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1970 to 1979














From 1970 to 1979 a number of important changes took place so far as scuba diving equipment was concerned, also during this time new laws were introduced into the sport in an effort to improve safety.

In the early part of the decade, there were many scuba diving accidents, these tragedies were a catalyst for further safety measures. During these ten years scuba diving passed through its greatest change. Moving from a fragmented sport to the beginning of one of the most organised pastimes in this country, good or bad this was how it was going to be.

Instructor organisations took control of the recreational side of diving. When a person walked off the street into a dive shop to learn how to scuba dive, the shop associated with a particular instructor organisation provided all services for the individual from teaching him or her how to dive all the way through to dive master and instructor level.

Australia virtually followed the United States in scuba diving activities. Ninety-five per cent of all scuba equipment came from the USA, so did methods of teaching. The sport was now set to follow a particular path that would last through the eighties, nineties, and beyond.




$500,000 IN GOLD AND TREASURE ON THE SEA BED NEAR SYDNEY: Sydney. It is part of the wreckage of a sailing ship sunk during the 1800s. This treasure, and the possibility of others, is sending scores of skin divers on expeditions to our coast and harbour. One lot of treasure still undiscovered is a consignment of 300 sovereigns spilled into the sea floor in what was Sydney's first major shipwreck. The sovereigns could now be worth more than $10,000 according to a Sydney coin dealer. The Edward Lombe was smashed to pieces by a storm. Rescued survivors said the sovereigns kept in the captain's desk were never brought ashore. Skin divers searching for this and other submerged treasure believe there may be many hundreds of sovereigns still on the floor of Sydney Harbour. They were carried aboard the brigs, clippers and barques wrecked around Sydney's coastline last century. Treasure seekers are sifting through what remains of at least 13 century-old ships they have identified. There are scores of others waiting discovery and identification. Gold is not their only attraction, less valuable metals such as silver, bronze and copper, also jewellery are known to have been aboard the ships when they were wrecked. Some divers have already recovered sovereigns. At least one diver owns two wrecks, dated 1849 and 1851, now worth about $100. Among the jewellery brought up is a golden locket from the Dunbar, which sank on the ocean side of South Head in 1857. Another valuable piece is a silver brooch believed to have belonged to the only woman passenger aboard the Edward Lombe. Some divers have also discovered relics of interest to museums. Among these are parts of personal belongings, a pewter teapot, an ale tankard, bottles and cutlery. One of the wrecked ships, the Catherine Adamson was carrying a cargo of cowbells, some of which have been recovered and restored to almost perfect condition, after 113 years under the sea lying at the bottom of inner North Head, Sydney Harbour.

SEA STAR REEF REPORTED: Townsville. Up to 99 per cent of once rich and varied coral on the Great Barrier Reef has been killed by the Crown of Thorns sea star in the last three years. Claimed by Mr R Pearson, Queensland Harbour and Marine Fisheries Branch Inspector. He said large areas on the inner reefs off Innisfail, had been 99 per cent destroyed. Recolonisation of the reefs by hard corals was negligible or at the best less than one per cent, he said. “Just how long it will take for the coral on these reefs to return to something like their former state is difficult to estimate", he added. Estimates have ranged from 10 to 50 years. Damage to sections of the reef by the Crown of Thorns could be described only as catastrophic, Mr Pearson said. His report on the reef is in the latest issue of the Queensland Littoral Society newsletter. He spent from May 1966, to August 1969, on a research program to investigate the Crown of Thorns infestation of the reef. Mr Pearson said knowledge of the Crown of Thorns problem was still scanty.

SCUBA DIVERS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA: Sydney. Over the past years many serious attempts were made in an endeavour to unite scuba divers in an all encompassing State and Federal Organisation. Most have failed purely through lack of individual support. The USFA of New South Wales has always provided for scuba activities and has an established, though poorly supported, division with equal rights paralleled with the underwater fishing section. Following the recent legislation restricting spearing fish with scuba equipment, another body has been formed in New South Wales, by scuba divers who have at last seen the necessity for unity. Maybe all divers welcome this new organisation, for with its inception we hope will come a strong bond between all sport scuba divers. All that's required now is to establish full liaison between the USFA of New South Wales and the new Scuba Divers Association of Australia.
It has become apparent over the years to individual divers in all sections of their sport that a purely scuba body was sorely needed to promote their interests, but they could never get together because of lack of communication etc.. Until one day a bomb was dropped in their tanks by way of restrictive legislation of spear fishing with scuba. All scuba divers have found in the sea something of God's beauty, a far greater field of deeper creative values, and a sport of such magnitude that it has not even had the surface scratched. Therefore, a large group of divers from all backgrounds and interests set about organising a body with the following objectives to cater solely for scuba divers.
(1) To promote the fast growing popularity of the sport.
(2) To promote, develop and improve the sport among scuba clubs, individual divers and to distribute information to them and the public.
(3) To establish a minimum standard of scuba instruction amongst all diving schools.
(4) To set up a fully qualified divers medical information service.
(5) To set up a group capable of advising the government and other bodies on all matters relating to the sport of scuba diving and present a united voice on matters of importance to divers.
(6) To set up programs of divers assistance to various governments and other research bodies. All this climaxed at a meeting of scuba divers on April, 7, 1970. This association has already had its name registered with the Companies Office and has compiled Articles of Association. The association can offer much to the scuba diver and support indicated by overseas associations and persons of world renown in diving.

AUSTRALIA'S FIRST MARINE PARK: Sydney. State Cabinet will soon establish Australia's first Marine National Park in New South Wales, under legislation. The Premier, Mr Askin, said yesterday that the park would include about 700 acres of the South Pacific Ocean bed, near Bouddi State Park in the Gosford area. The park will extend between Gerrin Head and Third Point, for about a quarter of a mile to sea. The legislation was recommended by the Minister for Lands, Mr Lewis. Mr Lewis said the National Parks and Wildlife Service would carry out an investigation of the seabed in the park area, tabulating all fish and marine growth. It would also make facilities available to encourage the use of the area for scientific research. He said the public would be given the opportunity to see the magnificent underwater scenery and marine life off the New South Wales coast. The idea is a good one and many other marine parks may follow in future years.

NEW SKINDIVING MAGAZINE FOR DIVERS: Melbourne. A brand new dive magazine has just been released to the Australian skin and scuba diver, it's named SKINDIVING IN AUSTRALIA published by Australian Sports Publications. The magazine fills a gap left by the now defunct Australian Skin divers Magazine. The first edition had 34 black and white pages, a full colour cover measuring 11x 8 inches and a number of good articles. These were by well known divers such as Peter Kemp and Vic Ley, cartoons by Robert Hatch, other articles by Bob Hart, Ben Cropp, Glen Hartwig, Roger Metcalf, Ron Taylor and Walt Deas, cover photo was by Queensland underwater photographer Trevor Laver, brother of champion tennis player Rod Laver. Twelve months subscription to the magazine costs $2.00.

  The first magazine, "Skindiving in Australia", came out in 1970, for 50 cents.

Over the past couple of years, I (Barry Andrewatha) have given a lot of thought to what form a skin diving magazine should take. Some of the points I came up with included. A good handy size, full colour cover on a good stock of paper, high quality design throughout the magazine, top class stories without any exaggeration by Australia's leading skin divers. High quality photos by Australia's leading underwater photographers, a good balance of diving articles from all states and payments to divers for their articles or cover photos (we will be paying $10.00 for every article or cover photo published), plus regular items such as interviews, personal column, letters and a question and answer column. I feel we have managed to get all these items into our first issue of SKINDIVING IN AUSTRALIA and hope we will be able to continue to improve our magazine with every issue, so please write and let us know what you think.

WHY UNDERWATER FISHERMEN AND SCUBA DIVERS DIE: Sydney. There is a natural reluctance among devotees of any sport to consider the deaths and injuries that may occur, and divers are no exception. Although you are much more likely to die in a road accident or because of your smoking habits, you cannot ignore the element or risk present in any underwater activity. Medical reports of skin diving deaths are rare because such events are included in the general statistics of drowning and few victims rate more than a paragraph in the local paper. The coroner is likely to consider such deaths as a natural misadventure to a swimmer. Nevertheless, these are not ordinary swimmers. They are usually healthy and active and include champion spear fishermen and scuba divers. Cases are reported of non-fatal loss of consciousness from this cause (hyperventilation), doubtless such swimmers would be very careful to avoid hyperventilation in future. Some skin divers may die trapped by their spear gun lines, by kelp or in caves. Such people are victims of bad diving procedure, as one should carry a sharp knife and never take risks with one's life in caves. Scuba divers seem to get into trouble by either having no buddy or not keeping with him thus lacking any chance of help in time of trouble. It is ignorance of diving theory and lack of expertise with equipment that converts that momentary feeling of panic when something goes wrong, into a mad scramble from one wrong decision to the next. Many divers are too attached to their weight belts and would rather die than jettison. Others are unable to jettison because of failure to use quick release buckles or because the weight belt becomes trapped under the cylinder or on the handle of the diver's knife. Examination of accident reports shows that though the inexperienced divers panic and forget their scanty knowledge of correct procedure, the more experienced divers put themselves in situations from which escape is difficult, if not impossible. Diving alone, going too deep and risking nitrogen narcosis or decompression problems, failure to use a safety line in caves and running out of air or diving while unfit all take their toll. Few women divers die, and this underlines the tendency of men to take risks to prove their toughness. There is no place in diving for anyone to try to swim further on a breath or scuba dive deeper on air. Nitrogen narcosis gives no warning and many incidents occur at a depth previously attained without symptoms, it may be the cause of drowning at depths when the equipment is in working order. A growing number of scuba divers suffer from decompression sickness, largely because they are careless about no decompression times and there is a growing trend towards repeat dives. Civilian decompression sickness is often more severe than that occurring in Naval personnel because the latter are motivated to report early symptoms while professional and amateur divers are tempted to wait in the hope of spontaneous relief. In 1962, 80% of serious diving casualties treated by the US Navy were civilians and professionals. The dive tables do not pretend to give 100% protection to all people under all diving conditions, so on occasion even careful divers may suffer from decompression sickness.  However, most cases are due to incomplete decompression as per the tables. Running out of air after getting lost usually kills cave divers. The lessons learnt, you must know your equipment and the physical law that govern underwater existence. To think that an accident cannot happen to you has been the last mistake of many experienced diver.

CLOSURE OF CLOVELLY POOL TO SCUBA DIVERS: Sydney. Around Sydney, there's no better area to learn scuba diving than Clovelly Pool. At high tide, there is about 15 feet (5 metres) of water in the centre of the pool. Beginners don't have to worry about unknown aspects of the sea as the pool has a shallow entrance to the ocean and is almost as safe as a bath tub. Randwick Council has decided to place a ban on scuba schools and divers using the pool during the summer months. It started when some clown (with scuba) swam under a bikini girl and did something to annoy her considerably by pulling down her bathing costume. This was reported to the council. Another factor, which didn't help matters, was a publicised attempt to clean up the pool. The stunt misfired when divers pulled from the pool a kitchen sink that was planted there the night before, and that was the end for scuba divers. However, the Scuba Divers Association is appealing against the ban. It is hoped that after a meeting the council may let diving schools back in the pool at different hours to swimmers.

PICCANINNIE PONDS CLOSED TO ALL SCUBA DIVERS: Adelaide. Fabulous Piccaninnie Ponds is closed to all divers pending the introduction of a "pass" system. These passes are intended to ensure that only qualified and experienced divers enter the ponds, which are incidentally, now included among South Australia's National Parks. Despite the indignation expressed by some members of our diving fraternity, the measures were well warranted. The majority of accidents in this area are caused by either rank inexperience or flagrant disregard of recognised safe diving procedure. When you mix these factors with the deadly fascination of deep, clear water, casualties are inevitable. It is to the credit of the hundreds of divers who have been through the Piccaninnies that the actual number of mishaps has been so low. The only possible snag will be the admittance of interstate divers who have been trained to a different type of cave diving standard. It's a shame this beautiful underground system of water caves is closed.

EARLY DIVE SHOPS IN AUSTRALIA: Melbourne. Around 20 years ago the greatest problem was where to buy equipment. A couple of the major sports stores had a small skin diving section operating over the summer months, with a very small selection of gear available. Nowadays with the arrival of the "Dive Shop," things are completely different. The dive shops usually operate from suburbs close to diving areas, offer a wide range of service and equipment unmatched by most of the major sports stores. A good example of this is Sydney's leading dive shop, Pro Dive Services of Maroubra. Operated by two professional divers, Rick Poole and Bob Rose. They offer a fantastic range of equipment and service, and of course, there is St. George Underwater Centre, one of the oldest dive shops in Australia. Another up and coming shop in Sydney is Ascuba Dive of Bondi Junction, offering gear at discount prices. Other Sydney dive shops include Hydronaut, Clovelly Dive Shop, the oldest dive shop in New South Wales and one of the oldest in Australia, and of course, Mick Smith's sports shop. In Melbourne the new dive shop Nicholas Dive and Sports at Netting Hill is fast becoming Victoria's leading dive shop, followed closely by Dive and Ski of Clayton. Other Victorian shops include, Scuba Diving and Marine Supplies in North Melbourne and Melbourne Sports Depot in the city.  Perth has Dive and Ski run by Arnold Rothwell and Linettes Sport Store. South Australia has Diver's Services in Adelaide and Brisbane Robinson's Sports Store. All stores cater exclusively for the sport diver and are certainly not like the "good old days" when dive gear was sold from a backyard. Still, there seems to be too many dive shops at the moment and too few divers. Predictions are that if the trend increases there will be one dive shop per l00 divers and that is far too many to operate as a profitable business. The trouble is that divers who open a shop seem to think that they will do more diving and make money at the same time, well they have something to learn.

UNDERWATER FISHING USING SCUBA DIVING EQUIPMENT: Newcastle. Despite the ban on underwater fishing with scuba equipment in New South Wales, many of the top diving spots are still being regularly “hit” by teams of spear gun equipped aqualung divers. On a recent trip to the north coast, there was a boatload of divers operating on one of the popular offshore reefs. Using “lungs” and spear guns, we were amazed when we saw their boat back at the beach to find a big part of their catch consisted of protected blue groper. This flagrant disregard of fishing laws can only do a great deal of harm to skin diving relations with other fishermen who cannot help notice when it is so obvious. The scuba fishing ban provoked a great deal of comment from divers and some equipment manufactures when it was first introduced, but now it seems accepted by most divers and has encouraged many to change their spear guns for cameras. Unfortunately the diver who occasionally spears a few fish for himself while scuba diving has been the one to suffer from this ban, the amount of fish taken by these divers, being such a small number, would hardly have any effect on the fish population. In Queensland and New Zealand a number of divers use aqualungs to work in deep water, hunting really good fish and are prepared to come up empty handed if the fish they are after cannot be found. This is more sporting than snorkel spearing big quantities of fish. The increasing use of "hookah" outfits, and compressors mounted in boats, pumping air through a hose down to divers, has resulted in taking big quantities of fish to sell. We have seen these divers operating at Coffs Harbour, Seal Rocks and Broughton Island, around 60 to 80 feet (20 to 27 metres) where few free diving spear fishermen can reach and where a lot of reef fish common to these areas have found sanctuary. It seems a pity that some of these islands have not been declared national parks, where fish would be protected from all types of fishing. Such a move must meet with the approval of all the fishing associations, especially diving clubs, who stand to gain the most. Underwater fishing with scuba equipment is illegal, lets keep it that way for the good of the sport and for the majority of eatable fish.

7000 GOLD SOVEREIGNS FOR THE TAKING: Perth. A chest containing 7000 gold sovereigns slipped through the up-stretched arms of rescues and plunged into the sea where it still lies waiting a claimant. The scene was somewhere between Mewstone and Stragglers Rock in Gage Roads off Fremantle Harbour, during a gale on September 22, 1839. The 285 tonnes Mauritius registered wooden barque Lander was stranded in six feet (2 metres) of water with several fathoms on each side. She was holed in the bilge and settled gradually into deeper water. Master of the Lander, Captain Duracher brought his ship into Fremantle from Mauritius while bound for Tasmania. When a storm broke at midnight, he decided to clear from Gage Roads for the open sea. His chart showed a passage between Carnac Island and Rottnest Island. However, the gale drove the Lander southeast toward the reef. Following directions the pilot boat ranged under the Lander's big stern windows, rising and falling with the waves. Four men appeared at the window with an iron chest. They lowered it as the pilot boat, lifted on the crest of a wave. However, the move was bungled. The boat fell away into a trough at the same time as the Lander's men let the chest go, which plunged straight down into the sea. Years passed and people forgot the Lander until June 1957. Members of the Underwater Explorers Club found what is believed to be the wreck. It lies on sand in 21 feet (7 metres) of water in approximate latitude 32 deg. 5'0," longitude 115 deg 38' 18". Whether the wreck is on or near the chest of gold is anybody's guess. It may have been washed some distance away. Some say the chest was recovered, others say not, whatever the answer, chances are the gold is still there somewhere.

SCUBA DEATHS 20 DIE IN 1972: Melbourne. Nineteen seventy two was a black year for sport diving in Australia. Approximately 20 divers lost their lives around our coastline, 99% of these accidents need never have happened. We must now take care to see that 1973 never reaches anywhere near this tragic level. The best person to consult in Australia is Peter Cullen, the director of FAUI, who was contacted for his views on the subject, and after a long telephone conversation, some interesting facts became known.
The Australian figures on scuba diving deaths break up as follows:
42% drowned with no details available.
16% drowned due to equipment failure.
15% due to pulmonary traumatic.
12% decompression accidents.
15% due to medical conditions.
Although these figures do not explain a great deal, we can get some idea from a breakdown of American figures on the total number of diving deaths in 1970. Twenty one per cent were snorkel divers who drowned due to hyperventilation, diving by oneself and general diving accidents. Thirty per cent during actual scuba training, this broke down further to 11% in pools, 7% on their first sea dive and 12% on early sea dives 24% of scuba divers with limited experience up to 3 years and finally 25% experienced divers. What all these figures seem to suggest is that too many divers today are not experienced and overconfident. Divers are too ready to forget basic training, this induces panic, and as we all know panic is the killer.
Most of the divers who drowned may have been saved if their buddies had been in sight or had been wearing a life vest or buoyancy compensator vest.  Not being fully informed on all diving accidents but from what can be seen 99% of these deaths could be avoided if the victims had one major human trait "common sense." It does not matter whether a diver is a beginner or veteran, if he knows his limitations and the full extent of his capabilities, common sense will be his guide to safety in 1973 and beyond that time. It's important that a diver does not extend him or herself whilst diving.

A MULTIPLE DROWNING - THE WORST EVER SCUBA DIVING TRAGEDY IN AUSTRALIA: Mount Gambier. Sad news over the late afternoon radio: "Four scuba divers lost assumed drowned in South Australia's fresh water sink hole." Was the news flash. The group numbered nine, most from South Pacific Divers Club in New South Wales. At this stage of the news, there was no mention of names. Four of the group were members of the Federation of Australian Underwater Instructors (FAUI). At 1.30 pm on Monday, May 28, 1973, a dairy farmer on the property where a particular sink hole, The Shaft, is located, was notified by a distressed member of the group, Joan Harper, a young woman from Hurstville, Sydney, that four divers in their party had not surfaced from a dive. They were presumed lost and drowned. Some of her companions who emerged from the dive returned, hoping to locate their overdue friends, but without success. No one had died in The Shaft before May 1973, and there had been over 8000 dives before that date. Scuba divers from all over the world had enjoyed its shadowed depths, and the spectacular rainbow coloured beam of sunlight that penetrates the dark subterranean water from a small round hole at the surface of the paddock above. Those missing were Christine Millott, 19 years, Gordon Roberts, 28 years, both bodies recovered March 12, 1974. John Beckerman, 20 years, body recovered April 9, 1974, Steven Millott, 22 years, brother of Christine, body recovered January 23, 1974. The survivors were Glen Millott, 25 years, brother of Christine and Steven, Larry Reynolds, 24 years, Peter Burr, 27 years and Bob Smith, 26 years. Joan Harper did not take part in the dive.Two of the survivors were qualified members of the Federation of Australian Underwater Instructors, and Bob Smith was President of South Pacific Diving Club of New South Wales. All claimed to be experienced in deep diving. Smith said he had visited Mount Gambier on eight different occasions and had dived The Shaft 25 times, and advised the other divers about equipment needed. As part of their dive on May 28, some team members had discussed and finally planned to descend to 250 feet, (75 metres) if done successfully, then some sort of record would be achieved.

  Entrance to The Shaft. The underground deep water table is 140 foot (43 metres) deep to a pile of rubbish on the bottom, then a tunnel sinks to unknown depths.

Descending into the black void of The Shaft is risky business, and to reach that depth without the assistance of a safety line attached to a drop line from the surface was nothing short of suicide. Coupled with the fact that at a certain depth and angle of the dive, light coming from The Shaft opening could not be seen. Therefore a diver could lose orientation in the vast underground opening, not to mention that if clouds above covered the sun there would be no daylight beaming down from the surface hole.A couple of days before the dive the caretaker of Queen Elizabeth Caravan Park was told by Christine Millott that the group, or at least some of them, were planning a dive to 250 feet (75 metres). She said, it would be a bounce dive. He told her that he had dived The Shaft during 1968, once to 130 feet (40 metres) which is safe and a visual sighting of the entrance still seen. The second stage goes to 200 feet (60 metres) where a dive is still safe and a visual sighting of the entrance can just be seen. The third stage goes beyond 200 feet (60 metres) where a diver loses sight of the surface opening and at that point it's necessary to have a safety line attached to the shot line to venture further down into the depths. Beyond this particular stage all points of reference are lost in a black void of underground water. Christine told him that members of the group were experienced in this type of diving. On the day of the dive, all divers in the party except Joan Harper descended into The Shaft hole below the paddock. They went down the shot line to 115 feet (35 metres) to the top of a rock pile and started to swim around the rocks, gradually descending to 200 feet (60 metres) below surface level. At this point the group could see one another and everything appeared in order, according to survivors. All could see the light beaming down through the hole above, then Glen Millott thought he had gone far enough, time was running out so was his air. Therefore he decided to return to the surface, looking below, he saw others going deeper. Glen tried to touch his sister, Christine, who was just in front of him, but was unable to do so. He wanted to tell her it was time to return to the surface.Now he was only just on the safe side of decompression limits. When he reached the surface, he had a maximum of a minute of air left. Anyone remaining underwater was in danger of drowning or running into decompression. As four other divers had not surfaced Glen then equipped himself with another tank and regulator and descended to about 150 feet (45 metres). He saw no signs of life. Just after Glen Millot surfaced so did Peter Burr who was nearly a victim as well. He descended with the others to the rock pile and spent some time photographing.After that, about six divers started moving off to a deeper section, swimming along a ledge of rock. Peter said he followed for a minute or two, then started to feel the effects of nitrogen narcosis. He said he was looking down at the bottom using his torch when he saw two other divers heading in the opposite direction. He then looked at his decompression metre and realised that his time was up, then turned to go back, but could not see the entrance, everything was jet black. There were a couple of divers close to him and one of these threw his arms up to indicate he was lost. He had a torch and was up under a roof. By this lime water around the group was beginning to silt up quickly and no one could see very far at all.Peter Burr then sighted a diver ahead of him and followed, he began running out of air and released his reserve rod. By this time the hole came into view and he ascended towards the opening, spent a little time decompressing, until he used all his air, then surfaced. Larry Reynolds was also very lucky to be alive. He checked his depth gauge and saw he was at 224 feet (68 metres) and near Gordon Roberts, who gave the signal to ascend, followed by Christine Millott.Ascending rapidly into darkness, Christine and Gordon entered a dome-like hole in the ceiling, Reynolds, who was just about 15 feet (5 metres) below the two, saw their torches waving frantically, perhaps trying to look for a way out, they were lost. Then Larry Reynolds torch went out and he sank down to the floor of the cave. As luck had it, his torch then came on again. At this angle from the cave floor, he could just see glimmer of light coming from the entrance and ascended towards the opening. As he surfaced, he found Bob Smith and Glen Millot on the surface. Another diver said that just before he turned back he saw John Bockerman swimming downward into the deepest part of The Shaft.

  To enter The Shaft a diver must first of all climb down a rope ladder to water level. Suit up on a small ledge then dive down to 140 feet to the bottom. A deep tunnel leads off to the left to unknown depths.

When the group of South Pacific Divers arrived at Mount Gambier, the cylinders they brought with them were filled with air from Sydney. The Mount Gambier supplier of compressed air then refilled some of these cylinders that were used on a previous dive into The Shaft. After the fatal dive, olice then took all cylinders. One or two of the surviving group protested that the cylinders not filled at Mount Gambier should be returned to them. During initial police investigations they found that underwater discipline was nil, divers descended beyond their air capacity and there was no responsible leadership. Upon surfacing at the entrance, Bob Smith told Detective Sergeant Whitrod that when he got another cylinder, claiming it was filled in Sydney, descended to 225 feet (68 metres) he searched for the lost divers without feeling the effects of narcosis, but felt these effects when using a cylinder filled at Mount Gambier. He then alleged there was something wrong with the air supplied at Mount Gambier. Joan Harper, one member of the group who did not dive on that particular day, returned to Sydney with the cylinders released by police, those not used in the dive at The Shaft. Cylinders used for the dive were held for further tests. Peter Harper, Joan Harper's husband, conducted his own test on cylinders and alleged that air was impure and was the cause of death to divers in the group. Air tested by Harper, was supplied at Mount Gambier.

Doctors and police were very sceptical of his view, and later proved that his claim was incorrect and misleading to the investigation. Finally after extensive testing of the

An artist impression of The Shaft.

high pressure compressor that supplied air at Mount Gambier, air in the cylinders, and the tests on each body when recovered, Government pathologist. Dr R A James, said that air in each cylinder was definitely not contaminated and the examination on each body, showed that all had died through lack of air, followed immediately by drowning. At the end of the Magistrate's inquiry that followed, Mr R T Stokes, Coroner, handed down his findings. He concluded: “I find that the four divers died in The Shaft while underwater on May 25, 1973, and that the cause of death was they overstayed their bottom time, their air supply became exhausted and they died of hypoxia. “I also find, despite their claims they were experienced divers and some of them were qualified instructors, none of the group were experienced sink hole divers. No proper safety precautions were taken, in particular, setting up a fail-safe return-to-surface arrangement nor did they have a buddy system or any other recognised safety structure. Divers who may run into decompression had no attached air tanks to the shot line. No member of the party had clearly shown to have had the responsibility of co-ordinating the dive or in the capacity of leadership”.So, four divers in the prime of their lives died in the pursuit of deep diving. This type of bravado proves nothing except perhaps that it is worthless folly, and a selfish and thoughtless act toward their families and other divers. The Shaft was then closed to all scuba divers for a number of years.

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DIVING PERMITS FOR PICCANINNIE PONDS AT MT GAMBIER: Mount Gambier. Divers are advised the National Parks Authority South Australia, controlling Piccaninnie Ponds area, now requires diver entering the ponds to be issued with permit from the Authority. Permits will be given to divers because of their FAUI Certification. The National Parks Authority has appointed Mr Col Penglis Advisory Officer on diving, an applications for permits sent to him. Permits will be issued to people who can convince Mr Penglis that they have at least 25 dives, or 25 hours diving logged to a depth of up to 50 feet (15 metres) and at least 5 dives logged to at least 100 feet (30 metres). They must supply written proof of their qualification either from an instructor or a Club Diving Officer. Permits will be issued to novice diver if they are in the complete care and responsibility of an instructor. Permits will not be available to take groups of inexperienced divers, unless there is one instructor per novice. The Ponds will be closed to all diver should another fatality occur. It's up to divers to prevent this. If conditions on the back of the permit are not obeyed, then it will be withdrawn.  An experienced ranger, who is a diver, will be policing the area. The diving condition include a strict buddy system, depth gauges, maximum depth of 121 feet (37 metres) and use of a guideline in all caverns.

TRAGEDY AT THE PINES OR DEATH CAVE SINK HOLE (S126): Mount Gambier. On October 9, 1972, three scuba divers from South Australia were reported missing to local police stationed at Mount Gambier. The divers were all members of the South Australian Underwater Explorers Club. They become lost while on a dive in a sink hole known as The Pines, located just off a dirt road that runs through a pine forest owned by the Woods and Forest Department at Burring 18 miles north west of Mount Gambier. The victims were David Edmeades, 38 years, Christopher Rands, 17 years, and Sandra Leach, 18 years. When the Underwater Recovery Squad arrived at The Pines sink hole, they called in a professional cave diver, Mac Laurie, to help them in the recovery of the bodies.

The Pines or Death Hole where three divers died in 1973.

He was familiar with the dive site and suggested that he alone should dive to try to locate the bodies. For the reason that it was a very silty dive and more than one diver would make it extremely difficult to see, and a sense of depth and direction would soon be lost. Mac Laurie had dived The Pines often before and knew it well, he told police that he thought he knew where the three bodies might be. Then he entered the dive site, after a short time surfaced, and told waiting police he had located the bodies and would bring them out one at a time. The three divers had become lost when they could not find their way out which was a shaft leading back to the surface.

PLANS FOR SAFE CAVE DIVING IN FUTURE: Mount Gambier. The new CAVE DIVING ASSOCIATION of AUSTRALIA envisages controlled training and testing programs for cave divers. The Association, at its inaugural meeting at Mount Gambier, elected a committee to plan better diver education and a system of certifying instructors and divers. The National Association was formed by a group of divers concerned with cave diving safety after the deaths of four Sydney divers in The Shaft at Allendale, near Mount Gambier, early last year. The President of the Association, Mr. Eddie Gertners, said recently that existing scuba divers must be advanced trained in cave and sink hole diving. There were signs of panic when the three divers realised they had become lost and could not find a way out of the silty dark underground waters tunnels. Later, when police were exploring and mapping The Pines they found an underwater torch with the name “Sandy” written on the handle, embedded in thick mud on the main cave floor. The Acting Premier, Mr. Des Corcoron, announced that The Pines would be sealed permanently with a concrete slab. Yet another tragedy in the Mt Gambier cave systems.

MAN IN THE SEA AUSTRALIA'S FIRST UNDERWATER-SYMPOSIUM FILM FESTIVAL: Queensland. Australia's first complete Underwater Symposium and Film Festival was conducted by the Technical Division of the Queensland Underwater Federation, at the Schonell Theatre, University of Queensland. Following six hectic months of preparation, Man in the Sea commenced with an Inaugural Reception in the Page Hanify Room. The reception proved to be a gathering of some of the top divers in this country, many contributing materials for the film festival the following day. Later in the evening, Ben Cropp, internationally famed underwater photographer, presented a short film about Whisky Wrecks and Whale Sharks. The Symposium and Film Festival went for two days and nights. On Saturday night the extended evening program commenced with Chris Boyle's “Diver Certification” film that had a near packed theatre rolling in the aisles. Programs that followed were carefully selected to include both Australian and overseas films. Work has already commenced on the next Man in the Sea program that will be held at the Schooner Theatre in July of 1974.

FATHOM MAGAZINE CLOSES: Sydney. A Sydney based diving magazine, Fathom, has ceased production with its 10th issue. Roy Bisson, a skin diver, who has been an art director with such magazines as Chance, Squire, Gourmet. Motorcycle Rider and many others, compiled Fathom, and it was published by Gareth Powell. Its editor was John Harding. However the magazine never appealed to many divers in this country and sales dropped off to a point where it was not profitable. Had the magazine been more locally orientated with a better editorial content it would have been popular among divers in Australia than it was, a number of articles came from overseas and were of little interest to Australian divers. Probably for this reason, its advertisers did not support the magazine and into the second year Fathom stopped publication.

BLACK YEAR FOR SCUBA DIVERS AND SNORKELLERS: Sydney. Last year was the worst on record for scuba diving deaths. Eighteen, or possibly nineteen, died. (A conflict in reports makes the exact figure uncertain to estimate). In short, three times as many people died in 1973 as in 1972. The second worst year was 1967 when we lost 10 divers. A summary of what happened to the victims shows that four snorkel divers were included. Two of these were taken by surge or wave action under shallow water rock ledges where they drowned. Another suffered cramps and drowned although he was a good swimmer and the final snorkel victim had a heart attack and died on the surface. On the scuba scene, one pupil drowned while under instruction. Apparently, it was his fourth time in the water and the first time in the sea, and he was not wearing a life vest. Another unlucky person ran out of air on the surface and attempted to drop his tank and weights. Unfortunately, the weight belt was (for some unknown reason) tied to his back-pack. The whole mass became tangled on a leg knife and dragged the person underwater. In another case, it appears that the diver ran out of air and not having a snorkel, drowned during the swim back to shore. Two more divers were lost during rough conditions, they were unable to get out of the water. One victim's COz type life jacket malfunctioned, before his weight belt was dropped.A deep dive and what appears to have been over exertion at 160 feet (50 metres) caused another diver to run out of air near the bottom. He attempted to buddy breathe from a friend's regulator but a neck strap around his buddy's regulator prevented this. The buddy inflated his life jacket to bring both to the surface, but the diver low on air failed to hang on to the ascending diver and drowned. The victim apparently had no snorkel and may have used a considerable amount of air on the surface, while waiting for friends to enter the water. This would have taken pressure from his tank and caused him to run low on air. The report said that the diver failed to activate his cylinder reserve, drop his weight belt or attempt a free ascent by holding on to his buddy. The report also said he had no life jacket and wore 21 pounds of lead. At Mount Gambier there were four lives lost, three of them happening on one day. Not counting The Shaft deaths at Mount Gambier, of four divers, which happened after this report was compiled last year.  The reason appeared to have been bottom sediment being stirred up in the underground caves and the divers, without a guideline to the cave entrance, failing to find the surface. Regarding abalone divers, there was a double fatality this year. Below is a summary of accidents on which we have information:                                                                               

2 drowned under rock shelf.
1 cramp.
1 heart attack diving alone.

1 pupil died under training.
1 tangled in his equipment.
1 inexperienced washed off rocks.
1 inexperienced unable to reach boat.
1 drowned in underwater sea cave.
1 drowned during deep dive.
4 drowned in freshwater caves.
2 died with the bends.
It is obvious that sharks are no longer our number one underwater hazard. Inexperience, faulty equipment, or bad conditions are the real danger. The case of the abalone divers speaks for itself. It is noteworthy that last year there were no drownings due to hyperventilation. Underwater fishermen are usually the ones who have the closest calls with this problem.

SHARK SCARES AND BACKYARD DIVE SHOPS: Melbourne. This issue marked the commencement of our fifth year of publication of the skin diving magazine and although the sport within Australia has not grown as fast as we hoped it would, we are continuing to grow and improve for the benefit of readers of "Skin diving in Australia Magazine". When one looks at the number of divers in the North Island of New Zealand I (Barry Andrewartha) can't help but wonder why this small island would have more active divers than the whole of Australia. What's wrong with Australia and its diving population? The main cause continues to be the news media with its shark scare tactic and, "keep out of the water, if you want to stay alive" warning. Following closely behind this problem is one which I have only become aware of over the past year or two. The complete lack of support of the sport by the diving industry within Australia. The diving importers and distributors of Australia could learn a valuable lesson from our New Zealand neighbours. To see the support the professional dive shops get in Auckland has to be seen to be believed. There are far too many backyard retail outlets of diving equipment in Australia, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney. Our dive shops in these cities have no hope of competing with back yarders on price and discounting. It is time our diving equipment wholesalers realised they're killing our sport by supplying to these people who are restricting the growth of our sport. Secondly, they can support our sport by becoming involved with diving associations and clubs who work to promote our sport such as the Oceans Trade Nights, Man and the Sea Trade Night, and various other attractions, because these people are the ultimate benefactors of all diving promotions. As far as our magazine is concerned, I am convinced we're doing our bit. Both Ian McNeill and myself are still working our 9 to 5 jobs and doing this magazine on a part-time basis, while we give our advertisers the cheapest national advertising rates in Australia, and we give our readers the highest quality, specialist sport magazine in Australia. I am sick to death of people accusing us of ripping off the sport with our cover price of 75 cents. If you read one interesting article, learn one fact, or get 20 minutes of entertainment, then you have had your moneys worth. So, it is hoped the sport does some growing up and gets on with scuba diving.

SHARK THEORY MYSTERY DEATH OF DIVER: Perth. Police are puzzled over the death of an experienced scuba diver who was found in 6 metres of water without his mouthpiece in his mouth. The dead man, Ron Russell was an experienced diver and was diving during the weekend with W. Symons and J. Bunde when the accident occurred. Symons said, "We were diving near St Alouarn Island, about 13 kilometres south east of Port Augusta. We were both wearing goggles and mouthpieces with an air line connected to a compressor in the boat". Symons felt an emergency tug on the air line, followed Ron's air line down, and found the end resting on the sea bottom with the rubber mouthpiece pulled off. Russell was in a sitting position with his body weights still around his waist and two spear guns next to him. His diving companions found an abrasion on his forehead they could not understand. There has been speculation that a shark may have hit him. It's a mystery as to what happened.

South Australia. This incredible story happened to two scuba divers, husband, and wife team, Jill and Igo Oak, from Pasadena, South Australia. They were filming fish life in southern water reefs. It was certainly not the first time divers have swum with white pointer shark. Most have been in the protection of cages, very few outside. A handful have not been attacked or killed when an encounter has taken place. Jill and Igo Oak are two such divers who have survived a terrifying encounter with an enormous 5 metre, one and a half tonnes, white pointer shark. Here is their story, a spine chilling 30 minutes of sheer terror for Igo and a calculated rush to the surface by his wife before the shark attacked one or the other.

On Saturday April, 1975, Two scuba divers, Jill and Igo Oak, descended an anchor rope into clean blue waters to film small fish life that lived on a colourful southern sea reef beneath them. A little cow fish flashed blue and yellow in the dappled light that filtered through from the surface. Anxiously watching them as he tried to propel his short squat body to a safer distance. Old wives hung motionless nearby, not bothered, their spiny fins spread to full glory, as they balanced in the gentle stream of tidal current. Further away across the reef, Igo Oak saw through clear blue water a host of bullseye fish creating a silver background for the brighter colours of individual fish that lazed about here and there. Looking closely about I wondered where the little fellow had gone. Just then his eyes peeped above an arch of sponge covered rock, and he waited, hoping we had not noticed him disappearing behind there. We moved towards him, I could hear the whiffing of my husbands camera motor through the housing as the frames shuttered past, recording his quaint behaviour. Away he went again, fins working madly, and tail on full starboard rudder to counteract the tide and keep him on course. I stopped, and looking at my content gauge, held it up, 300 psi, low on air, time to swim for the surface. Igo, my husband, nodded, holding the camera housing so a small side window showed me it was out of film. Schooling bulls eyes parted and closed behind us as we swam over the heads of tall yellow ascidians, which stood in groups like strange alien beings with no bodies. On past a patch of brilliant red and yellow sponges towards where our anchor should be. I turned slowly in a circle, looking upwards for the hull of the boat, I could not see it, and looked back towards Igo. My mind froze. There between us, three metres from me, was an enormous grey shape. The underside of its body a gleaming, streamlined, powerful pale blue-green. Igo's dark rubber suited outline, a further metre away on its far side, framed between the large dorsal fin and the long scythe curve of its tail. Fully stretched Igo measured less than half its length. "Wow!" that's the grand-daddy of all dolphins, the thought flashed through my mind, as I looked again and saw the shape of its tail and the pale gleam of its underbelly, and as it moved on round to the far side of Igo, I knew it was a shark. I swam towards Igo, as somehow I thought there was safety in numbers, at least he could shove the metal camera housing at its nose. Over his shoulder, I saw it again, coming in, head on, and it looked a metre, wide and all mouth. I pulled my demand valve from

Igo and Jill Oak both survived an encounter with a giant white pointer shark.

my mouth and yelled at it. A helpless attempt. As if that would scare it away. It just kept coming on in, not caring to hear me, gently smiling at me. Igo turned and put his hand on my shoulder and reassuringly squeezed, OK. I didn't feel a thing, every nerve, every fibre of my being was numb. As we watched it circle, and as Igo stood his ground, I shot for the surface in a flurry of bubbles. I am out of air, and he still has half his big tank left. At least if I leave, he can go back down, I cannot, were my thoughts. "Shark Shark," I screamed, and without looking back, swam desperately for the boat. Hands grabbed me and hauled me bodily over the stem of the boot. For seconds I lay gasping on the deck. God, it was big. It must have been five metres long, all I could see was its enormous white stomach. I struggled to my feet, tank, fins, and all. "Where is he?" With knees like jelly I braced myself against the side of the boat and searched the oily calm sea. Minutes, hours it seemed, ticked by until I spotted Igo's dark head some thirty metres away. He lifted his head and shouted, "Start the motor, I grabbed the key and turned it, the motor cranked but would not start. Oh no, I've flooded it, and turned the key repeatedly. Desperate time went by and he lifted his head again. "Start the motor" It won't start. Go down. Please go down, Oh, isn't there something we can do. A breeze was blowing the blue and white divers flag almost 60 degrees away from him, we would have drifted further from my husband, if we pulled up the anchor. I stood frozen and helpless in the boat, watching his dark head on the surface, dreading that possible moment when he would be pushed bodily out of the bloodied water. With me gone Igo hung alone in mid water, still breathing deeply from his regulator, and turning slowly, watching, and matching the pattern of movement as the monstrous grey shape swam leisurely, encircling him from two metres away. The first moments of shock, disbelief and the feeling of complete unreality were gone, and he was fully able to concentrate on observing this great shark. It circled level with him, watching intently, and then it turned head on and came straight for him, sinking at the last moment to pass almost under him only a metre away. The second time it turned towards Igo, he flashed on his movie light, a meagre defence, but maybe it would somehow puzzle the great shark. As the minutes passed by and it circled and passed under my husband, and as he flashed his light on and off, a rhythm seemed to develop, a kind of dare, a battle of wills, between the most streamlined killing monster on earth, and the mind power of man. My husband knew as long as he kept calm and made no sudden move, this curious creature so completely absorbed in him, would make no move either. As the blind animal instinct for survival subsided, and man's reasoning returned, he tore his eyes away from its huge head. Looked along its lengthy back and saw the healing scars of damage, two deep gashes that ran parallel across its back and to the small second dorsal fin, a painful encounter with twin propellers. Printed on his memory the same way, he could see the wide bases of teeth through its open mouth. Slowly, ever so slowly, round and round it cruised, never menacing, never aggressive, just deeply interested. Then as though bored with the game, it moved further away, broke the circle and slid past the edge of visibility. My husband watched for a moment, just to make sure, and, still turning slowly, eased his way upwards to the surface. Time had lapsed, and with the tide, he discovered he was a long way from the boat. “Start the motor,” He shouted, and bent his head to make sure he was still alone, again he lifted his head and called. “Start the motor.” Then he looked beneath again, he screamed into his mouthpiece that it was back, heading straight towards him. Everything was wrong. He was on the surface, the most dangerous place to be, and now the shark was coming. He watched transfixed. Cold fear washed over him, as again he stood his ground. The great shark sank at the last moment and made its pass directly below, within touching distance, every detail seen on its body. Turning, it began circling him again, watching him, and sensing him, again the slashes raked across its back and the torn fin passed before his eyes. Was it his imagination? That the shark was tightening the circle? Closer it came, head on, dived up again on the far side, forcing him to tuck his knees under his chin so the fins would not drag along its back. His heart pounding, his teeth gripping the regulator, he kept still and waited as it played out its interminable game. Then the circling widened, and the shark moved slowly away. Igo waited, the minutes ticking by, it didn't come back. Then doing a careful rolling turn, he dived for the comparative safety of the ocean floor. Swimming slowly with measured strokes, he followed the edge of the low reef back to the anchor. Twice, as he pushed along against the current, he saw, on the edge of visibility, the long languorous movement of the shark, and began to curse that he was out of film. At the anchor he paused, his eyes searching the limits to confirm the coast was clear, ready to tie his gear to the anchor rope and try for a quick exit, as now he too was very low on air. Nothing in sight. Sliding his hand up along the anchor rope, he followed his bubbles towards the warm sunlight. Climbing on board, he greeted us and sank, weak kneed, into the pilot's seat. “What sort of shark was it?” I asked, holding his cold wet shoulders between my hands, not really believing he was back, alive. “Dammit, I was out of film,” he smiled lightly. "Doesn't matter about that, what sort of shark was it?" I insisted. “A bloody great white pointer” he gasped, and the entire warmth went out of the sun. Both my husband and I are very lucky to be alive today.

BEGINNING OF OCEANS SOCIETY IN AUSTRALIA: Melbourne. July1, 1976 will mark the formation of The Oceans Society of Australia. The people behind this Society are the same people who for the past three years have been running the Oceans Congress Film Festivals and Marine Biology Weekend. The formation of this Society marks a new era for skin diving in Australia, with the interest of divers turning away from competition scuba, spear fishing, fin swimming and underwater hockey etc... Toward self-education to broaden his or her knowledge of the oceans flora and fauna. The Oceans Society of Australia will fill this spreading gap. Membership of the society is now available to divers throughout Australia and the fee will be $16.00 per annum. Every new member will receive a numbered key ring medallion, an Ocean Society poster, two car or tank decals, an attractive membership certificate, a discount on all Oceans functions and personal subscription to the Society's superb high class colour, professional quarterly magazine, called "Oceans". This magazine will soon become the symbol of the society, the contributors will all be world authorities in their field and subjects will include Marine Archaeology, Marine Biology, Oceanography, Anthropology, Marine Sciences, etc... This semi-hard covered, glossy colour magazine will undoubtedly become a collector's item and will be available only to members of the Society through their membership fees. Members will be kept informed about all of the Society's activities through personal contact on a regular basis. Other activities coming up include the annual Oceans Film Night to be held on Sunday evening, November 21, 1976, at the Alexander Theatre at Monash University in Clayton, Victoria. Another first for Oceans Society in conjunction with the South Pacific Underwater Medical Society, the first SPUMS Ocean Underwater Medical Conference. This will be held at the State College, Frankston, Victoria, on Saturday afternoon, December 4, 1976. Finally, plans have advanced for Oceans 77 Underwater Congress and Film Festival, it will be a show to surpass anything Australia has seen.

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MAN IN THE SEA-A BIG FLOP: Sydney. Sydney divers, where were you? Surely not every dive headed down to Jervis Bay for the June weekend. The MAN AND THE SEA program for the four days was excellent but the organisers must he very disappointed at the dismal response by local divers and business houses. For those who did attend, it was a good opportunity to see old buddies and meet new friends, as well as listen to one of the finest group of speakers ever to address a diving congress. The congress opened on the Friday evening with a very poor trade display which included only four Sydney business houses. The biggest disappointment overall was the extremely poor attendance, an average of about 60 people for all seminars except for the Underwater Photographic Seminar which doubled this. Perhaps, however, it was just as well. The venue was not the most comfortable and the presentation aids for the speakers weren't the best. The Film Festival on the Saturday evening was held at a venue that to a Melbourneite was rather incredible, the Revesby Working Men's Club, Revesby Workers Club. How the organisers ever expected people to watch six underwater movies in those conditions beats me. Like most people, I (Peter Stone) like a drop of comforting refreshment but it was impossible to sit back and enjoy the films amidst the clatter of drinking glasses, waiters, and potato chip bags. The fact that children under the age of eighteen could not come to the festival certainly did nothing for diving. Apart from all this, there were several very good films. Tom Byron's Jervis Bay The Blue Edge, was excellent, as was Ben Cropp's Island of Tragedy. The GTV9 Perth documentary on the Batavia wreck, Time Capsule at Three Fathoms, was one of the finest documentaries of its type I have seen, and was most appropriate as it covered a subject presented by Jeremy Green at the Marine Archaeology Seminar. The American film, Windjammer Lost, contained some brilliant underwater footage, taken on a newly discovered wreck 36 metres below the surface off Venezuela. The other two films are only worth mentioning in that they were so bad. Apart from these two, it was a very good program.

HISTORICAL SHIPWRECK DISCOVERY OF THE HMS PANDORA: Cairns. The HMS Pandora was dispatched from England under the command of Captain Edward Edwards to search for the mutineers of HMS Bounty. Captain Edwards's ship became totally wrecked on August 28, 1791, at the entrance to a passage through the Great Barrier Reef that now bears her name. Thirty-one of the ship's company and four of the Bounty mutineers were drowned, but ninety nine survivors, including ten of the mutineers, succeeded in reaching a small islet some five kilometres from the wreck. The wreck of Pandora was discovered at the bottom of Pandora Entrance on November 16, 1977, by two separate teams of divers, one led by Steve Domm and the other by Ben Cropp. I (Steve Domm) became interested in Pandora following discussions with Cairns diver Roger Steene, who had organised the first expedition to search for Pandora approximately 7 years earlier. From Roger Steene I obtained much information including air photos of the area, and perhaps more important, I caught some of his original enthusiasm for the project. This was early in 1976. Soon after leaving the position of Resident Director of Lizard Island Research Station the time was now ripe to look for the wreck of Pandora. First I required more information and for this purpose I enlisted the help of Mr. John Heyer a film director and producer. His research which was carried out mostly at the British Maritime Museum and various other Admiralty establishments in London convinced me that indeed, Pandora should not be too difficult to find. Now, deciding definitely to go ahead with the project I needed financial support and competent divers. Both problems were solved when my old friend and well-known Sydney diver, Ted Louie, joined the expedition. Indeed, it was only because of Ted's support that the Pandora Expedition became a reality. It was through Ted that I met his two friends, the brother's Peter and David Moon, who required little persuasion to join the rest of us. Peter and David were automotive engineers, avid experienced divers, an extremely valuable combination. By February, with the assistance of Ted, Peter, and David, I bought the vessel that was to carry us the 5000 kilometres from Sydney to Pandora and then back again. For me I hoped this would be the first of many such trips. In April, John Heyer and I had commenced negotiations with the RAAF to enlist their help in locating Pandora. They were to fly one of their magnetometer equipped airplanes (Neptune) over the site to confirm our chosen location or perhaps discover Pandora somewhere else close to my locations. We hoped that 80 tonnes of iron ballast on Pandora would provide enough ferrous material to give a reading. However, the RAAF experts were doubtful and this led me to obtain the loan of a marine magnetometer that we could use either from our boat or tow it behind our work boat. On September 20, we left Sydney and headed north. On board were Ted Louie, Peter and David Moon as crew. The Pandora Expedition had commenced and consisted of the following member's, leader Steve Domm, research John Heyer, divers and crew Ted Louie, Peter and David Moon, assistant research and crew Anna Heyer. On our way to the tiny settlement of Portland Roads, situated on the Northern Queensland Coast, which would be our last stop before Pandora Entrance, John and I discussed in detail plans for the search ahead. John's research enabled him to pick out exactly the one reef among the many uncharted reefs strewn across Pandora Entrance as having the highest likelihood of being "Pandora Reef". My own expertise on coral reefs enabled me to confirm his choice as quite feasible. We therefore knew where Pandora was long before the actual search, or at least we thought we did, as there is always that small doubt about such things. At least we knew exactly where to commence our search. It's about 400 kilometres from Cairns to Portland Road then another 150 to Pandora Entrance via Raine Island. At Pandora Entrance, we met the not too welcome sight of Ben Cropp's boat, Beva. Ben Cropp was in the area filming for his television series and had managed to get in on the RAAF flight that I had organised. However. the operation had been set. I decided November 15, and it then became important to work out with Cropp a flight plan that would satisfy us both. During our first meeting with Ben Cropp he loudly and emphatically insisted that he had found "Pandora Reef" because of a small cannon they had found on its surface. John and I were relieved to discover that Cropp's reef was at least one kilometre north from our reef. So we parted company each convinced the other was wrong. The difference was that our choice was the result of much painstaking research backed up by help from the British Admiralty and cannon or no cannon we were glad Cropp's area was a long way from ours.  On the morning of the 15th, Ben Cropp was stationed off "his" reef in Beva and I put our boat near our reef. We tensely awaited the arrival of the Neptune. We realised that if the Neptune confirmed Cropp's reef then we had lost all, but if our reef was confirmed then we had found the Pandora wreck. If the Neptune found nothing then we would commence a magnetometer survey of the entire area if necessary but would start with our reef first. We were equipped to spend the whole summer in the search if necessary while Cropp would be leaving within a few days, despite the outcome of the RAAF flight. When the Neptune arrived it flew over Cropp's reef and after getting no reading there it commenced to fly over our area. Almost immediately the Neptune had a significant reading, a smoke flair dropped and a second run resulted in another contact. The RAAF had confirmed our location to be the right one to the precise reef and before departing to Townsville they mentioned that the wreck could lie within 100 metres of the smoke flares. We were elated, Cropp's choice was wrong ours was right and we had found the Pandora. Now all that remained was to site the wreck and with 8 divers in the water it was only a matter of time and chance who would be the first one. I was not concerned Cropp had put down two buoys marking the position of the smoke flares but on that first day of rather haphazard diving, nothing found. On the second day, Ben Cropp was at the site before us and by the time we arrived, he had removed the two buoys. This was very annoying because without these reference points it was impossible to detect where we had searched on the day before also difficult to orientate ourselves for the dives ahead. After Ted and Dave had a quick dive and found nothing I decided to use our magnetometer. After claiming to have already searched the area Cropp went on to drop Beva's anchor right in the centre of the search area. Cropp and his divers may have searched the area but we had not and this I went on to do. We lowered the magnetometer sensor into the sea and with me at the helm, the others watched the digital recorder while I steered a series of north south runs each bringing us in closer to Beva. Things began to happen fast when almost at the sometime as we began to get significant readings on the magnetometer, Cropp's excited voice came across on the radio saying his diver Ron Bell, while confined to only 20 metres, had spotted Pandora almost next to Beva's anchor. Immediately we brought in the sensor, Ted and I were in the work boat preparing to dive while David was tying up to the marker buoy we dropped and started the hookah. We beat Cropp and his divers to the wreck by about 10 minutes, and there it was. Since Ron had only seen the wreck from a distance. Ted Louis and I were the first people to dive upon the Pandora for almost 200 years and it was a real sensation to both of us. I was so grateful that I had the chance to be the first one there. After Cropp, and his divers, it would never be the same again. Here were the unmistakable remains of an old ship. The wreck covers an area of approximately 43 metres by 10 metres that is roughly the size of Pandora. I surfaced before Ted and when he joined me, we both shook hands laughing in the knowledge of our success. There was no doubt that the wreck was that of Pandora, a great find for Australian maritime history and a wonderful effort on the part of all concerned.

SEARCH FOR CAPTAIN COOKS ANCHOR: Cairns. December 1977. It was Christmas evening 1971. The sun was sinking into the western Coral Sea, a fantastic blaze of red, green, blue and gold beams of light pierced the sky above that tropical orb as it dissolved into those burnished waves. One would think all would be merry at this festive time of year, but the team sat around depressed, already ten days had elapsed since the expedition had begun, and there was no sign that we would succeed. Then at 6.30 pm, diver Fred Aprilovic climbed aboard after a long duration underwater, there was a gleam of success in his eyes. He declared he had uncovered the eye of an enormous anchor, and once he had described it nobody was in any doubt that the prize had been won. Events leading up to the recovery of Captain Cook's anchor and other historical artefacts go back to 1961 when I (Vince Vlasoff) met Dr. Virgil Kauffman of the United States, then in Australia conducting a magnetometer survey of the continent. Discussions with him led to the eventual formation of the expedition in 1969 that resulted in the successful recovery of the Endeavour's cannon,ballast blocks, and ballast stones. During this expedition, I gained much knowledge on procedures for locating metals hidden by water sea beds and coral.

Captain Cooks anchor found by diver Fred Aprilovic in 1977.

I requested permission from the Receiver of Wrecks to drive a railway line spike into the reef to permanently mark the historic spot Cook had been stranded upon to use as a starting point for any eventual search for an anchor that Cook's log said had been left near the reef having been caught in deep water coral. There was every indication that the anchor lost in 17 fathoms of water, presented a problem. The anchor could have sunk below the surface of a muddy or sandy sea bed in 200 years and be out of visual search probabilities.
Diving in deep water posed problems beyond my personal capacity so I approached a local professional diver, Fred Aprilovic, well known for his deep water exploits and diving ability. I inquired whether he would offer his services on such an expedition and all necessary equipment that may be needed for a recovery, if we could locate the anchor. Fred was keen to join in the search, and become the diving master of the fledgling anchor expedition search. Currently we had the vessel Tropic Seas with lifting equipment to handle salvage work, and diving equipment to put two men down to 17 fathoms. The next problem was to obtain the service of a magnetometer and operator to narrow down the search area. To this end I called upon David Hume, a stockbroker, engaged in dealing with mining companies, to try and procure a machine and operator for the search, advising that if this was possible we would set up an Australian Expedition to salvage the anchor. In due course, a magnetometer and operator, Arnold Baird of McPhar Geophysics, South Australia, joined the expedition on a basis of no pay, but should we be successful a claim would be made for salvage, should the government take claim of the anchor after recovery. On the morning of December 16, 1971. the Cook's Anchor Recovery Expedition ship Tropic Seas left Cairns for the Hope Isles. The Hope Isles, a tropical coral island group named by Captain Cook after his escape from Endeavour Reef, lay 40 kilometres south east from Cooktown and 14 kilometres from the wreck site on Endeavour Reef. and was ideally situated as a location for our base camp. Three days had elapsed in the search but no sign of any metal objects below the surface. On the fourth day Arnold Baird's assistant, John Kumm, was steering the search boat near the southern edge of the search quadrant when to avoid spraying the boat and to ride the waves at a better angle, John steered out well into the southern sector, seas began rising to a choppy wave outside the search quadrant, all at once Arnold yelled. A fair anomaly pick-up was registering and immediately a marker buoy was dropped to roughly locale the area. A diver would now have to carry the sensor head around the bottom to locate the exact position of the object. As the steel tank would interfere with the sensor pick-up, the sensor head was attached to a 2 metre pole, weighed to neutral buoyancy. After some manoeuvring, Fred Aprilovic established the precise area where the object lay, under sand and coral, close to a large coral formation. It was now the morning of Christmas day, we had spent some time trying to dig down into the sand and coral with shovels and buckets, but found it exceedingly hard to do as the area would silt up badly and the visibility would become almost nil. That afternoon we sat around the boat feeling rather depressed, 10 days had now elapsed, there was no real proof that the anomaly down there was the anchor, it could be anything. We had expected to find it more to the west so much time had been lost and with only five more days left for the expedition to succeed things looked grim. Fred Aprilovic was still below digging away at an almost impossible task trying to sink a hole deep enough to verify what lay deep in the sand and coral. It was close to sundown and the women were preparing Christmas dinner. I shall never forget that moment when Fred came aboard, with a gleam of success in his eye, as he declared he had uncovered the eye of an enormous steel anchor. We sat back and gaped, was it true or was he pulling our leg? "Fair dinkum, want to make a bet?" He said. In the silence that followed John said, "I won't bet against our luck." Fred then said, "Get me a large piece of paper, I shall draw you a plan to scale of what the anchor looks like." Once he drew and described it no one was in any doubt that the anchor below was the one we were after. Next morning we were keen to go below to investigate Fred's find. The hole had partly filled in during the night and it was some time before we had the eye of the anchor exposed again, realising the necessity of procuring some sort of dredge if we expected to recover it in time. Back on deck, I discussed with Fred and David the possibility of making a makeshift dredge at Cooktown. Fred had experience in the making and testing of dredges and suggested a simple bypass venture system. David had his doubts whether it would work, but since we had no alternative, we set course that morning for Cooktown. At this old historic town, we were fortunate enough in obtaining what we required by scrounging from different sources. We hired a pump from the local council, and the use of their workshop. In no time Fred, David and Arnold had the dredges made and assembled, by 3 o'clock we were ready to test it at the Cooktown wharf. Fred took it below, we got the motor going, the residue pipe protruded near the bank and in a matter of seconds we knew the dredge was working wonders as the mud and sand belched out over the bank. We quickly packed up and returned eagerly to the Hope Islands for an overnight stopover. Early the next day we anchored over the anomaly site. With the equipment set up Fred went underwater, manoeuvred the dredge into place, and began gouging away at one metres of coral and sand that covered the anchor. One problem arose where small pieces of coral began blocking the dredge internally. This we overcame by using one of my chipping hammers to smash the coral as it was drawn into the intake. By late afternoon, the anchor lay exposed after divers had spent six hours dredging. David and I went down with cameras, the water was quite murky for good photos, but the anchor was a sight. It lay there in its 200-year-old tomb, 5 centimetres of growth, grey green coral in colour, covering the metal and contrasting sharply with the dark surroundings, this was our prize and it looked enormous. On December 26, we carefully hoisted this fabulous old relic to within 2 metres of the boat's keel and transported it to a shallow part of the reef where it was photographed and inspected by all crew members. We returned to Hope Island that night. Celebrating our success and burning the ether with telegrams. I felt a great satisfaction with our achievement and can understand how the rest of the party felt. Early next morning with good weather still prevailing we hoisted the anchor to the keel of the Tropic Seas attaching it just forward of the propeller and supported both sides, front and back with cables to the lifting gear and ship's rigging. We left Endeavour Reef that morning at a speed of 6 knots, a course set for Cape Tribulation, anchoring in the bay that afternoon. The next morning we set sail for Cairns Harbour, the weather began blowing a north westerly making our progress slow and cautious along our south easterly passage, but our prize rode solidly on the keel. Our arrival into Cairns Harbour was well broadcast before hand where hundreds of locals and tourists were there to greet the arrival of the Tropic Seas. With the aid of our divers the anchor was detached from the boat's keel and hoisted onto the wharf where it weighed in at 19 cwt, on the big game scales. It was then officially handed over to the Receiver of Wrecks, Mr. Roy Slater, who had flown up from Brisbane for the occasion. Later the anchor was transported to Melbourne where it underwent a complicated restoration process though the metal was in very good condition after 200 years on the ocean bed. Today it is on display at the Science Museum, Swanston Street Melbourne. For each member of the expedition the recovery of Captain Cook's anchor was a great achievement. This 18th century relic is a part of Australia's very early history, it played its part in giving us the society and wealth we have today. The expedition had won for itself a permanent place in the history of this great continent Australia.

DISCOVERY OF THE WRECK SS CATTERTHUN-l895: Newcastle. A group of Newcastle based divers consisting of Barry Streete, Tom Brennan, Brian Parker, John Rutherford, John Fitter and Steve Ward decided to commence a search for the wreck of the SS Catterthun almost 18 months ago. The local reference library had some newspaper articles of the disaster, but nowhere near enough information to be of any benefit in the search and subsequent location of the wreck site. This led to one of the members spending many hours of research over twelve months at the Natural Library in Canberra compiling notes, many photographs and drawings. After twelve months of studying every piece of information available, they plotted on an admiralty chart the position where they thought the Catterthun might lie, in deep water. The Sunday morning chosen to commence the search could not have been better, wind was a light north westerly and the sea very calm, the trip of 36 kilometres by boat took only 1 hour and 5 minutes.

The wreck of Catterthun lies in deep water.

Arriving close to the area where the wreck should be, they commenced searching in a grid pattern, using a hand bearing compass, boat compass, and depth sounder. Soundings were very close to those given by the salvage vessel Sophia Anne, which located the wreck in 1896 and sent hard hat divers down to recover most of the $22,000 in gold sovereigns that the Catterthun was carrying. Depth of water in which they were searching was 54 metres, and after nearly 3 hours of exploration, they had nothing that even resembled the partial remains of a wreck. All agreed to give it another half-hour and then leave the search for another weekend. Barely 10 minutes had passed when a sudden rise on the depth sounder had all staring at the graph and shouting with pleasure at what could be the remains of the Catterthun wreck. They immediately dropped an anchor and found it was firmly hooked. The time was now 1 o'clock and the wind had started to pick up rather strong, making seas choppy and a slight swell picking up to rather rough seas. The current over the wreck site was running at 5 knots, so rather than try to risk a dive they took markings and left the dive until the following weekend. Arriving next Sunday at the location, they found the wreck and within a few minutes anchored their boat. Organising themselves into two dive groups, they consisting of three divers per group, reached the bottom, and saw that their anchor had hooked firmly into the huge links of the Catterthun's anchor chain, which had fallen in a great heap from the chain locker. The Catterthun's two massive anchors lay on either side of the chain. The broken bow section seemed to give the appearance of a gigantic black pyramid reaching for the surface. Swimming along the starboard side of the wreck, their movie lights showed up the brilliant colours of soft corals and fish that had made the wreck their home. The Catterthun has broken up badly and decking had totally collapsed onto the cabin area. They found the engine room and bridge section by the discovery of the steering pedestal lying on its side against an enormous steam driven winch. Directly under the bridge, was an access to the remains of a cabin. Recovered was a solid brass coat and hat hook, one dozen beer and wine bottles, a soda bottle with Chinese inscription, a hand basin, a solid brass scrolled fascia plate probably from the face of a doorstop to an officer's cabin, and many animal bones, some of which were identified as having come from a horse. Artefacts removed will go on display at the Newcastle Maritime Museum.

FOUNDER AND FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE AUSTRALIAN UNDERWATER FEDERATION - DICK CHARLES - DIES: Sydney. Underwater fisherman and motor trader, Richard Charles was born on April 23, 190I. at Moseley, Worcester, England. He was educated at Steyne School, Worthing, and as a boy, accompanied his family to Canada, then to Mexico and in 1913 to Tasmania. Dick was apprenticed as a fitter and turner at IXL and Co, Hobart. Interested in flying from its early days, he obtained aircraft mechanic licence number 15, and flew from Sydney to Kingaroy, Queensland, in 1921. In 1924, Dick with his wife and four children moved to Hurstville, Sydney where he established a motor trading business. A founder (1927) of St George Motor Boat Club in Sydney, Dick Charles enjoyed fishing and swimming and in about 1937, before the days of flippers or snorkels, and became interested in spear fishing. Using an old mirror with the silver scraped off fitted into an old tyre tube, he made his first mask and opened an entirely new world. For a spear he bought some shark hooks, straightened them out, and fixed them on an eight-foot pole. The pastime expanded after the Second World War and antagonism grew between shore fishermen and spear gunners, as they were called those days. Fearing that disorganised activity would bring increased restrictions Dick Charles founded the Spear Gun Fishing Association at a meeting at Long Reef in April l948.

Dick Charles.

This was the forerunner of the Underwater Skin Divers and Fishermens Association of New South Wales, of which he was president from 1948 to 1953. From that day on Dick reigned supreme as its President for many years, assisted by Les Hawley and his secretary. From there the sport blossomed out to various activities in the underwater world directed by Dick's driving force and magnetic personality. Possibly the first group outing of spear fishermen was at Fairlight, Manly, on the wreck of an old Dutch submarine. At this outing, Dick unfurled the USFA banner and those present will well remember the publicity the press and movietone film news gave to that day. Active in promoting and defending the sport he devised rules for interstate competitions and represented the association in negotiations with government and maritime authorities. Usually sporting a battered yachting cap, Dick Charles was acknowledged as Australia's leading skin diver in the early days. Possessing the true resourcefulness of the Australian pioneer, he invented cliff rescue apparatus, a fish-bite indicator, a spear gun named Dirty Dick, and a patented diver's safety belt. Enthusiasm for skin diving accelerated after equipment improved and Hans Hass visited Australia in 1953. That year an inaugural meeting at Tweed Heads elected Dick Charles founding president of the Underwater Spearfishermens Association of Australia. Many years later became the Australian Underwater Federation, (AUF). Old hands will well remember Dick's first attempt at underwater breathing. Snorkels were unheard of and Dick tried, one memorial day at Minnamurra, to put a full face contraption on with an air hose attached to a free floating 4 gallon kerosene tin. With a typical "she's apples fellas" he jumped off Minnamurra rail bridge. It was after that day that he became aware that it is impossible to suck air down 12 or 15 feet underwater with 30lb of lead round one's middle. It was a very bulgy eyed, purple-faced Dick some two minutes later who clawed himself to the mangrove edges. Two hours later when he had his breath back the language was unprintable. One of the most memorable things Dick ever did, a first anywhere in the world, was a two plane airlift of some 56 divers to Forster for a day's outing and underwater fishing. It is impossible to cover this man's 30 odd year's activities in the skin diving world. As the years roll on we who can remember those early days of pioneering a new sport with Dick Charles, can only say that following generations will not have it so good. The sport of underwater fishing and later scuba diving was lucky to have a man of Dick Charles's calibre during its formative years. As they say. "They don't make them like that any more". Dick Charles died at his home on July 11, 1974, he was survived by his wife, daughter and twin sons.

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MARINE BIOLOGY LECTURER:-REG LIPSON: Melbourne. Reg Lipson, Senior Lecturer, Science Education and Natural History (including Marine Studies) at the Hawthorn Institute of Education, Melbourne. In 1959. Reg commenced diving and since that time has spent some 6,500 hours beneath the seas of Australia and the South Pacific, still looking at the curious and bizarre features of the commonest of marine creatures. As he often says, "Its not just what you see underwater, but what you know about what you see which makes the difference to your enjoyment". In 1968. he was appointed as lecturer at the State College of Victoria where again his talents as a teacher were put to good use when he conducted initial and in-service postgraduate training programs for secondary school teachers. In those early days, he believed, against popular opinion, that everyone should learn something of the intriguing world beneath the sea. He persisted with the authorities and in 1972 was permitted to introduce, for the first time anywhere in the world, Marine Studies Education. In 1975, he met his wife Kay and together they became the first educationalists to take school pupils beneath the sea, using scuba equipment, to pursue secondary science studies. In 1976 the Marine Education Society of Australia was formed and this was the forerunner of today's Marine Educators Society of Australia (MESA). In 1974, he conducted one of the first Marine Life Studies programs for scuba divers held in Australia and since then his classes have become renowned for being as enjoyable as they are informative. Reg first became known to divers through his natural history articles in Skin diving in Australia and the South Pacific magazine and as the Master of Ceremonies and speaker at the famous Oceans Congress and since that time more than 1500 marine enthusiasts (sport divers, snorkellers. diving instructors, school teachers, children and beachcombers) have enjoyed the various Sea Studies Services "Feel The Sea" programs. These have become famous for increasing the joy of scuba diving.

AUTHOR, PHOTOGRAPHER, PUBLISHER, PETER STONE: Melbourne. Photographer, magazine writer, author, and book publisher. Born Townsville, 1942. One daughter, one wife, two ex-wives, one cat, one mortgage and the most incredible bull terrier in the world the loveable Baxter. After a few years as a scuba diver, I received a call from Barry Andrewartha, editor, and publisher of Skindiving in Australia magazine (now Sportdiving) and became a regular contributor. Barry had seen the club magazine that I was producing and thought I could string a few words together. This was my start as a photojournalist. Barry has been an inspiration to many divers mentioned in this web site, and I for one shall remain grateful for the opportunities he has presented. He literally changed my life.

Peter Stone.

My first feature was in 1976, on "Raising the Schomberg Cannon". In 1980 I collaborated with Australia's foremost maritime historian and author Jack Loney to produce Australia's Island Shipwrecks, followed a year later by a small book, High and Dry, another one on wrecks. Jack and I were close friends and some time back formed a publishing partnership called Lonestone Press. Also became involved in the Oceans Congress and Underwater Film Festival eventually running the show with Barry Andrewartha and our respective wives at the time. Oceans was the forerunner of the Dive Industry and Travel Association of Australia (DITAA), now Dive Australia. Shows are held in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. I joined my wife Janis in developing Aquarius Dive Travel Australia as the leading dive travel company in Australia. Aquarius and Jan have now gone the way that all good things must but during its day we had a good life, travelled a great deal opening up places such as Santo. Truk Lagoon, Rabaul, Madang, Gizo, Uepi, Isle of Pines, and actively promoted trips to the Great Barrier Reef. It was in 1982 that I published the first edition of Dive Australia. The first comprehensive guide book to dive locations in Australia. The business has now expanded into general publishing of works by other authors. Diving has given me a lifestyle that I shall never regret, the opportunity to travel and to meet incredible peoples, many of whom remain dear friends.

MAGAZINE EDITOR-PUBLISHER, BARRY ANDREWARTHA: Melbourne. Barry Andrewartha first became involved in diving with the Black Rock Underwater Diving Group situated in Melbourne around 1955. For the next two years he speared fish with the club at various local competitions, and in 1957 joined the USFA of Victoria, and held a number of positions, usually Sporting Division Chairman, his interest was spear fishing, as it was that most divers in those years. Barry and his diving friends were some of the pioneers to explore the Mount Gambier sink hole region. They began visiting the area in 1962 and did numerous trips over 4 to 5 years. Using army maps, geological maps and talking to local farmers. They explored hundreds of square kilometres and dozens of sink holes. They were the first divers to actually go into "The Shaft" and many other now popular dive sites in that area.

Barry Andrewartha.


During the late 1960s and the ten years of the seventies many changes took place in Barry Andrewartha's career. First, he began to edit what is now known to all Australian divers as Sportdiving Magazine. In the early 1970s through to the late 1970s, he published four books about underwater fishing locations from the Victorian, South Australian border to Fraser Island in southern Queensland. Also in the seventies, in partnership with his old mate Lindsay Stewart, he started an import company called Divers Supplies Australia Pty Ltd, their product range was Beuchat Jet fins, and on that basis he built an import company with a 2 million dollar turnover by the late 1980s. In 1974, Barry, with a number of friends, started the Ocean Underwater Congress and Film Festivals. Within 4 years the Melbourne Ocean Festival was the biggest and most successful in the world. However, his major love is publishing and together with his partner and special lady Belinda Barnes, he produces four of the finest diver communication publications in the world on a shoestring budget. Belinda's brilliant graphic skills and artistic contribution keeps his business on top. The publications are SPORTDIVING magazine, DIVE LOG a monthly newspaper specializing in diver news worldwide and FREE DIVING AND SPEARFISHlNG.

FIRST FEMALE COURSE DIRECTOR IN AUSTRALIA, NANCY CUMMINS: Sydney. When Nancy Cummins took her first breath underwater, at Terrigal in 1970 on a University of New South Wales Club dive, little could she have imagined the career path that would be set in motion. Women participating in scuba diving were rare in those days and as history has shown, Nancy was to be one of the pioneers in this area. Learning to dive back in 1971 was quite a different experience to that of today. Graduating in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Education Nancy went on to take up a teaching position with the NSW Department of Education. When Nancy earned her PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor rating in 1976, her commitment to the diving industry increased, she also actively participated in every Instructor Training Course (ITC) run under the PADI banner across Australia. Nine months after having her second child in 1981. Nancy was on her way to the United States of America to participate in a PADI Course Director Training Program. Upon graduating, she became the first female PADI Course Director in Australia. This was an achievement she held until l992, when two other Australian women qualified, Beverly Fontes and Jane Bowman. In 1983, Nancy was presented with a special award from PADi International (USA) for her outstanding contribution and service in the development of PADI Australia. PADI International appointed her as a PADI Instructor Examiner in that same year, one of only a dozen examiners worldwide and the second woman only to hold that position at the time. In 1989, she successfully completed a two year Graduate Diploma in Education Leadership Studies. She represents PADI on the Australian Scuba Council (ASC), the National Scuba Qualification Commission (NSQC), Standards Australia, and the Queensland Government Committee on diving safety. It has often been said that women in the diving industry are disadvantaged because diving has traditionally been a male orientated activity. The fact is that if you really want to be involved and successful you simply need to work hard and go for it. Others will respect you for what you know and can do, not for your gender.

PIONEER UNDERWATER FILMMAKERS, WALT and JEAN DEAS: Brisbane. Walt Deas was born in Monifieth, Scotland, and Jean in Dundee. They met in 1953 and were married two years later. By this time, Walt was well and truly into scuba diving and Jean had little choice but to join him in his new sport. Walt Deas is one of the pioneers of sport diving. He was a founding member of the first diving club in Scotland and has had nearly forty years experience as a sport diver. His first scuba tank was a twin oxygen re-breather that he was taught to use by two naval frogmen. Both Jean and Walt arrived in Australia in 1959, decided to stay, and settled in Sydney. During the late sixties and early seventies Walt wrote a number of books, his best known publications are “Beneath Australian Seas” which he co-authored with Sydney diver, Clarrie Lawler, “Underwater Photography” with the help of Dick Rice,   “Seashells of Australia” and “Australian Fishes in Colour”. Walt has been the photographer on three publications relating to the Great Barrier Reef including "Corals of the Great Barrier Reef." Other works of his were published in National Geographic, Habitat, American Skin Diver, Australian Photography, Sportdiving Magazine, and many other journals. Walt and Jean are both internationally known for their award winning photographs.

Walt and Jean Deas.

Walt has won awards in Italy, Japan, Portugal, the USA. England and in Australia. During 1969 he was Australian Photographer of the Year, and was elected to the USA Academy of Underwater Photographers Hall of fame. Jean has also won many photographic awards; in 1975 she was awarded the Sub-aqua Underwater Photographic Award, and has won other prestigious awards in Australia and Japan, Life On Earth" and "The Living Planet" with David Attenborough were another two. In the United Kingdom, it had the highest audience, and “The Fish Are Friendly" when shown the largest audience ever for a natural history film, at just under 14.9 million viewers. Walt and Jean live on the Gold Coast in Southern Queensland where they run a successful motion picture, television and video production company called Seawest Productions Pty Ltd.

AUSTRALIA’S MOST SUCCESSFUL DIVE SHOP AND DIVE CHARTER BOAT OPERATOR, MIKE BALL: Cairns. When young Mike Ball stepped off the boat at Sydney to start a new life in Australia, did he ever dream that one day he would become Australia's most prestigious dive shop and charter boat operator and the owner of the finest dive shop complex in the Southern Hemisphere and possibly the finest in the world. Unhindered by family and job commitments Mike decided that if his ambition was to dive the Great Barrier Reef then he would be better off living closer to it, upon making this decision he tossed in his job, said farewell to his mates and headed for Queensland. In 1977 Mike saw the potential of sport diving in Townsville and opened his own dive shop, in rented premises, called Mike Ball's Dive Shop, and was soon in business and business began to boom. One of his diving students was North Queensland's most successful architect, Bob Clayton. With Mike's enthusiasm and Bob's talents they came up with a totally new and exciting concept, "Mike Ball's Watersports World". With an understanding bank manager and lots of determination and hard work, 252 Walker Street, Townsville transformed into Mike Ball's dream. Mike Ball's Watersports World is Australia's most modern dive complex, but has now had a name change to "Mike Ball's Dive Expeditions", the shop is bright, clean and uncluttered. His growth area is dive travel, and being based in Townsville, "Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef". Mike's ideally located to cater for local as well as international divers. To meet the growing need to transport scuba divers to the Barrier Reef as well as the Coral Sea Reef. Mike Ball's company has invested millions of dollars in a number of super boats, that in lounge room comfort, transport underwater enthusiasts to the best of the Central Great Barrier Reef as well as Cairns and the far northern Great Barrier Reef and New Guinea, also to the number one wreck site in the world, the SS Yongala. Mike Ball's life story is one of success based upon goodwill. service, hard work and knowing what a diver needs in the way of Coral Sea and Barrier Reef dive sites as well as luxurious charter boats. Many years ago when Mike told me he was going to Townsville to open a dive business I said to him that he would go broke. It just goes to show how wrong one can be at times. (Editor). Mike has now moved to Cairns to continue his dive boat charter business.

DIRECTOR PADI AUSTRALIA,TERRY CUMMINS: Sydney. Terry Cummins first attempt at scuba diving was in 1965 when he descended alone into Thompsons Bay, near Sydney's Clovelly Pool, with twin 27cf ex-military cylinders he had purchased at an auction and a home made regulator designed from the early US Divers regulators. In 1970, Terry introduced to the University Underwater Club, the PAD! training program. PADI had only been around for a couple of years in the USA and was introduced into Australia by Godfrey Bathurst. Also during 1973 Terry attended the first PADI Instructor Training Course (lTC) ever run in Australia and became a PADI Instructor.

Terry Cummins.

During this time, he helped others get started in the industry. For example, when Aqua Sports Dive Centre was started in 1971 at Yagoona by Tom Byron, Terry helped the company on its way by doing its first few PADI classes without pay. By the end of the 70s Terry had been granted several awards from PADI International (USA) for his outstanding contribution to PADIs development in Australia and the South Pacific and his interest was starting to turn from school teaching as a major career to diving full-time. While at Pro Dive, Terry visited Lord Howe Island. During one of his many trips to the island Terry dived with Tom Byron to assist with the preparation of the publication of "Scuba Divers Guide to Northern New South Wales." This was an exciting project for Terry since at that stage Lord Howe Island had many sites undived and unnamed. In 1986, Terry together with Dermot O'Flaherty, Steve Sinclair, Hugh Morrison, and Phil Fieldman formed the Australian Scuba Council. When Dermot O'Flaherty, Co-Director of PADI Australia, met his death, Terry assumed the role of Managing Director of PADI Australia and has continued in that role with its responsibilities to this day. More recently, Terry was appointed to the Editorial Board of PADI's prestigious Undersea Journal that's distributed to the PADI membership internationally. In 1992, Terry was nominated by Dive Australia to receive the industries most prestigious award for Scuba Excellence. The award was presented at the 1993 Annual Dive Australia dinner. This award highlights his 25-year career in the dive industry.

AWARD WINNING CINEMATOGRAPHER, RON TAYLOR: Sydney. Ron was interested only in spear fishing, there was little talk of conservation in those days. He joined the St. George Spearfishing Club and commenced competition underwater fishing, winning many club and State Titles. In 1962, Ron won his first Australian Underwater Fishing Title at Currarong on the south coast of New South Wales. The following year, 1963, he took out the same Australian title again, this time it was held at Denmark in Western Australia. In the next two years Ron competed in and won two more Australian Underwater fishing Titles, 1964 at Kangaroo Island, South Australia, and in 1965 at San Remo, Victoria. The only man ever to win four Australian Spearfishing Titles in a row. Then he topped it off by winning the World Individual Title in Tahiti in 1965. His team mates were Wally Gibbons and Peter Kemp. Nineteen sixty nine, saw Ron Taylor retired from competition underwater fishing to form his own company, called Ron Taylor Film Production Pty Ltd. For two years, 1970 to 1971, both Ron and Valerie did the underwater filming and directing for a 39 episode television series called "Barrier Reef". Then in 1972 and 1973 they produced their own television series titled, "Taylor's Inner Space", that was exhibited throughout the world.

Ron Taylor.

During 1974 the Taylor's were credited with filming the live shark sequences for the blockbuster film 'Jaws", since then, Ron's shark films have appeared in several "shark" productions like Wild Wild World of Animals and two feature films called Orca and The Blue Lagoon. January 1991 saw Ron and Valerie Taylor in Antarctica. Ron produced a one hour video film called "In the Footsteps of Mawson." Then in March 1991, another film was made about the Taylor's life in the sea and their work with sharks, this time for National Geographic. In 1992 Ron Taylor was in South Africa testing an electronic shark-repelling barrier device, and became one of a small number of divers to swim with white pointer sharks without a cage. Ron Taylor and his TV films have brought many interesting and educational hours to people who under normal circumstances would never have the opportunity of seeing or learning about the beauty of life beneath the ocean.

DEATH FROM AIR EMBOLISM: Melbourne. A healthy man, aged eighteen years was diving in shallow water 21 feet deep, (7 metres) and at the time undergoing a test in which the aqualung was discarded and a free ascent was made from that depth. He was quite conversant with the use of the apparatus and had made numerous previous dives with the device. Two examiners stationed underwater at a depth of 21 feet (7 metres) observed his actions. On reaching the surface he clung to a buoy, and complained of feeling weak and nauseated, then vomited. Suddenly he had trouble in breathing, accompanied by limb pains and headache. Within minutes of coming to the surface, he was assisted from the water, completely exhausted. There was generalised (blue all over) which rapidly deepened and breathing became irregular and shallow. The patient died 28 hours after the onset of symptoms. An autopsy was performed, and the report states: The air taken into the lungs under pressure at a depth 21 feet (7 metres) expanded as the patient came to the surface, as the external pressure became less. This pressure caused rupture of the alveoli (lung sacks) with entry of air into some radicals (tributaries) of the pulmonary vein, resulting in systematic air embolism, and death.

OXYGEN IN SCUBA UNITS DEATH TRAP FOR DIVERS: Sydney. Many of you know how we feel about the use of oxygen for amateur skindivers. The Association does not think much of it, not that we set ourselves up as experts, but members have read plenty about it. There have been some deaths here in New South Wales, and elsewhere, and we nearly lost another life through the bloody stuff just recently. At the last meeting the trend of the speakers was to say it was safe. So the Association got the man who really knows what he's talking about to give an opinion. Commander Batterham said that the use of oxygen in scuba cylinders is sheer madness for all scuba diver. If people still use the gas they are bigger fools than we would imagine and with a few more deaths in the Association we may be known as a suicide outfit. It's hard enough to keep our fatality down to a minimum without try in contend with those divers using oxygen. Oxygen is a gas that is not suit for scuba diving. It's poisonous at certain depths and should not be used by members of this association under any circumstances. There is enough written about oxygen to inform scuba divers of its dangerous and possible death.

FREE ASCENT FROM 75 FEET: Sydney. Although members of the Underwater Research Group have learnt about the technique of free ascent we still have to overcome the memory of that chap who died doing an ascent. Let us keep his case in mind, but at the same time let us throw overboard our hesitation and (even after the first attempt) gain an overwhelming feeling of confidence. To find out about it I went out with Wally Reynolds and Walter Netting to Watson's Bay where we made our row float fast on the same buoy as the pilot ship Captain Cook. The sphere-like buoy was anchored in exactly 75 feet (22 metres) of water. Wally, an experienced naval diver, showed me how it was done in practice. We both went down to the bottom with our aqualungs where Wally passed me his Porpoise outfit. Still keeping the mouthpiece in his mouth, he undid his lead belt, took one last deep breath, and pushed himself off the bottom. Up he went, his feet comfortably crossed. Looking up, he extended one arm toward the surface so he would not knock his head against the float. On his scent, he expelled surplus air until he arrived at the surface with empty lungs, and this was it. Down we went again. On our way to the bottom I had the idea that it would he better perhaps if I had tried my very first "free ascent" from shallow water instead of 75 feet (22 metres). I had no time to finish my thought when we arrived at the bottom. Wally immediately started to get me out of my rig. The bottles were off my back. I hung on to my mouthpiece, and the lead belt was off too. Holding on to the weight on the end of the shot line, I took a last, deep breath and up I went. I forgot to cross my legs, to look up and extend one arm. My mind was fully occupied with the thought that I should not retain too much air to suffer from ruptured lungs and air embolism. Going up I gently used my flippers until, after ascending 30 feet (10 metres). I suddenly stopped. For a moment I was confused. I could not see any bubbles around me. It flashed through my mind that it was not safe to exceed the speed of the smallest air bubble expelled, which is the recommended rate of 25 feet (8 metres) per minute. There were the bubbles, coming towards me, I kicked off again and continued to the surface leaving a stream of bubbles behind, catching up with and passing other divers who had passed me a few seconds ago. There was the important 33 feet (11 metres) mark on the shot line. I knew that from here on I had to make sure that I properly expelled all the air in my lungs by the time I hit the surface. Well, there I was. The world still looked the same, I sat on the float and could not help feeling very proud of myself. I had arrived at the surface very relaxed and not at all short of wind. The feeling was like a slow and comfortable exhalation on land. There was no gasping for air. Above all, I feel that after this, nothing whatsoever can happen to me. I am immensely confident that from now on I will not have to worry if anything happens to my gear whilst at any depth. On Sunday, April 28, 1957, ten members of the Underwater Research Group of Sydney executed one free ascent each from 75 feet (22 metres) at Watson's Bay under supervision. One of them was Mrs M. Gallaspie who I presume to be the only woman in the world to make a free ascent from 75 feet (22 metres).

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN DIVING PERSONALITIES: Adelaide. Brian Rogers was the first in a trilogy of shark attacks that was to shock the South Australian public over three years. March 12, 1961, Brian was diving off Aldinga when he was attacked by a four metre white pointer. It was the first shark attack in South Australian waters since 1946 and only the fifth since 1836. This was only the start. Young Jeff Corner was to die in a similar attack a year later and, in 1963, Rodney Fox miraculously survived a massive attack. In a remarkable effort of strength and self-preservation, Brian managed to struggle ashore after using his spear gun rubber as a tourniquet on his shredded leg. Three months and 200 stitches later, Brian was back in the sea. Perhaps this typifies the dedication of South Australian divers, or is it simply the attraction of their magnificent diving locations. South Australia has much more to offer than the chance of being bitten by a white pointer. The State offers some of the best diving in Australia. The temperate waters may not be as comfortable as the tropical seas of Queensland but the marine life is just as prolific and the diving more varied. Adelaide divers are fortunate in that they are central to most of the good diving locations. Often, a half-hour drive is required. Shore diving is excellent at the famous Port Noarlunga Reef that’s ideal for all levels of experienced divers. Access is easy, too easy perhaps, for the reef has claimed the lives of eight divers from a total of seventeen in South Australian waters since 1951. South Australia can lay claim to being the training ground for many top Australian divers, but perhaps the "Godfather" of divers in South Australia is the adventurous Dave Burchell whose discovery of HMAS Perth in the Sunda Straits is only one of his many incredible achievements. Losing a leg in a train accident when he was sixteen did not stop Dave being one of the top divers in Australia. He is patron of the Underwater Explorers Club and the Society for Underwater Historical Research, and is author of two best sellers, "One Foot in the Grave," and “Bells of Sunda Strait.” South Australia has many first class divers, too many to name, however, there are a few that are worthwhile mentioning today. Shark victim Rodney Fox has established himself as a top diver in the State. The late Doug Steen, well-known for his film work, as was the late John Mitchell who rose from amateur status to establishing himself with the South Australian Museum. Fisheries expert Scorsby Shephard is another popular professional. Other divers who have established themselves by their dedication and experience are, Wade Hughes (Photographer), Con Penglis (Photographer), Dave Warnes (President of the first Cave Divers Association of Australia), Kim Bray (dedicated supporter of the “Right To Spear” Campaign), Bob Ellis (Aboriginal Relics Unit Chief. supporter of SUHR), Brian Marfleet (popular Police Diver and leader of the very successful SUHR Morgan Project), and Paul Lunn (Adelaide Skindiving Centre). The names of Don Cooper, Igo Oak, Doug Sexton, Greg Faile, Barry Marsland, John Lavers, Volka Zabo, Bob Macdonald, Ken Lang, Wayne Farquhar, Phil Prust, Peter Stace, Terry Drew are often mentioned. When it comes to dedication, little can surpass Chris and Cathy Deane past executives of the Scuba Divers Association of South Australia, and President and Secretary of the National Oceans Society. and Peter Christopher SUHR President and Treasurer of SDASA for their contribution to the diving enjoyment of others to follow in the sport of underwater activities in the southern State of South Australia.

SPEARFISHING BAN IN VICTORIA USING SCUBA EQUIPMENT: Melbourne. The important issue of underwater fishing while using scuba equipment was discussed at the quarterly general meeting. Although the Scuba Divers Federation of Victoria is oriented towards marine conservation, it was generally felt that to lobby for legislation to ban the taking of fish while using scuba equipment was to place a restriction on the general diving population, which is against the principles of the Federation. It was made quite clear that the delegates were strongly opposed to the indiscriminate taking of fish while on scuba, particularly in local waters as well as the open sea. Pope's Eye was mentioned especially, and it was suggested that the proposed Marine Parks legislation would protect this artificial annulus. Delegates suggested that the SDFV take the attitude of discouraging young and old divers from spear fishing in favour of underwater photography, marine biology and observation, rather than to lobby for an outright ban on underwater fishing with scuba tanks. A similar discussion took place on the question of underwater fishing competitions. It is a constitutional necessity that member clubs of the Federation do not engage in competitive underwater fishing, the SDFV has never lobbied for the ban of such an unnecessary and destructive activity. The attitude of the SDFV is one of change through education rather than legislation. It's time however that divers took stock of the situation and realised the destructiveness of indiscriminate underwater fishing and competition. Those who do not want to see the destruction of our oceans may turn, through frustration, to legislation as a preventive method. It would be a pity if it ever came to this, spear fishing with scuba must be banned.

DREAMS DIE WITH DOWNUNDER: Sydney. Well, the much heralded “Downunder 77” has been and gone and although the discussions will go on for sometime yet. "Downunder" must go down as the biggest disappointment in Australia's diving history, disappointing in many ways. Disappointing too many hard working members of the AUF for the very poor turn up of people. Disappointing for the speakers, imagine spending 12 months preparing a paper, then flying half way around the world to present it to an audience of only 25 or fewer people. Disappointing for CMAS who have seen many hundreds of divers attending previous world conferences. Disappointing for the audience who were constantly advised of changes to program, apologies for guests not turning up and supposedly international film festivals with most of the program consisting of films that have been around Australia for years. As editor of Skindiving in Australia Magazine, I (Barry Andrewartha) had been eagerly awaiting “Downunder" for the previous two years, and for me, I met many interesting divers from various parts of the world. For divers attending from capital cities other than Brisbane, it would have been an expensive exercise. From Melbourne by air it would have cost $186, Hotel Accommodation, $189 for 7 nights, Conference Registration Fee, $85; Banquet Night, $20; Meals for 7 days, $65 and miscellaneous cost, $40, a total of $585, and it could have been more if you drank. So, as I said it would have been an expensive congress for someone from other States. Looking back, the AUF made many incredibly amateurish mistakes with the greatest being the ship cruise. The failure of this led to the total lack of knowledge throughout Australia of the opening congress in Brisbane. To go into the rest of the mistakes made in the two years lead up to “Downunder” would take a book, but that's history now. After the total failure of the Man And The Sea Conference in Sydney last year and now the “Downunder” debatable, the AUF must give serious thought before investing their members money in future events such as these. The seriousness of these types of mistakes was brought home to me firmly when speaking to an English visitor to Australia for “Downunder 77”. After attending various conferences in Europe she read with interest of the forthcoming “Downunder 77” Congress. Being a trusting person she took what she read in good faith and invested much hard earned money to attend what turned out to be a rank amateur organised show, that in no way resembled what she had paid to attend. Thinking about it, I agree with her entirely when she said, “It's no comfort to me being told the organiser did his best. I paid a lot of money to attend a show that did not live up to what it had promised”. The ramifications of this are that divers who attend a congress that is a failure will think seriously about attending another diving congress. A mess like this could possibly ruin other shows that follow in Australia for many years to come.

NEW SOUTH WALES UNDERWATER FEDERATION FINANCIALLY BROKE: Sydney. As the festive season, approaches it seems our reason for rejoicing may be somewhat dampened. Again our State Association, and that means us is in great financial difficulties. We are either broke or just square depending at what time the balance is taken. As George Davies tells us in his report, the cause is our hosting of the MAN AND THE SEA Symposium in Sydney which was a flop. The original context of holding this event at the Revesby Workers Club was both sound and attractive. Somewhere along the line, a much more flamboyant approach was adopted and a switch was made to the Chevron Hilton with an entertainment cost of $2000. No doubt a financially successful function at this establishment would have been just as resounding as a financial disaster, but of course, at the opposite end of the scale. A committee of six was elected to organise the event, however, apparently a meeting was never held and the whole of the organising was left in the hands of Neil Dearburg. As George Davies says the whole blame cannot be left with Neil but must be shared by the elected committee. At the August, New South Wales Underwater Federation Committee meeting Mel Brown, our Treasurer, complained strongly about the fact that the State was not being given any feedback information by Neil Dearburg. I supported Mel in his stand on this matter and the committee directed Neil to call and hold a meeting of the committee running the event. Neil has since told me nobody attended this meeting. Those job it was to organise the event must accept responsibility. The fact that a great amount of voluntary and unpaid effort has been expended is no excuse if simple and collective decisions are not made at the appropriate time. The watertight door should have been slammed shut on the Thursday night when it was found that only 40 bookings had been made whereas 400 was the budget figure to run at a profit. In fairness to Neil Dearburg, I don't feel the entire blame should be laid at his feet even though one cynic was heard to say, "If we had asked them to do nothing and had paid their air fares to the Isle of Pines through Theodore Travel Service we would have finished $1,000 in front". The executive no doubt will give the members an undertaking that one man will not be allowed to commit our association at any future date to financial involvement of such magnitude. The whole affair was a shambles from the beginning. I don't think there will ever be another MAN AND THE SEA.

OCEANS 74 UNDERWATER CONGRESS AND FILM FESTIVAL: Melbourne. Coming up this June Queen's Birthday Long Weekend, June  15, 16 and 17th, the Victorian Underwater Federation Technical Division and Skindiving in Australia Magazine will be presenting a unique Expo for Australian skin divers, Oceans 74 Underwater Congress and Film Festival. Organisation for the weekend is being handled by six divers, Peter and Allison Barker, Bob Traynor, Ian Head, Cam Head and Barry Andrewartha. The Organisational was extremely fortunate to be able to obtain the facilities of the Monash University in Monash, Victoria. These facilities are among the finest available in Australia today with a huge lecture hall and theatre at our disposal for three days. The Saturday night will be the highlight of the weekend with 4 hours of underwater film by Australia's leading Underwater Cine photographers. We will be flying into Melbourne, Ben and Eva Cropp, Walt and Jean Deas, John Harding, Tom Byron and Victoria's own Henri Boyce to present for you a night of underwater movies you will never forget. To put a final touch to the weekend we have booked the Alexander Theatre from 4.00 pm till 6.30 pm on the Sunday evening when we will present all the prizes won in the "Nikon Underwater Photographer of the Year Awards.

NEWS ABOUT COMPRESSED AIR: Heron Island. Walt Deas went to the recent divers convention at Heron Island and reported that they had cut the price of a 72 cf fill temporarily. When the convention was over the price shot back to $1.40 for a 2000 psi fill. It never impressed Walt very much, but during his travels further north he discovered that South Molle Island had the hide to charge $1.75 for a fill. From what we can gather this must be the highest rate charged anywhere in the world.

NEW ALUMINUM CYLINDERS: Melbourne. Recently, Australian Divers (Spiro) of Melbourne released new U.S. Divers aluminium cylinders for the first time in Australia. Rod Dixon, sales manager for the company, was excited as he showed the cylinders to the trade and predicted they would supersede all steel tanks in Australia.

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Copyright: Tom Byron. The Chronicle of Scuba Diving in Australia The First 70 Years - 1950 to 2019.