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.


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Sydney tabloids 1960’s

I did very well selling my latest shark pictures and stories to Sydney newspapers. All went well until a features editor changed my description of a dangerous shark to now read “like a guided missile of terror with murder in it’s heart”.

I gave it away for years after receiving an apology in writing from the features editor who had been on holiday when my copy was changed. My reputation in tatters, I imagined in 1977.

So much for trying to write factual shark information that was not considered exciting copy, even with excellent pictures.  Newspapers were chasing sales and they always will.  This needs to be considered before attacking them.   The same rule applies to ‘tabloid’ TV documentaries’ which are full of errors in more often than not.

Campaigns to change Chinese culinary customs (eating shark fin soup) are going to be expensive and very difficult.   As world seafood declines the processing companies find uses for shark to replace ordinary fish. Surimi is shark processed into fish balls and crab sticks.

The picture (above left) was published in The Sun, a Sydney tabloid newspaper.  Same shark both pictures.

MY DIVE LOG 6 Feb 1963. First powerhead seen

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After reading Ben Cropp’s advice and know how on underwater photography (\Handbook for Skindivers\) I have given the idea a little thought.

As this Sea Diary’s aim is to record any ideas which come into my head I thought I would like to have a crack at this underwater movies. I would select movie work in preference to still shots are it’s (\sic\) (as it’s) field has a greater range.

Ben Cropp suggests the 16mm Bolex and a home-made perspect (\sic\) housing. Then there is the cost of a projector. I must make an allowance now. Say camera 50 pounds as a maximum, housing 30-35 pounds; a projector 30 pounds second-hand. This puts the (total) cost at over 100 pounds which is fairly reasonable.

On H.P. (hire purchase) the camera shouldn’t be a very difficult problem.

It looks like we will be very busy from now on with maintainence on Evinrude (outboard motor), Tempest 803 (aluminum dive boat), trailer, all our (spear) fishing gear and USFA competitions & movie work.

Still this is a new and exciting field for us and I am looking forward to tackling new problems.


We all left Rose Bay (boat) ramp early this morn. about 6:30 AM. The three boats (Ronny Ible, Snow and I) first hopped into the water just under \The Gap\. There were a lot of nice mowies and \niggers\ where I was, the \niggers\ where (\sic\) very tame but I missed getting one.

I soon lost the one and only flopper on the (home made) spear and I spent the rest of the day using a “killer spear”. (A slight fantasy – exaggeration based upon the barb-less shark hunting spear technique used by Taylor & Cropp).

We picked up a couple of mowies here & then shot over to North Head. Up past (\sic\) Blue Bay we got a few more mowies here. The ones I got were a good size and some of them were very tame. All the day I only lost about 3 fish because of no floppers (on the spear) mostly I was \stringing them up\.

The sewerage water (at North Head) became to (\sic\) bad at Blue Bay so we went straight up to the reef off LR beach. I got one bug (lobster) out of the same hole as last week. Had a bit of fun getting a small Blue (groper) about 10 – 12 pounds out of a cave because of the straight (barb-less) sharft (\sic\).

I borrowed Harry’s (Dowsell) pranger & plowed it into the Blue’s head then got him out. – nice LJ (leatherjacket) over 4 pounds and under 5 pounds.

At about 9:30AM the overcast conditions which we were experiencing brightened up a little & the sun came out. Then we decided to go around to Brownwater Beach & get some tucker.

On the way around the point we noticed how clear the water looked there were bright blue patches everywhere.

On the beach we greeted the arrival of NS (North Shore) members **Tony Smith, Bob Kemp, Ken Sapsford and Tony Leslie** in TL 6 (boat registration number) and the 60 horse power Scott (outboard). They had just come from \Shark Alley\ and reported that vis (visibility) was very good and they had encountered about 6 sharks in the morning.

We conned them into giving us the landmarks for the \alley\ which is approx. north of the island out the front & in-line with Collaroy Surf Club and a block of flats with a blue roof.

They also had with them a handspear with a device on the tip which held a 12 gauge shotgun cartridge. The idea was to wack (\sic\) the shark on the head or spine with this contraption and a pin would set-off the cartridge thus blowing a neat hole in Mr. Sharks’ head.

The only problem they had encountered was that they couldn’t get close enough to any sharks to experiment on them.

After a quick snack we tore off out to where we thought \Shark Alley\ was. The water was about 30′ (foot) deep where the boats we(\sic\) anchored vis was about 50 – 60 feet at least. There was a very strong current running NW to SE, this made any fishing difficult as also there was a fair north-easterly wind whipping up a chop.

Got a couple more good sized mowies here. Later Ron Ible said a Bronze whaler (shark) came up and had a look at him while he was getting a Blue (groper) out of a cave. We left early as we got sick of waiting.

Maximum temp today was 95 degrees F. The water was very warm on top and nice down deep.