Kameruka Creek on the far South Coast of New South Wales is trickle more often than not. It flows to the Bega River which is tuns enters the sea at Tathra. My first underwater view with a face mask was in the fresh water river about 1952. A memorable experience. Every diver remembers the first time they looked underwater. Although babies watch marine films these days, long before entering deep water.
Ron Taylor stopped off at these ponds while returning from a Kangaroo Island (SA) spearfishing championship in January 1964 and did brilliant pictures with his bride, Valerie, (diving without a wetsuit in the cold crystal clear springs).
And so began several years of photography and filming in the region where numerous limestone caves and sink holes offered a new world of underwater adventure.
In 1966 a 16mm uw documentary “The Cave Divers” was sponsored by WD & HO Wills for free loan from their library. It shows many uw photogenic dives possible in the Mt Gambier area of South Australia. The Pines, Hell’s Hole, Ewen Ponds, Picaninnie Ponds, The Shaft.
The next year a tobacco company, Rothmans, commissioned a 35mm theater commercial (based on the content of that first Ron Taylor documentary) titled The Hands of Man. It was to re-create discoveries made in underground water-filled springs at The Pines– where the high-calcium content water was preserving bones of extinct species of kangaroo.
The same uw team was hired along with an above water crew of more than thirty film production people. It was a BIG project over several days with truck-loads of gear from Sydney.
But the expensive production never saw the light of day. Axed before completion. The fickle world of advertising.
In the following years several tragedies occurred, in one terrible example three young divers (two from the same Sydney family) were lost in the infamous location The Shaft. More about this location eventually. It is also known as The Allendale Hole.
(updated 5 September 2010)