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Friday, 24 April 2020

1960s FILM


Bob Taylor 
Sydney Sea Hunters

Southern Queensland (under construction) Dive n Surf (1960s)

Flinders Reef fish collection.
Peter Kemp and Rodney Fox at Cape Moreton Qld..

Ron Taylor's boat with Rodney Fox up front.

Robert Conneeley - Double Island Point. 'Surf Scene'.  (photo John Harding)

Seal Rocks visitors from Newcastle area(1965)

Tanya poses with Rodney's shark and got front page on a Sydney newspaper 'Girl Fights Shark'.
Shark bite film maker-diver, Henri Bource joined the team at Point Lookout while making his Savage Shadows documentary feature.

Henri poses with Rodney's big whaler shark (Bull shark).
Henri met with another shark bite surviver, young Raymond Short who was included in the Savage Shadows film.
Keen for sponsorship by anyone, I first approached the Coca Cola company who published a magazine featuring 'celebrities' having a Coke.  I'm unsure if this picture was ever published.  I kept this B&W copy just in case.

Surf Scene had introduced diver John C. Fairfax to the waters of Point Lookout, Qld.  During his visit with us in 1966 he had this encounter with a Giant Groper underwater at Shag Rock, Point Lookout.

Returning to Point Lookout regularly we were on a mission sponsored by NHK (Japanese TV) for shark footage. Returning live baby sharks to the sea was unheard of (socially) at the time. This inadvertently became the first published account to save sharks when PIX magazine ran three pages.

16mm film frame from the joint venture with NHK (Japan)

Aquarius was completed in 1970 and shown in theatres with a live narration and pop music.  Many of the best scenes came from Point Lookout and our encounters with marine life, including saving young sharks from their dead mother. Page 3 Fathom #1

Old chart shows the rocks around North Stradbroke which attracts giant groper and sharks.
At Point Lookout we made friends with local fishermen Bill Lawler and Les Nash by telling them we'd sighted a big school of Spanish Mackerel at Flinders Reef.  This was 1964 when fishermen along the coast were largely  all suspicious of free divers scaring fish away. A long term friendship began between us and the local fishermen.

1968 at the Point Lookout pub where outstanding fish were weighed and photographed.  The small Black marlin weighed 68 pounds.  A rare catch for a free diving fisherman like Trev Collins.


SNAPPER (under construction)

Snapper speared at Split Solitary Island, Coffs Harbour NSW. Capture was recorded on Super 8 film appeared in Sea Safari video.

Vic Sumner (front), and Geoff Bull

                                 Vic Sumner (Cover shot, above)

Len McLeod (Sydney Sea Hunters) State Championships Currarong about 1962

            Ron Taylor, scuba speared at Cook Island NSW (1964) 
    Swapped for Chinese dinner for six, cooked three methods plus rice. 

                 Australian spear record in 1963 (Photo by Geoff Bull)

                                    Young snapper in aquarium

Sunday, 12 April 2020

TAYLOR - CROPP 1960 -1963

1963 - North West Island, Qld.
Dynamic partnership in the early 1960s  might have become internationally huge. Photography opened the window for promotion of the underwater world in Australia.  Plus publishing (Handbook for Skindivers), Scuba training (Mick Simmons sports store), Exploring (Swain Reefs aboard Riversong), Documentaries (The Shark Hunters), Equipment (Taylor-made west suits, handspears),Advertising (PanAm), Oceanarium (later Marineland at Southport, Qld.).
Shipwrecks - Dunbar and Scottish Prince and others.

The partnership dissolved in 1963.  Cropp immediately began filming underwater documentaries and an invitation to Los Angeles to receive the Santa Monica based International Underwater Film Festival's 'Underwater Photographer of the Year' award was good timing for Ben who negotiated film sales with a network who had unexpected gaps to fill.

Ron was stunned.  He had been the photographer in the partnership and Ben was receiving an award he felt should have been his.

However the graphic Tiger shark pictures with Ron Zangari in The Swain Reefs were taken by Ben and played an important part in securing the judgment.   Ron received the same award two years later but the rivalry had begun between them.

Diving colleagues and friends split into two groups to support either Taylor - who was now with future wife and former stage actor and model, Valerie Heighes, or Cropp with wife number one (of three)
July - August 1962
model, Myf**** (renamed 'Van').
 Ron Zangari, The Swain Reefs tiger shark 1962  one of the pictures to rocketed Ben's profile as an adventure cameraman.
'The model wives' Van (married Ben) and Valerie (married Ron)  circa 1962

Ben Cropp supplied footage to Cinesound in the early 1960s, Ron Taylor contributed to Movietone News.

Early material for The Shark Hunters documentary

Sea snakes in The Swain Reefs

Valerie Hughes (sic) with a speargun. 

Saturday, 11 April 2020

SHARK BITE - EPIC SURVIVAL (1961) Brian Rodger story

Brian Rodger (in South Australia team jacket) two years after his serious injury, and back in competition diving.  Talking with friends Ben Cropp and Van Laman, Peter Kemp and Bernie (in hat).
Brian Rodger (left) with shark bite friends Henri and Rodney (December 1964)

Also published in color Australasian POST- a weekly magazine - July or August 1961

Footnote: Brian Rodger became a successful chiropractor in Adelaide.  He rarely spoke of his shark bite except if asked, this was was demonstrated in 2002 when we visited his home for dinner with Miss Christine Tsai of Taipei. 

As Brian told of his near-neath experience, other members of his family sat at the dinner table with open mouth's  apparently hearing the experience for their first time.   This observation  was later  confirmed by Tania Rodger, Brian's wife. (JHH).

Author Andris Lidums (pictured below as team leader at World Championships 1965)  felt Brian Rodger could capitalize on his experience  and suggested this  text  be made in the form of a interview told in the first person.