Jodie Sands has appeared as a centrefold model.
Jodie Sands has appeared as a centrefold model.

Jodie Sands  (not her real name) was an excellent model in the Tweed River for these shots.

Esther Williams was a major Hollywood star in the 1950s
Esther Williams was a major Hollywood star in the 1950s

We discovered this Hollywood poster portrait in a closed shop window at the fabled ghost town of Ravenswood (Queensland) in 1978.  It was once a gold mining town.

Esther Williams was a major movie star that featured in synchronized swim movies of the 1940s and 1950s.

(Updated, larger pictures 21 Jan 2013)


Married in December 1964, the above picture was the following month in 1965 while returning from the Australian Spear fishing Championships at Kangaroo Island, South Australia.  Ron and Valerie returned via Mount Gambier near the South Australian and Victoria border to do the first truly professional underwater shots in the crystal clear fresh water.  Ron mostly used color film in a 6x6cm Rolleiflex with wide angle lens – not the usual Rolleimarin housing.  This print was made from an inter-negative taken from the color original by Ron in his home darkroom.  Valerie often retouched the B&W prints  using her skills acquired as a commercial  artist on The Silver Jacket (adventure magazine for boys), this print appears to be as original.   The fresh water in Picaninnie Ponds isn’t exactly  ‘freezing’ but you have a headache after 90 seconds and three minutes might be maximum before common sense says ‘get out’.  Here in her late twenties in this picture, Valerie shows enormous will-power that has seen her persist or endure discomforts associated with diving better than anyone else I can think of – either male or female.  This picture is from a series first published in Everybody’s magazine that amazed Australian underwater photographers and also established Ron as the leader – a position he could still challenge without difficulty.

Valerie with Silky shark (1965) during filming of “Surf Scene” at Flinders Reef, Queensland

One of my favorite pictures of Valerie is this portrait from 1967 in one of the fresh water sink holes near Mt. Gambier, South Australia.   Ron was making his documentary The Cave Divers.  I used a Rolleiflex camera with flash fill.   Valerie viewed the picture for the first time in July 2010.


Hanks & Lloyd tea tokens cemented into a clump, found on the wreck of The Dunbar (1857) and returned to the sea.  The reverse side had words Australian Tea Mart, Peace and Plenty 1857.

From the documentary film  Aquarius – People and Wildlife of the Sea.