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Off the southern end of King Island, (between the Australian mainland and the island State of Tasmania) Doug Collins caught many sharks while working his shark fishing business in the late 1940’s. The shark liver was in demand for pharmaceutical products needed for the war.

One memorable day had the deck full of sharks, and being a keen amateur photographer, Doug made these pictures. Larger sharks than what is commonly caught these days.

Doug Collins’ home was near to the University of the Sea (aka Terry Morrison’s NAUI Scuba School) at Tweed Heads. That’s where I met Doug. He was a skilled machinist who played with electric motors from refrigerators turning these into home made air conditioners.

He also invented a device for handicapped lawn bowlers to enable them to pick up their bowling balls without needing to bend their back.

Doug was a friendly man. I wish he’d given us more information about his shark fishing days. He was always side-tracking the conversation onto more interesting thoughts, such as his belief that pirates treasure was hidden at the western entrance to Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay.

Doug had been there several times, digging and drilling with permits into the sandstone cliffs, convinced that below was a lost treasure from the pirate era of Bass Strait. A cave where the roof had collapsed burying the booty.

At one stage there were more pirates in Bass Strait than anywhere in the world, I read somewhere once. Maybe Doug was on the right track?

Doug Collins based his research on fisherman’s tales and his own personal observations especially of behavior by an old chap with a secret source of Spanish coins which was traded for a steady income.

Photo: Estate of Douglas Collins