Sunday, 31 January 2016

USFA Meetings memoir

A memory. Railway House (Sydney)- hired for USFA general meetings and film shows in 1960s. Admission was five bob (about $5 today) and included the best hot milk coffee - which was worth the price of admission by itself. RON TAYLOR screened his 16mm black and white work print of "The Shark Hunters" some weeks before it was shown on Sydney's Channel 9 (and repeated a week later). Movie popularity was helped by the Grey nurse sharks being regarded - in that era - being equal to White pointers (of the 1970s). 

BEN CROPP was the celebrity - a buzz went through the auditorium (about 250-350 in attendance). Ben had been to Europe, competed in a world championship (Spain?) and taught a bit of diving. This was 1961. Few people got out of Australia then - those who did stayed away for a while, usually traveling by boat to the UK. Airline travel was for aspiring millionaires. All the young guys were in awe of Ben.He's speared heaps of big fish around Tweed Heads and won an Australian championship. 

BTW Anyone know the whereabouts of Graham 'Tex' Moreton? Tex was a Steve McQueen look-a-like in The Dolphins (club) - Tex wound us up with his enthusiasm for adventure.


 TV documentary from 2007

SHARK FOOTAGE by Ron Taylor 1960s

Ben  Cropp and Ron's 1961 search for a shark defense tested poison-tipped spear injections.
as featured in the award winning  "The Shark Hunters" TV special  (video not available here).
Taylor's friend Kay Milburn with Val's pet crayfish
Ron Taylor designed and built all his movie camera housings
Early shark filming featured a docile Leopard shark at Cook Island, Tweed Heads NSW.

 Mrs Kay Fox in  the 1964 newsreel.

Taylor and Fox discussing a scene for their joint venture documentary.

Severe shark bite on diver Rodney Fox - pictured December 1963. © John Harding

Ron Taylor's 16mm film material was expanded into a 30-minute documentary for TV and before this roadshow film shows. In the 1960s the media perception and 'handling' of shark bite news was dramatised to the extreme. "One of the most horrible ways to die that could ever be imagined".

TV producer Robert Raymond spotted the potential, paid one thousand pounds - or about $20,000 today and added Taylor's footage into a new one hour PROJECT '66 special (which was then the highest-rating weekly Australian documentary show on NINE).  SHARK! won a Logie for Robert Raymond and the Taylor's were his new best friends (for life).

 Revenge of a Shark Victim (movie program pages)

Project 67 Shark documentary for the Nine Network won a Logie with stock footage by Ron Taylor.

Robert Raymond founder of 4Corners on ABC TV 

Barb-less spear (killer spear) pulled free easily if required.

Friday, 29 January 2016

AUSTRALIAN TITLES 1965 (stills and 5 minute VIDEO)

Ron Taylor, Peter Kemp before event.


Ron Taylor speared this coral trout

Ron Taylor with new boat and new outboard

John Gillies handing out USFA jackets

John Gillies makes a speech

Maroochdore, Queensland was the venue for 1965 -1966 Australian Championship.  Australian champion Ron Taylor (also the current CMAS World Champion) was defeated by Peter Kemp.  Taylor's error was, he said  "not spearing a common Red Morwong early in the competition". (Ron felt there was no great hurry  he'd 'pick one up' later.  This was not going to be possible.  None were to be seen later in the day - then it was too late).

Peter Kemp

 Laurie Ledwell

John Black (Sans Souci Dolphins)

Val Taylor accepting a USFA jacket

VIDEO runs 5 minutes

TAHITI 1965, CUBA 1967 (Results) CMAS World Titles

RON TAYLOR Press conference Sydney International Airport

Andris Lidums had a very successful international art gallery in Adelaide which is today operated by his son Andris Lidums Jr.

From 1960 Andris and his Latvian-Australian spearfishing mates "fished the Yorke Peninsula area despite that region being hazardous with whaler sharks", said friend Brian Rodger in 2016 (a spearfishing champion himself).

Above tabloid report explains in simple terms how Andris Lidums was technically able to choose blue colored sports jackets for the team - (as opposed to green and gold sport colors later made official by the Governor-General in 1984).

Peter Kemp in December 1963
 Vic Ley in 1963
Ron in 1965 - Montague Island  NSW
World Champion trophy is in bronze, depicting a famous sculpture "Winged Victory".  Ron Taylor AM in 2005 with the original spear gun he used for decades.  Ron defended his world title in Cuba - reached 22nd place, behind companions Black and Ley who were 20th and 17th.

Moorea TAHITI 1st to 7th Sep. 1965

TEAM Wal Gibbins, Peter Kemp and Ron Taylor
TEAM MANAGER Andris Lidums
      RESULTS     Ron Taylor         1st
Peter Kemp 8th
Australian Team 2nd

Caya Avalos CUBA 3rd to 10th Sep 1967
TEAM John Black, Vic ley and Ron Taylor
TEAM MANAGER         Andris Lidums

RESULTS: Vic Ley 17th
John Black 20th
Ron Taylor 22nd
 Australian Team  6th

John Black at Mallacoota Victoria, a pro abalone diver (pictured in 1995) reached 20th place in Cuba.

Ron Taylor in Tahiti 1965

Sunday Telegraph

Three selected for Tahiti in 1965

Wally Gibbins - went to Tahiti in '65
Peter Kemp - Tahiti 1965

Vic Ley shared the Australian title jointly with John Black.  Vic Ley did best of the three Australians competing in Cuba reaching 17th place.  French-Tahitian Jean Tapu top scored in Cuba.

Vic 'Snowy' Ley (above and below) - participated with Ron Taylor at Cuba in '67

The world federation for diving, based in Europe.

John Black in 1965 .  Vic Ley in centre background - also selected for Cuba 1967.

Cuba 1967 PART ONE - Ron Taylor Productions   15 minutes

CUBA PART TWO  (2 minutes)