Ken’s ‘bin’ extra valuable

Ken Dadds has officially collected his last can and bottle for the Nuriootpa Rover Football Club.

Ken Dadds laughs jovially as he describes himself as a “has bin”.

The truth is, he’s had many “bins” and emptied the contents of every one of them to raise thousands of dollars for the Nuriootpa Rover Football Club’s junior development programme.

At 81 years of age, he’s now retired from the volunteer role of cleaning up rubbish left around the oval after every home game and club function.

Ken estimates he, with help from his wife Rose, has collected more than 300,000 cans and bottles during the 26 years they’ve been on the job.

It was just one of many ways the couple supported the club where they enjoyed watching their son, Andrew play in five A-Grade and two Under 17s Premierships.

Ken and Rose would “glove up” and collect all the rubbish, bonding over bins as they wheeled them around the oval after the spectators had left.

Then, after church on Sunday mornings, they’d meticulously sort and separate the recyclables into various categories before transporting their haul to Angaston’s recycling depot in return for cash for the Tigers.

“1995 is the first year we did it,” Ken said.

“It all adds up. When you work it out, it would amount to more than $30,000 for the Club and that’s a conservative estimate because the first 12 years we were collecting, cans were only worth five cents, then they went up to 10 cents.”

Home games against arch rivals, Tanunda always proved most valuable. But in 2020, due to Covid, some weeks only delivered a $10 haul.

In the last few years, the bins have had to be chained down and locked shut as a result of a growing number of people taking advantage of the Dadds’ tireless work by  stealing what they had collected and cashing it in for their own benefit.

But whilst Ken may have collected his last bottles and cans for the club, his generosity of spirit has left a lasting legacy,  and not only in Tiger Land where he is a Life Member.

His can-do attitude has followed him throughout his life as a secondary school teacher specialising in maths and computer studies.

He speaks of the “tough schools” he’s worked at during his long career which began at Croydon Boy’s Tech and took him to Whyalla and other lower socioeconomic areas where his eyes were opened to the plight of many young people doing it tough.

“At Whyalla, they gave me the Year 10 boys so I had to teach them for English, Maths, Science and Social Studies. I seriously think nobody else wanted them, they were a tough group. They only answered to their nicknames, there was Mulberry Leaves, Slippery, Bobo…but we developed a very strong
bond.”

Finishing his teaching career at Faith Lutheran College, Ken’s ability to connect with youth is a reflection of the caring nature that is central to everything he has committed his time to.

“Everywhere I’ve been, community has been important,” he said.

“It just happens I’m a Life Member of the South Whyalla Football Club, Nuriootpa  Rover Football Club, the Kangaroo Island Pony Club, The St. George’s Tennis Club and the AFS Student Exchange organisation.”

He’s coached hockey, umpired mini-league, been an official on the interchange bench and a club secretary, even provided an evening meal for youth at a hostel after one of his students rang him to say the community welfare worker hadn’t turned up.

Today, he still volunteers at the Angaston Blacksmith’s Shop and St. Petri Lutheran Church.

Fostering relationships, whether it be between children on the footy field or older generations mentoring the younger, is something Ken believes is important in every community.

 “We take all this for granted,” he said of how well the volunteers in sporting clubs help change lives and benefit people beyond the footy field.

He encourages others to get involved and help each other whenever they can.

“I always think that when you treat someone well it might come back and be important, you just don’t know.”

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