I’ve always been fascinated by the harp and in awe of anyone who could play such a magnificent instrument.

I took a few lessons in 2010 but didn’t persist and I’m still kicking myself! Back then, my harp teacher mentioned a man in Bellingen who makes them and I’ve never forgotten that. Imagine my delight when driving from Dorrigo to Bellingen, I spotted a sandwich board sign reading ‘Denwar Harps’. I drove straight in and found Denny Warner in his garage turned display room, surrounded by harps of various sizes and shapes.

He explained that he tried to make one 25 years ago after watching a woman perform at the Old Butter Factory. He arranged for her to give him lessons but sold the home-made harp to another student before he’d even finished the class. Denny decided he’d teach himself to play but every harp he made was snapped up almost as soon as the final string was attached. Eventually he kept one for himself and mastered the instrument. As I wandered around admiring the beautifully designed and finished harps, made with Australian red cedar, Denny played a sweet song that had me floating through the room.

Like me, many people drop in simply to admire the harps and to hear Denny play a tune or two. He welcomes visitors all year round and has harps available for purchase.

Words and images by Elize Strydom

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