Fred Nann – some SSD spear fishing history

Taken in 1962 at Rottnest Island WA. Fred Nann is wearing his first wetsuit made by Torpedo and a brandishing a homemade gun by Bernie Harbour. The gun was used for over 15 years. Thanks to Fred’s daughter Vicki Nann for the photo

Fred was the original founding member for the Dolphins it’s first president and first Life member. He later moved to WA in his late 20’s, where he did a record freedive at the time recorded at 110ft, he was also charged with having a powerhead over there in the early 60’s.
When you are having a quite beer or coffee have a read of it, 11 pages of good times. Amazing how had core these boys all were in the 50’s and early 60’s. We got nothin’ on them really, we are spoilt.

Born in Sydney at St. George Hospital Kogarah on the 12/9/1935, one of four children of Frederick Robert and Dorothy La Vere Nann. Resided at Walter Street and then Darley Street Sans Souci until 1959.

Special thanks, picture provided by Fred’s daughter Vicki Nann.

Sport mad played tennis at Kogarah High School played against Ken Rosewall. Tennis mates were Bill Mathes and Hayes Petersen, dropped tennis and discovered shooting. Shot a 410 shotgun with John Bolton at Rabbits Wallabies and Foxes. Did this for a few years and then started swimming a St. George League of swimmers with Neville Green, Ken Freckleton. Became an average swimmer because of poor flotation and was medley champion despite not being able to Breast Stroke properly.

Started skindiving in 1950 after meeting Brian McKenna, Graham Oliver and John Carrol at South Cronulla near Shelley Beach, nearly drowned when first trying on a mask & snorkel, stuck my head under completely and took a large amount of water down the submerged snorkel, however that first look underwater was enough to hook me for life. A sports store in Ramsgate had two spearguns in the window and Ken Freckleton bought a carbine. I don’t remember ever seeing a fish shot with this gun, we lay on the edge of a gutter at Potato Point looking down into 15 feet of water, we would roll into this shark infested water, swim down a few feet and discharge the spear at Cockies laying on the bottom motionless and then got out before the sharks turned up. I don’t think we speared any at all.

At 17 I purchased a motorcycle a 1951 Matchless 500cc OHV bike capable of top speed of 70 mph. This bike allowed Ken and I to discover Boat Harbour and Merries Reef. Travelling through a road hacked out of the bush, with Ken as pillion passenger, staked tyres often occurred. After purchasing a Bazooka speargun I speared my first fish in about 5 feet of water a head on shot that killed the bream instantly emerging near the anal fin. It weighed in at 3 pounds 3 ounces, talk about a jag. As we progressed in ability we managed to spear a few Morwong and Black Drummer and started to swim in areas considered too deep before.

We had a squatters shack for a while, probably about one year and we frequently went to the shack even when the weather was bad.

I was then going steady with Julie and Ken (her Brother) would go out to Boat Harbour with me. We were still swimming competitions at Sans Souci so diving was secondary at that time.

In the meantime across the opposite point John Black and Brian Little were spearfishing at Bundeena (Jibbon Point) and were successful in spearing Blue Groper. John was a very good swimmer at the club and was Junior Champion at the time and adapted readily to the new water sport.

It was suggested that Ken Medlin and I join John and Co at Bundeena, this happened and Ken and John each speared 26lb. and 28lb. groper that day. In the meantime National Service called and I found myself in the Artillery at New Holdsworthy Camp at Liverpool.

Rex Osgood was in the next bed and discussion was frequently held on girls and spearfishing for hours. Rex was a powerful man, stockily built and when John and I approached him and stated that we were forming a club and wanted him to join up with us, he enthusiastically agreed. Quite a few swimming club members joined the spear fishing fraternity and their friends also attended Sunday meetings at the grass patch on Jibbon Point. Members at that time included the Saville Brothers, Bill Richmond, Ron Weller, Steve ……., Charlie Harbour, John Searson, Rex Osgood, John Black, Brian Little, Vic Thistlewaite, Rob Murphy, Ken Medlin, Graeme Armond.

Our club meetings at that time were held at the Savilles house as they had a large room beneath their house which was ideal and didn’t cost at all. One evening our club was visited by Dick Charles, Bill Lewis and Don Atkinson from the St. George Club and representing the USFA, they extolled the benefits of being in the USFA and thought we might like to join the St. George Club. This went down like a lead balloon with some members wanting to join the USFA and some against. A vote was held at a later meet and decided to join up, this caused a split within the club and we moved to the School of Arts building at Kogarah with half of the members.

Bill Lewis and Don Atkinson from St. George Club were both experienced divers and when they attended a day out at Jibbon impressed us by coming back after a swim with their floats full of Morwong and other species.

We then started to compete in the Alliman Shield very novice and disorganised but keen and learned fast. Rex made a rowfloat, a catamaran, twin pontoons and fish box with oars and a 3 HP motor. Ellis Hill joined the club buying a boat from Bill Lewis and Tony Bowden (a junior) used his dad’s boat. Tony and John Locke, Fred Ledwell and John McKeag joined as a group as did Brian Raison, Bob Chartros, Gordon Beaver, Allan Brandstater and Stewie Ross. Four or Five boats at an Alliman for the club was considered a good turn up. Venues like Cronulla, Oak Park, Dobroyd Point, Bilgola, Kurnell, La Perouse, Long Reef and Wattamolla were popular at the time.

Events held after the diving competition were Flipper Races, Sack Races, Volley Ball and a Barbecue afterwards. The club held their annual Christmas Holidays at Lake Burrill and after a few years there we were able to camp free, as the fish we speared during the day would be distributed around the park sometime swapping for Baked Beans or Sphaghetti.

………………………..really enjoyed the fish feast.

During one trip with Alan Brandstater (who had a Standard Vanguard) down to Pretty Beach Alan steered the car into a gate post down the left side of the car. When asked why he said I didn’t think we would fit with the guns sticking out on the right side so I hit the post. Fortunately the car was still mobile except for him having to engage a gear under the car and chug off until speed was reached.

When we first competed in Alliman Shields boats were scarce, most of the club swam off the rocks and when boats arrived they were generally 3 horsepower or less motors such as Victa, British Anzant, Seagull and I remember Bill Lewis getting a 6 horse Johnson and thinking wow just watch us go. However the round bilge and five divers soon took care of the extra horsepower and we watched the 3 horse brigade keep up.

Due to the lack of boats one of our ploys was to hire a 16 foot Chapman Pup powered boat from Gunnamatta Bay Boat Hire. This boat was not allowed out past the entrance of Port Hacking however this didn’t stop us from heading past Jibbon and down to Wattamolla. This boat could carry around 10 people and gear however we frequently exceeded this amount. On one trip to Jibbon Point and at the end of the days dive the club divided into two groups, one group to take the Bundeena Ferry and one group of about 12 divers and girlfriends to go back in the hire boat (which saved a long walk along Jibbon Beach). Upon setting out from Jibbon Beach a large school of Dolphins was seen to be rounding the point. We thought it would be a good idea to visit our namesakes.

When a hundred metres from the pod and heading toward it the whole pod burst from the water and headed toward us travelling at maximum speed. There would have been 250 to 300 Dolphins in a tight bunched group and we thought we would be wearing one or two in the boat. They Avoided us (just) water splashed over the boats occupants and then they were gone, heading in to Jibbon Beach in shallow water, then turning and heading in to Port Hacking at maximum speed.

In the meantime we were put putting our way north all excited about the Dolphins when right beside the boat a large fin travelling at speed surfaced followed by a large black and white back. A comment was made (get the size of that XXXX Dolphin). Suddenly we were in the midst of a killing ground where a pod of Killer Whales had surrounded perhaps 50 or so Dolphins and were decimating them one by one.

The speed of the killers was amazing and time and time again they would broach with a Dolphin in their jaws, at times they would leap out of the water full length taking a Dolphin on the surface. When we finally woke up to what was happening we turned and putted back the way we had come absolutely gob smacked at what we had seen and only later realising that Ellis Hill had a camera that he never used. Had the boat tipped over the killers would have had a selection of 12 divers and girlfriends to eat.

The hire launch was powered with a Chapman Pup engine and started with a leather strap around the flywheel and depending on which way you wound the strap governed the direction you would travel.

One rough day out the front of Jibbon, south of the weekender we stopped briefly to check out the area. I dived close to the rocks and was amazed to see a big blue groper and called the boat toward me. The motor wouldn’t start and so I swam toward the stern of the boat just as it started. The boat came backward as the motor started in reverse and I just avoided the spinning propeller as the boys tried to stop the runaway boat. Fortunately the boat was stopped short of the rocks just in time. We were very happy with our escape and never had this problem again of starting in reverse.

Interclub competitions were looked forward to competing against clubs such as North Shore Sea Hawks, White Water Wanderers and St. George.

In a competition at Bilgola Beach we put the boat in and were swamped 3 times in a row before we could get past the break after which we cleaned up North Shore. My score alone beat their whole clubs score.

The competition scene took us to Port Stephens, Toowoon Bay (for the Canada Cup), Port Macquarie, Bundaberg, Tallebudgera and many other places and I felt that the extra incentive to compete improved our diving no end.

I was fortunate to win the first year we competed but as others improved people such as Rex Osgood and John Black as well as Brian Raison I was soon relegated to second or third in the comps.

At Christmas 1958 I went to the Australian Championships at Tallebudgera and bummed a ride with Bill Lewis of St. George Club. We went to Cook Island , Fido and the Fourteen Mile Reefs. As we went out I noticed a bommie that came out of nowhere and after a days diving and heading back to shore I said to Bill There’s a bommie here somewhere. Suddenly a big wave loomed up behind us, we were right on top of it.

The boat had a 6 HP motor and couldn’t outrun the wave so down the face of this wave we went. The reef in front of us was bare and all thought we are in for it now. Bill virtually had no steerage and as we went down the face of the wave the reef filled in front of us. We went right over the reef, didn’t touch a thing as it spat us out past the break we couldn’t believe our luck.

Diving on Cook Island on some cod caves, I had looked in a couple of holes and was ascending to get a breath but looking down I saw a cod stick his head out of a different hole so I kept my eyes on this hole when crash I ran into the outboard motor skeg. I swam away from the boat holding my head and peering through a curtain of brown tinged water when a large black whaler turned up looking interested. I told him to bugger off as I was in enough strife without him to contend with. After getting in to the boat which had rowed away (thinking he had somehow hit the reef) I pulled off my rubber helmet and blood poured down my face. I had cut the top of my head dead centre (silly bugger).

We didn’t compete in the championships as it was blowing a gale at start time. This didn’t deter the Queensland divers who paddled out from Queenscliff on surf skis to the outer reefs and cleaned up. The WA divers swam from the beach and returned at weigh in exhausted and some had to be assisted from the water with their small bag of fish.

Bob Webb won the title that day and our admiration for his gutsy effort in those extreme conditions.

We often dived at Long Reef entering the water and exiting through a medium shore break. A new diver Harry Smith attended and was instructed to get ready and when the break allowed, dive in and swim like heck to avoid the next wave. We cleaned our masks, put them on and lined up and said go swimming like hell to get out the back. Looking back there was Harry still waiting on the shore rocks. He picked a large wave and dived in as it broke, the wave picked him up and deposited him onto his back on the rocks and as he was bareskin lacerated his back beautifully on the castle barnacles. I doubt that he got his feet wet. We took him straight to a doctor where he had his wounds treated. Harry was never a competent diver! He could bullshit though that he was.

One of our favourite dive spots in the 50’s was Tumble Down, a kilometre south of Jibbon where entry into the small Bay was fairly easy. This spot had a gutter that we would drop into and it often had Groper in it that we would spear. I recall John McKeog clambering out the water on the south side of the bay with a large blue groper. He just happened to climb out at the feet of an unhappy angler who ordered him off his rock to swim back the way he had come or die. John couldn’t work out why he was upset. I think it was because they had to tortuously climb down the cliff on a rope with all this gear.

In my earlier efforts to get water transport I decided to get 2 surfboards, connect them with a timber deck and paddle out to Shark Island at Cronulla. I purchased two 16 foot long plywood boards, John Black made the deck and fastened the deck to the boards. This made a good diving platform and we used it around Shark Island successfully. Unfortunately the craft was destroyed when Bill Richmond and I used it to surf the break at Shark Island, we hopped onto a large wave, the craft dug the nose in, hit the bottom and instantly turned into matchwood. We swam ashore pushing what was left of the catamaran with silly grins on our faces. Whoops!

One of our earlier favourite spots was Bundeena at the weekends which had been a cave that had been modified with walls made from stone blocks and out the front had a ledge which allowed access into relatively deep water. One day after we had swam most of the morning the south-easterly kicked in producing large swells, two club members who were not experienced decided to have a further dive out the front. They entered the water OK but after three quarters of an hour decided to come back onto the ledge. The surge by now was large and ignoring advice to land further north tried to clamber up the face of the ledge, became stranded, the next wave sucked back and took both of them under. We who watched onshore thought they were gone as they didn’t surface for 30 seconds or so and when they did it was 20 metres out. They were both distressed, floating on their backs. Len Saville put on flippers and went to their aid. We then formed a chain and when they next tried to exit grabbed them before the surge could take them back out. It was a good lesson and we didn’t repeat that mistake again.

Masks, Flippers, Lead Belts, Snorkels, Cars, Guns.

The first commercial mask that I owned was an Undersee Rubber Mask triangular in shape, without nose equaliser. This mask was not a good fit, it leaked as it didn’t fit the face and the rubber was not that flexible. It wasn’t until the early sixties that masks changed from locally produced masks to Italian and Spanish designed models. My favourite mask was a low volume compensator mask from Spain that sealed beautifully on the face but squashed the nose a little, having a big nose didn’t help. The masks were from Mares and were the best until silicon masks became popular.

Fins (flippers) were also from Undersee and we went from fairly small flippers to super blue, these had a small heel strap and were non-adjustable, later on the produced super browns made of gum rubber and were ver good until giants came on the scene with heels and adjustment.

Lead Belts were usually army webbing belts with the normal clasp type catch. These were supposedly dangerous but we didn’t have any dramas with them.

Snorkels were varied; some were at least 400mm long with a cup and ping pong ball on the end, supposedly to stop the water from entering the snorkel and entering our lungs. These lasted about five minutes and large bore 25mm X 300mm long snorkels were commonly used.

Cars came onto the scene gradually as more and more members came of ageand cars such as 1938 chevs, Bul….., Vanguards, Rovers, Renaults, Fargo and then FJ Holdens came on the scene.

Guns changed from Shoulder guns to Pistol grip ….. handspears being the weapon of choice for a while ………………… Then pranger heads came on the scene ……….
And overnight most competitors changed to this more efficient method of taking small fish.

Alan Brandstater claims to have been the first diver to start using a multiprong head on a spear gun shaft, he claims he introduced it to Ted Louis of St. George club and Ted was credited with the invention.

We often swam with a sugar bag tucked into our belt and transferred our speared fish into the bag, getting spiked every now and then through the bag and into the thigh. When the bag had too much weight in it we would transfer the catch to the boat. Don’t ask me why we didn’t pull a float, maybe we didn’t think of it.

When we did spear a groper we landed the fish straight away when we swam off the rocks or we’d take it back to the boat. Generally we had a boatman who would assist in taking the fish into the boat and throw the gun back to us in the water.

When we used the handspear on pelagic fish such as Bonito we would tie a cord onto the rubber sling and loop the cord around the wrist, when a Bonito was hit we would swim down with the impaled fish and ram it into the bottom otherwise it would vibrate itself loose. You would lose it every time if you didn’t hit it really hard.

I remember swimming Long Reef in really dirty water and John Black telling me how he shot Tang by laying on the bottom looking up and shooting the fish silhouetted against the light. John was a thinking diver and his results in NSW and Australian titles proved it.

Jumpers, Rubber Wrap – Around, Caps, Bare Skin

Cold water and its effects were partially solved in the early days with jumpers on top, jumpers upside down with legs through the arms then wearing a rubber wraparound clipped at the back called a Sealskin. Diving bare skin was limited to about 1 hour maximum before the hypothermic effects started to take over. The jumper/rubber jacket combination extended that time to two hours before the shakes started. A bathing cap was worn to keep the head warm and headaches were a problem in cold water.

We often swam in Alliman’s bare skin in the winter where the water temperature was warmer than outside, we would get out of an army greatcoat and slip into the water for an hour or less swim, then climb out trembling with teeth chattering into the waiting greatcoat. It took a great deal of dedication to leave that warmth and get in the cold water.

Before boats were purchased we swam off the rocks and at Kurnell we would walk around the rocks south of the Botany Bay entrance. A group of Dolphins decided to enter the water and we were standing on the edge cleaning masks and generally mucking about when 25 metres out a dog (dead) drifted by. We were commenting about it when a very large shark grabbed the dog, lashed the surface and vanished. We instantly decided this area was not a good dive spot so we walked another 100 metres to another spot without dogs or sharks and dived the rest of the day without shark company.

ADENDUM

Before wetsuits became the normal underwater dress we either swam bareskin or used jumpers, two or three was normal with one jumper pulled on over our legs and up to our waist, a sealskin rubber sheet was pulled around the jumpers and clipped front and back.

These extended our diving time in the water and were used until the beginning of the 60’s.

One bright idea that comes to mind was to get hypnotised into resisting the cold with auto suggestion. We, Johnny Black, myself and others I can’t remember were hypnotised. I was easily put under and regressed back to four years old talking in a young voice and doing silly stuff. Anyway we didn’t get any benefit from it so we went back to freezing and complaining about the cold.

We also used bathing caps to keep our head warm and later on used a rubber helmet from Undersee which was better again.

AQUALUNGS

Mick Simmons sports store in Sydney had in the window a new aqua lung called a Porpoise.

It cost 72 pounds which was a lot of money in 1955 so I put it on lay by which meant that I paid it off before taking it home.

After 12 months paying off the lung I took it home after making sure it was full of air and went out to Boat Harbour. With no instruction at all I jumped into about 15 feet of water and swam out on the bottom to about 30 feet. I noticed that a current was running and swam into it for about 10 minutes. I became puffed out to such an extent that I had to lay on the bottom until my breathing became normal. I really didn’t know how dangerous it could have become had I panicked and hit out for the surface.

I was so inexperienced that after walking out to Boat Harbour carrying all my diving gear plus lung I checked the air in the cylinder and to my horror vapour came out. I let all the air go believing that the air was no good. I continued using it for months until I realised that after one hour I was out of air and the day was not over. I threw the lung into a corner where it lay not being used until Rex Osgood borrowed it and never returned it. I didn’t care, it was a bloody nuisance having to get it filled from Barnes compressor in North Sydney and I was snorkelling pretty good by then anyway.

I did find it worth wile once at Sans Souci Baths. A club member (swimming club) dived off the walkway into the water and skinned his stomach. As the water was very murky he couldn’t tell what he hit. I found that vandals had speared planks into the bottom mud where they stuck up like snaggle teeth. We pulled out probably 10 or so of these. How more people didn’t hit them I’ll never know.

ABALONE

When working at W.D. & H. O. Wills Tobacco Company at Matraville I spoke to a Chinese bloke called See Fong. We discussed sea food and he said do we get Bahngee when we dive. He described what sounded like mutton fish or as the yanks called them Abalone and suggested that I get some to take to the restaurants in Dixon Street Sydney.

I did that by swimming off Shelley Beach where the Black – lipped Abalone were thick gathering about 25 or so for samples.

He came back and said yes he would take about 50 at a time, so I delivered 50 for one pound. Marvellous! This order was one off as I’d flooded the market. Like a dope I didn’t explore further markets in Sydney which could have started a career in Ab diving in 1957 before the Ab boom.

SHARKS – WOBBIES,PORT JACKSONS, WHALERS, BLUE SHARKS, WHITES.

When I started diving I was always scared of sharks. There wasn’t a great deal of diver articles about how sharks react to a diver so it was a little unknown. We saw plenty of Port Jackson’s and Wobbegong Sharks and I didn’t see my first big whaler until I’d been diving for four years. It was at Byron Bay. I went out to some reefs about one kilometre off the beach in a surf boat to spear morwong.

A whaler of some 2 1/2 metres turned up and I couldn’t help thinking how graceful it was.

The Byron Bay boys were spearing Mowies with a length of reinforcement rod 6 mm thick and 4 metres long with no rubber sling. They would plonk the rod through the fish and then shake it down the spear until it was up against his hand and then continue on (different).

I speared a groper down at Mollymook which then went into a cave. I hit the top to get some air when a Wobby grabbed the fish. I don’t know what it thought it was going to do with it as it was too big to swallow. Anyway we had a tug-of-war in a cave, I eventually won and the Wobby ended up with a mouth full of scales only.

We had a scare at Bawley Point when diving for lobsters, we had found this reef which was loaded with them, they were in kelp and when threatened would scuttle back into clefts in the rock where we could pick them up two or three at a time. A group of us, 6 or 7, were picking them up and placing them in a kit bag when out of the drop off swam this 5 metre massive Blue Shark. Not one of us had a gun and we clustered around the bag of lobsters with them making all sorts of clicking noises, staring at this bloody great shark. Eventually the penny dropped that we had better get the hell out of there. The entry into the water was around the point away from the break, about a 300 metre swim, so we elected to head straight into the large break as a group. Amazingly we came through without being pounded. It wasn’t a pointer but was a very large blue shark.

SPEARGUNS

Shoulder guns were our weapons of choice and varied in design and power. The carpenters in the club made fancy guns, laminating timber then carving carbine like guns looking like fine furniture.

Some guns were double rubber powered and were equipped with 5/16 inch spears. I added another two rubbers to the carbine by putting an angle bracket to the underside of the gun. However when discharged the rubbers and cord would tangle into a knot of amazing complexity. I lost quite a few rubbers before I woke up that it wouldn’t work.

When the club was young and ever dive was into the unknown we would load our guns before entering the water and be ready to combat the shark menace waiting for us. This habit had some lighter moments and at Shellharbour entering the water with the gun loaded and over the shoulder a gun discharged, the spear snapped the cord like string and then vanished toward the car park. When the spears owner (not me) went to retrieve it, it was sticking in the ground next to a car.

This habit of loading guns out of the water stayed with us until boats came on the scene.

Bobby Croft was a young diver from Ramsgate who dived with his mates but didn’t join a club. He was a swimming competitor of mine. Bob and his mates were at Boat Harbour when a gun discharged and Bob was speared in the face, the spear entered his mouth smashing his lower teeth and entering his brain. He was taken to St. George Hospital where the spear was unscrewed from the head which stayed embedded in his brain. Bob died after 5 days in a coma. Supposedly the gun was a bazooka ……………….. rubber loaded and was loading the second …………………………..
DIVE SPOTS

Currarong, Bushrangers Bay, Kiama, Bundeena, Wattamolla, Boat Harbour, Kurnell, Maroubra, The Murk (Bondi),Bilgola, Long Reef, Sussex Inlet, Blue Current, Bermagui, Broughton Island.

I think that one of the scariest dive spots that I had dived at in NSW was at Point Perpendicular, Jervis Bay.

John Black & crew plus myself had gone from Sussex Inlet to the Point where the water is approx. 140 Feet deep. Beneath the cliffs the rubble from the collapsed cliff face formed a ledge 30 feet down then plummeted sheer to the bottom. Large Snapper fed on the ledge and keeping a 30 foot distance keep going down until pursuit was stopped then as you ascended they also moved up to the ledge. The drop was so sheer that divers would come up on the inside of his partner so he wouldn’t be hanging over the edge. We also were advised to watch out for Saucer Eyes, a huge White Pointer that inhabited this area. We didn’t spear any Snapper that day as they were too good for us; it was too damn deep for me.

CLUB COMPS., RECORD FISH (CLUB), CAMPS AWAY, TENTS.

Our monthly activities after we decided to cease swimming club events, were a club dive away every fortnight and an Alliman Shield event each month.

This didn’t sit too well with the Ladies who protested that Freddy Nann was taking the boys diving when they should’ve stayed home with them. I wasn’t that popular at that time. I in turn didn’t give a stuff as diving and the club was where my interest lay.

We would have a committee meeting once a month and a delegates to the USFA meeting once a month, so my night activities with the club and Judo at the YMCA didn’t leave a lot of free time.

Club records of the largest specie of all types of fish were enthusiastically competed for and these records were administered by Rex Osgood. Bill Richmond was club secretary and did a remarkable job entering the club activities. I was club president and library owner as well as photographer. I would take the photos, enlarge and develop the photos and donate the money to the clubs coffers. The library books were from my collection and included “Silent World, “Men & Sharks”, “The Blue Continent”, “Hunting Big Fish” and many others.

At the USFA meetings were notables such as Bill Lewis, Pop Forrester (President), Don Clare (Sports Secretary). Ron Taylor, Bob Taylor, Ted Louis, Baz Turner, Harry Smith, Jack Evans & myself who decided policy for the USFA. Jack Evans was editor of the Skindiving Magazine and contributors were Ed. Du Cros, Harry Smith, Noel Monkman, Ben Cropp, Ron Taylor, to name a few.

INTERCLUB RIVALRY – ST. GEORGE,WHITE WATER WANDERERS, CANTERBURY BANKSTOWN, NORTH SHORE SEA HAWKS.

In the 50’s clubs like St. George were very strong having divers like Ron Taylor, Wally Gibbins, Dave Rowlins and Bill Lewis, who took a lot of beating in the Alliman Shield competitions.

White Water Wanderers had some excellent divers in Norm Smith, Arthur Taylor, Harry Dowsell and were always competitive.

Swimming the murj at Maroubra was different as the clear water and the murk were separated by a divided line, you could stay in the clear, dive down and shoot bream and niggers in a cave without getting in the crappy water.

Out from the murk outfall the bottom of the coastline was covered with paper that was fragmented and when a wave came through would billow up from the nooks and crannies like explosions from underneath. No fish were present and it showed what out of sight out of mind sewage disposal did to the ocean floor.

I remember a trip to Toowoon Bay one year where the St. George divers had a field day shooting Mulloway at Norah Head. We decided to take ourselves up there and clean up big time.

We left after Bill Lewis who was towing his home made moulded ply boat behind his new Austin Cambridge. About half way to Norah we noticed they had been involved in some sort of accident.

The boat trailer had jumped off the ball hitch and careered down the road until it veered off where it was speared by the stubs of just cut trees punching five 100mm holes in the front of the boat.

The boat also contained two very shaken divers who were riding in the boat, but were not hurt. Ellis Hill later purchased the repaired boat from Bill and it provided good service to the club.