The Figtree haven John Dorahy can't give up

Wollongong councillor and rugby league legend John Dorahy learned an important lesson when looking for a family home in the Illawarra 31 years ago with wife Linda.

"My daughter Cara was only 10 days old at the time and an agent and friend had a long list of homes to inspect one weekend," he recalls.

"The very last inspection was a house in Oleander Avenue in Figtree and that was the one we instantly loved so you have to persevere to the end of that list," he says with a laugh.

Thirty-one years later the expanded family, which now includes three children and four grandchildren, still consider the two-story brick home their headquarters.

Dorahy, who in his long career captained the Steelers, played for Manly and Wests, and represented Australia, says he has numerous favourite spots in the house but at the moment it is the deck overlooking the pool where he can recuperate from recent hip surgery.

The house, it seems, attracts sport stars.

The Dorahys bought the place from 60s and 70s basketball player and coach Adrian Hurley who had a stint of coaching the Hawks and Boomers.

Nowhere is his influence on the fixtures more apparent than in the bar-rumpus room, says Dorahy.

"If you stand up against the bar you can tell somebody very tall once lived here," he says.

The space is also where he hangs framed sporting memorabilia including the jersey he wore when representing Australia and the jerseys his sons Dane and Jason wore at the height of their rugby days.

It is a house that is spacious without ostentation, and it has a strong sense of peace and warmth which Dorahy says is why the family have stayed put all these years.

"Linda and I have considered downsizing several times but usually find a reason to update instead," Dorahy says.

"Although the kids have moved out they are often here with the grandkids who love the place and we also have our niece living with us while she's attending uni."

Dorahy says one of his favourite pieces is the snooker table in the rumpus room.

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