NORTH STRADBROKE ISLAND November 1963

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**Ben Cropp’s first boat, a 14 foot Quintrex, 20 HP Mercury outboard**
Ben and Van Laman (Mrs Ben Cropp, No.1 of 3 BC wives) in this simulated oil painting effect via computer.

The \jewie\ was speared at Shag Rock, not far off the beach at Point Lookout where 250kg giant Queensland groper could also be seen occasionally in that era.

Old time local fishermen told us stories about Shag Rock, of tons of red snapper (southern variety) being caught by hand line fishing in a single day at Shag Rock in the 1950’s. How times change things.

Further offshore is **Flat Rock**, a far better dive, and a fish sanctuary today.

BREATH HOLD DIVING ….. Prep for World Championship

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For **Ron Taylor** (pictured here in South Australia’s fresh water springs) almost all his early diving and underwater photography was made free diving.

Scuba tank fills were not readily available and the sea was one giant aquarium in shallow waters. Especially distant locations like the Solitary Islands off Coffs Harbour and Wooli where a boat was required to get there.

Spear fishing competitions were taking their toll around the city – eliminating small reef fish. This wasn’t happening in country area’s.

Ron’s spear fishing skill was honed aboard \Riversong\ on Queensland’s remote Swain Reefs and elsewhere thanks to **Capt Wally Muller**, one of the few professional skippers prepared to take the risk of a diver aboard his boat – such was the perceived and potential risk of shark attack in the 1960’s.