Captain Peter Bristow

The Cod Hole in 1983

CAIRNS was put on the international map by visiting fishermen. Before this the town was a sleepy  port and the main tourists were Australians who made the long trek north on a narrow sealed road we called The Crystal Highway (littered with broken car windscreen, one every 2 Km).

 

Avalon at The Ribbons

The story how black marlin were found as they spawned along the edge of the continental shelf is best told by the experts.

The changes to the town of Cairns between 1972 and 1982 were enormous.  Free  or very cheap vacant land given by the state government allowed international hotel’s and a resort at Port Douglas to be fast-tracked.

Cairns is the major gateway to The Great Barrier Reef. Previously these had been further south Gladstone, especially.

Fishing aboard Peter Bristow's "Avalon"
Fishing aboard Peter Bristow’s “Avalon” – Susan’s Perry. Deck hands Noel Burtt (guiding the chair) and Trevor Hathaway on the other side.

 

Camera running at 64 frames per second captured this. © John H Harding
At 64 frames per second. © John H Harding 1975

 

The men who put Cairns on the international map.
In this collage  are the boat skippers who went searching for big fish, Peter Bristow, Peter B Wright and Dennis ‘Brizakka’ Wallace.
Peter Bristow  and his charter-boat skipper mates. Tourism experts say it was the big game fishing  by international millionaire fishermen that put Cairns on the tourist map.
Bristow is one of the Famous Trio.

AstraThe Old Man of the Sea

 

Peter Bristow and TV personality of the past, the great Bob Dyer (a keen big game fisherman).
Peter Bristow and with radio and later TV personality of the past, Bob Dyer (an active  international big game fisherman).

 

Mr James Perry
Mr James Perry of Aspen Col. USA

 

The wire-man in action aboard "Avalon" (1975)
The wire-man in action aboard “Avalon” (1975).
Tiger shark recycles Brizaka's 1006 pound Black marlin (1975)
Tiger shark recycles 1006 pound Black marlin caught earlier.  16mm film frame

FOOTNOTE:

Captain Peter Bristow initially set in motion what was soon to become The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority with the talent of Mrs. Valerie Taylor, based in Sydney, lobbying the media and politicians.

Peter Bristow enlisted the help of his friend Mrs Valerie Taylor to lobby for protection of a small section of reef near Lizard Island known as Cormorant Passage (commonly called The Cod Hole).

It was feared a population of large and tame Potato cod would be wiped out if not given urgent protection.

Others had similar concerns.

Valerie Taylor through her influence was able to get the media and political attention which set in motion the first gazetted protection for the Great Barrier Reef.

For her success Valerie was ‘Ordained a Knight in the Order of the Golden Ark’ by the Prince of the Netherlands, an award which sadly no longer exists for conservation.

 © J.H. Harding.

The Most Excellent Order of the Golden Ark (Dutch: Orde van de Gouden Ark) is a Dutch order of merit established in 1971 by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. It is awarded to people for major contributions to nature conservation.[2] Although not awarded by the government of the Netherlands, it is considered by the government as a recognized chivalrous order.[3] Since its inception, over 300 people have been recognised by the award. Now that Prince Bernhard has died, the future of the order is uncertain. (Wikipedia).

SHARK ATTACK REPORTS – Old newspapers

It’s been a good story for newspapers over the years.  Shark attacks.  Far more of them were occurring in the 1930’s – obviously when the Australian populated coast had better stocks of seafood to attract and feed the predators.

Looking at a small sample of shark attacks in newspaper files indicates how these tragedies gave been forgotten.  There has been, seemingly hundreds of shark attacks around our coast – more than what is commonly stated.

Here is a sample from the archives from pages 10 and 11 – it could form a good university study in changing journalism standards over the years.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/result?q=shark+attack&s=180

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHARK FEATURE STORIES (1968, 1981)

The February 1968 National Geographic featured pictures by Ron Taylor and John Harding (me); Ben Cropp had the centerfold with his whale shark image lifted from 16mm Kodachrome.

The May 1981 cover features Ron Taylor’s idea of a chain mail suit, inspired by butchers gloves.

The signed cover by Valerie Taylor was for my late father, John M Harding.