Bob Webb was swept so far out to sea he lost sight of land.  When the tide turned, it helped bring him back to the island. He staggered ashore at 3AM the following morning with deep cuts to his ankles from his flippers/fins and was picked up by local fisherman Peter Bristow who was searching the beach for the missing divers.  This was one of the epic survival stories by a missing scuba diver/spear fisherman.  In this era, the early 1960s, the sharks were bigger and more numerous than today.  It was a miracle Bob Webb was not eaten.
Barry O’Brien up front, Van Laman (first wife of three) alongside Ben.

TEASER CLIP = Ben Cropp  “Tale of a Shark Hunter”  (below)

Ron Taylor was to win four Australian spearfishing championships plus the world title held  in French Polynesia.  Until 1967 the Australian titles were fiercely contested with many competitors.  Later the event dwindled when Ron Taylor quit competitions with perhaps as few as 30 competitors in recent years.  No new Australian champions have won  in the world titles.

L-R. Ron Taylor, Ben Cropp, Tommy Thomas, Ron Cox.  Three of these four men became (or were) Australian spear fishing champions.  Black cod at left, Queensland groper (I think) far right.

Vic Sumner and Geoff Bull were press photographers in Sydney.

Sydney hotel advertising from the era.

Early 1960s advertising neon signs
Myself with new Nikon F (1967).  Fish is a ‘Blubberlip’ from Flat Rock. Not so common south of the Great Barrier Reef.

This shark encounter off South Africa captures the moment nicely. White pointer sharks were never common  enough to be seen by divers during the 1960s – except in South Australia where they bit two free divers.


Spotted on the southern side by Irvin Rockman, (pictured below with his Rolleimarin camera).  
Irvin’s own picture published in his large book “Underwater Australia”.  
A pair of cat sharks above a resting wobbegong – an unusual combo.

Possibly the same sharks as seen at The Group.  Water is clearer at Flat Rock 99% of the time.

Flat Rock pool would be a more accurate title. Very shallow, (1986).