharf on the NSW south coast.

On Christmas Eve, 2013, I received a gift that felt as though it had come from the sea herself. I was at the mouth of the Moruya River on the New South Wales south coast at a spot called Preddys Wharf.

It is a magical and marvellous location, with a small wooden jetty, where children can cast a line, and bull rays, the size of small cars, feed off the scraps of gutted fish. The water sliding past the wharf, first one way and then the other as the tide ebbs and flows, is crystal clear and deep.

Starting before dawn, boats are launched from the adjacent ramp, coming and going until after dark. It is no wilderness. Rather, it is a scene that could be described as Australian Coastal: a classic example of the mythological soul of our waterfront nation where people and the marine environment meet.