Category: Education

Spearfishing and the USFA – NSW’s Pioneering Years

Bill Heffernan 1949 - NSW’s Pioneering Years
Bill Heffernan in a Sladen Suit and Salvus Oxygen Re-Breather taken in April of 1948 during the meeting to form the USFA in NSW’s Pioneering Years.

Indigenous Australians were skilled at spearing fish from above the water surface and ventured underwater while breathing through hollow reeds to capture water birds and turtles, but it was not until 1917 that spearfishing as we know it was introduced to Sydney by Alick Wickham. NSW’s Pioneering Years.

Alick Wickham was the son of Frank Wickham, an English sea trader who in 1875 had settled in the Solomon Islands after being shipwrecked. Frank settled on the Island of Hopeka, managing a Copra plantation. Alick’s mother was a Melanesian from the nearby settlement of Munda on the shores of Roviana lagoon.

Pacific Islanders had developed their breathhold diving skills over many centuries and certainly were spearing fish underwater long before Europeans. It is fitting therefore that our first record of spearfishing in Sydney Harbour was from a young man who was born in the Solomon’s. Alick gained fame as the person who introduced the swimming stroke which became known as the Australian Crawl and in 1918 attained international fame with a 62.7 metre world record high dive from a cliff-top tower in to the Yarra River, 6 metres higher than the roadway of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Alick remained in Sydney until 1926 when he returned to Roviana Lagoon following the death of his father.

In 1920 when Bill Heffernan was 12 years of age and living at Tamworth he began to look under the water in the Peel River. After making a spear by inserting a sharpened piece of fencing wire into a wooden stick he was successful in spearing his first fish, a catfish. Bill pioneered spearfishing around the Tuggerah Lakes entrance area commencing in 1940 and was also a designer and manufacturer of spearfishing equipment.

During 1926 16 year old Denny (David Denzel) Wells began diving around the rocky shores of Sydney Harbour wearing a pair of goggles. These were soon discarded and goggles with a single faceplate made. Upon finding that he suffered from eye squeeze a facemask was designed which incorporated a space for the nose.

Denny was very inventive, designing and making all of his spearfishing equipment. Denny was responsible for the design of the speargun trigger mechanism that is still in use in the “Undersee” range of spearguns today. It has been widely copied throughout the world.

By the time of the great depression during the 1930’s Denny had married and his wife May took up spearfishing which provided a valuable supplemental food source during this difficult time. May has the honour of being the first female spearfisher in this country.

By 1940 other spearfishers had arrived on the scene. Frank Cunliffe became interested in diving after seeing a youth wearing diving goggles. He experimented with them and finally made a single lens mask which covered the eyes and nose and gave something like normal vision underwater. He began spearfishing in 1940, spearing his first fish at Lake Conjola on the 17th March 1940. From Frank’s notes “My first catch by new method of fishing. I have a 4ft. By ¼ inch steel spear which is fired by means of a catapult arrangement. The spear can be fired about 20 feet through the water but to use it I dive down and sneak up to within 3 feet of a fish before firing. I have a greenhide belt containing 9 lbs. of lead to facilitate the ‘sneaking’ upon the fish. I can get quite close by avoiding sudden movements”.

Frank tried many different speargun designs before settling on a successful design. He applied for a patent for this and a diving mask during 1941 with the patents being granted in 1942. He began making sets of spearfishing equipment consisting of mask, weight belt and speargun which he sold for six pounds and ten shillings under the name of the “Ming” speargun outfit.

Dick Charles had become interested in spearfishing in about 1937. Using an old mirror with the silver scraped off and fitted into an old tyre tube he made his first mask and ‘opened up an entirely new world’. For a spear he bought some shark hooks, straightened them out and fixed them to an eight feet piece of wood. Dick was a convincing salesman who would try his hand at anything and had established a motor trading business in Hurstville in 1924 and also built and sold caravans.

Goff Gapp and Keith Vagg, boyhood friends had become interested in diving when seeing a party of Solomon Islanders spearfishing off Bondi during 1936, however success eluded them until one day in 1942 they saw a face mask made from a jam tin and inner tube for the first time. They made a spear from a six foot length of hardwood with a knitting needle set in one end and were finally successful in hitting, but not catching, their first fish in Clovelly Pool.

During the Second World War many servicemen had experienced duty in the Pacific Islands and had seen and been taught to spearfish by the Islanders. One such person was Don Linklater. Don had seen action on many fronts before being promoted to Lieutenant and given command of a company from the Torres Straight Light Infantry Battalion. It was in Torres Straight he was taught to dive by the Islanders and discovered an intense passion for the underwater world which was to become so much a part of his life.

In 1947 Don commenced manufacturing skindiving equipment from his Bondi home with his first product advertised as the Undersee Swimmers Mask, leading to a complaint of patent infringement by Frank Cunliffe. In December of 1949 his first speargun, the Loxin was introduced at a price of Six Pounds Ten Shillings. This speargun was so named due to its unique trigger mechanism which enabled the spear to be ‘locked’ in place.

In these early days, before the advent of flippers and snorkels, individual spearfishers were unknown to each other, developing and making their own equipment, gaining ideas from the limited publications dealing with the sport. An article in the July 1939 issue of Popular Science Magazine entitled “Human Submarine Shoots Fish with Arrows” had attracted the interest of George Davies who, with his brother Trevor, had ventured in to the shallow waters of Lake Macquarie during 1946.

Another, Jim Linquist had gained his knowledge of spearfishing during the war and upon his return to Cudgen made his own equipment and began spearfishing in the Tweed River. His spear consisted of a broom handle with a fire poker that had been sharpened to a point fastened to one end. He soon began to attract a large audience whenever he entered the water. In one session he speared 135 Luderick in less than 3 hours establishing a formidable record.

Following the 2nd World War the number of spearfishermen started to grow, and so too did the antagonism between anglers and speargunners (as they were then known).

Protest letters were being sent to the Chief Secretary’s Department and letters to daily papers calling for the banning of the sport. Finally during 1947 an incident occurred which formed the catalyst for spearfishers to band together and form the USFA.

Dick Charles and Bill Heffernan were spearfishing in the channel at the entrance to Tuggerah Lakes and had speared a few fish when they heard a Sergeant of Police calling out to them to get out of the water.  They were told they were to be arrested and to get dressed and accompany him to the Police Station. They argued there was no law to say they could not go in the water and spear fish. After much argument on both sides the old sergeant was not too sure of whether he was coming or going and in the end away he went without carrying through with his threat.

At this time they only knew two or three other spearfishers, but both agreed the only thing to do was to form an association to protect the rights of spearfishers. The problem was how to get in touch with others who were interested.

Dick had a thought that the newspapers would print anything and ‘phoned the chief-of-staff of the Sydney Morning Herald telling him that a meeting had been called for all those who were interested in spearfishing, to be held at 3 pm at Long Reef on April 4, 1948 and afterwards there would be a mass dive by over 100 spearfishermen. The Sydney Morning Herald ran this as a front page article.

When the appointed day arrived it was cold and raining. An early arrival saw the setting up of a table and a large Calico sign. Lunchtime came and it was still raining and cold and no one had arrived and they were getting a little worried.  About an hour later cars started to arrive, then more and more and they were flat out answering questions and taking names and addresses.

By 3 o’clock there were hundreds of people there and Dick Charles arose to address the crowd. He explained why they would have to form an association and band together if they wanted to continue spearfishing. It was a case of “united we survive, divided we fall”.

Amongst others to speak at the meeting were Bill Heffernan, Frank Cunliffe and Les Hawley. It was decided that the association be formed. Dick Charles was elected as president, Frank Cunliffe and Bill Heffernan as Vice Presidents and Less Hawley Secretary/Treasurer and a committee of 15 appointed. Thirty two signed up as members and the association was on its way.

The meeting then closed and about 50 men went into the shark infested waters, giving the press a field day with a few fish and a large ray being speared. Bill Heffernan stole the show by dressing in a World War two vintage shallow water diving suit. The public had never seen anything like this before and photo’s featured prominently in the following day’s news.

The first committee meeting for drafting rules and getting things underway was held at Dick Charles house at Hurstville the following week.

The “Aquamatic” an Historic Australian Speargun from the 1940’s

Aquamatic DiagramAquamatic DiagramThe brothers, George and Trevor Davies, pioneered spearfishing in the Newcastle area taking up the sport in 1946. They were certainly talented and inventive. They made facemasks from car tyre inner tubes, started the Newcastle Neptune’s Spearfishing Club, made one of Australia’s first Scuba sets and designed the Aquamatic speargun.

On new years eve of 1960 Trevor was killed in a tragic accident when, whilst filling a cylinder with air, a water trap on the compressor exploded, spraying jagged fragments of metal over a wide area.

Trevor was the inventor and designer, George the engineer. They experimented with several speargun designs and during 1948 the design principles of the Aquamatic were conceived by Trevor and then further refined by George during the next five years.

Over this period every spare minute of the brother’s spare time was put to use with exhaustively testing and refining the gun, experimenting with it until George was satisfied, proclaiming “This speargun is, without fear of contradiction, the most powerful in the world”.

The first Aquamatics produced had a two inch diameter cylinder with a one inch bore and when charged to 359 PSI of pressure contained 45 cubic inches of compressed air. Later the cylinder was changed to one made of stainless steel, one inch in diameter with a one half inch bore. This cylinder, when fully compressed by the spear contained about 1800 PSI.

The gun has an overall length of twenty two inches, with the barrel extending eighteen inches behind the handle. The gun’s barrel was made to take any one of three spear shaft sizes of either five sixteenths of an inch, three eighths of an inch or seven sixteenths of an inch in diameter. Spears were usually 54 inches (four and one half feet) long with 23 loading notches.

To load the gun the trigger is depressed and the spear, with notches facing upward, is pushed into the barrel until it contacts the piston. The lever is then raised and lowered with a pawl engaging the notches and using a ratchet action forces the spear into the cylinder.

The nose of the aquamatic has a line discharge attachment clamped to it. The line is attached to the spear and wound around the rear movable arm and forward to the fixed arm. This is repeated several times with the other end of the line terminating at a reel.

The air in the cylinder lasts indefinitely. The gun has been used continuously for twelve months without any loss of pressure. When fired there is no explosion underwater and no discharge of bubbles as in a CO2 gun. It has tremendous power, propelling a spear for 350 ft out of the water. Its spear, with the head removed, can penetrate two inches of seasoned hardwood.

George considered the main essentials for a speargun were power, accuracy, manoeuvrability, balance, reliability and durability and believed the Aquamatic encompassed all of these traits.

Fifty to sixty Aquamatics were made, with most being sold in and around the Newcastle area. Dick Charles, the founder of the USFA bought one and one was sent to America, however it was never paid for, the purchaser denying ever receiving it. Later a similar gun was produced and sold in the USA as the “Airmatic”.

Alec ‘Curly’ Alliman

The Sydney Metropolitan Zone’s Alliman Shield competition is named in honour of Alec 'Curly' Alliman.

Curly Alliman, the 1955 NSW Spearfishing Champion, was attending the USFA outing at Malabar on March 11th 1956 and while wearing Scuba was walking up the hill behind the Anzac Rifle Range when he collapsed and died of a heart attack. He was only 26 and had recently passed a medical prior to enlisting in the army.

The following tribute was published in the Australian Skindiving and Spearfishing Digest:-

IN MEMORIAM

Ben Cropp (Left) with Alec 'Curly' Alliman (Right)
Ben Cropp (Left) with Alec 'Curly' Alliman (Right)

Curly Alliman (Right) with Ben Cropp (Left)

Whatever our colour, creed or sport, somewhere, sometime we must all leave this world. That is inevitable.

When a man reaches his six score and 10 he is prepared to go, but when it strikes a healthy, happy-go-lucky club mate of 26, there seems a tragic waste. “Curly” Alliman was a club mate in every respect of the word, a good spearman and aqualunger, ready to lend a hand when work was to be done.

Always smiling, Curly’s passing is a big loss to his friends and club.

The first heat for the “Curly” Alliman Memorial Trophy was held on Sunday 8th July 1956 at Bilgola.

It attracted 64 entries with all clubs represented, but with only three feet visibility only four fish were weighed-in, two small groper, one drummer and a Sergeant Baker.

The newly formed St. George club was declared the winner with D. Rowlands 1st with 20 points and N. Shaw 2nd with 6 points.

A meeting following the weigh in confirmed the following rules to apply for future Alliman Trophy competitions:-

  1. Staring time shall be from 10AM – finishing time 2PM.
  2. That the next seven monthly meetings will be conducted by the Branch Club’s Captains, who with their committees, will set down the programme for the day and attend to all amenities etc.
    The August Day Outing will be in the hands of “Parramatta”.
  3. Boundaries. No boundaries for monthly competitions, except State Championships.

Dick Charles – Founder & first president of the USFA

Australian Junior Spearfishing Champion Gary Hunter and Dick Charles Tallebudgera Qld 1958 - Image supplied by Ron Taylor
Australian Junior Spearfishing Champion Gary Hunter and Dick Charles Tallebudgera Qld 1958 - Image supplied by Ron Taylor

With his ever present yachting cap perched jauntily atop his balding head, burly 5 feet 11 inches tall, hazel – eyed Dick Charles was an imposing larger than life character.

Richard Stanley (Dick) Charles was the youngest son of Laura and Edward, a master builder and was born in England at Moseley Worcester on April 23rd 1901. The family moved to Canada and Mexico before settling in Hobart during 1913. Dick was successful in obtaining an apprenticeship as a fitter and turner with the IXL Jam and Sauce company and went on to become an aircraft mechanic, being employed as a ground engineer with the Australian Aircraft Engineering Co. at Mascot, obtaining licence no. 15. During 1923 he married Ruth Kelly and in 1924 they moved to Hurstville where he established a motor trading business.

In 1927 he was a founder of the St. George Motor Boat Club. Having a need for speed he built his own boat which he named the 'Eagle'. Powered by a 360 hp Rolls Royce aircraft motor it could attain a speed of 89 mph and for a time held the record as the fastest boat in Australia.

In 1937 he began to manufacture and sell caravans from premises in McEvoy street Alexandria. Named the “Charlavan” it was Australia’s first pop – top van (Australian patent no. 3587) and was produced in 3 models, the Charlavan Junior for 67 pounds, the Charlavan Senior for 95 pounds and the Charlavan Senior Deluxe for 120 pounds.

During World War 2 he joined the National Emergency Service and became chief instructor at the Hurstville branch. He heard that the Australian Government was looking for inventions to assist the war effort, so he invented a special pulley system which was used for carrying injured soldiers down the Owen-Stanley Ranges of New Guinea.

Dick Charles1

During his time with the NES he was informed that Vaucluse Council was in need of cliff rescue apparatus to be used by the Police Rescue Squad to retrieve bodies from the bottom of the Gap.

He drew up plans for a system and was asked to construct it which he did, building it at Hurstville. It was found to be satisfactory and put into use. The apparatus was later improved by Hurstville Council Engineer, Mr. Webster.

It was during 1937 while on a camping holiday to Lake Conjola that Dick’s interest in spearfishing was born. He described it in these words:

I had been out hand fishing in my 10ft dinghy. Coming into the bank, I could see fish darting all over the place – mostly blackfish. On impulse, I got into the water, but as every skin diver knows, you can't see much with the naked eye.

This set me thinking; you can see alright when you look through the sides of a fish tank, so if you looked through a piece of glass, kept water out of your eyes, you should be able to see under water.

You know what it’s like when you're away camping, fellas! Something new gets into your bonnet and you can't rest until you try it out.

Dick Charles2By using a round piece of glass, in fact an old mirror with the silver scraped off, fitted into an old tyre tube, I made my first mask and, at the same time opened up an entirely new world to me. I bet all of you got a great thrill out of your first sight underwater! I know I did.

There were all the big niggers swimming about, getting me excited. I grabbed an oar from the boat and tried to stun one underwater. How silly can you get!

Next, I sharpened a six feet stick and prodded at them. I actually hit one, to my amazement, but didn't get it.

We were due at Burrill Lakes the next day, so we packed our gear and, on the way down, I bought some shark hooks, straightened them out and fixed them on an eight feet piece of wood. There were always plenty of fish under the bridge at Burrill, so I went down after them. I got one or two, but it was always a job to stay down because I was too buoyant”.

Dave Rowling described Dicks first attempt at breathing underwater “Snorkels were unheard of and Dick tried one memorable day at Minnamurra to put a full face contraption on with an air hose attached to a free floating 4 gallon kerosene tin and with a typical ‘she’s apples fellas’ jumped off Minnamurra rail bridge.

It was after that day he became aware it is impossible to suck air down 12 to 15 feet underwater. With 30lb. lead round the middle and safety catches completely unheard of, it was a very bulgy – eyed, purple faced Dick some two minutes later who clawed himself to the mangrove edges'.Dick Charles3

At the time Dick began spearfishing there were very few others, but as the numbers slowly grew, so did the complaints and harassment. The angling clubs were up against us and everywhere they went spearfishers were met with a hostile attitude. Finally the last straw came when Dick Charles and Bill Heffernan were spearfishing in the channel at the entrance to Tuggerah Lakes. Hearing a loud voice yelling at them they looked up to find it was the local sergeant of police telling them to get out. They were then told they were being arrested and to get dressed before being taken to the police station. Then the arguments started. Why were they being arrested? Where was the law to say they could not go in the water? Where was the law that they could not spear fish? After quite a lot of argument on both sides the old sergeant didn’t know if he was coming or going and in the end away he went.

The pair then agreed they will have to do something or they will be stopped altogether and the only thing to do would be to form an association to regulate the sport properly and to protect our rights. At the time they only knew two or three other spearfishermen between them.

On going home Dick pondered the situation and then ‘phoned the chief of staff of one of the Sunday papers and told him that a meeting had been called for all those who were interested in spearfishing to be held at 3 pm at Long Reef on April 4, 1948, for the purpose of forming an association. Afterwards there would be a mass dive of over 100 spearmen. The newspaper gave the story a run on their front page.

When the day arrived it was cold and showery and Dick remarked “it’ll be a bit funny if no one turns up”. They arrived early and set up a table and erected a calico sign. Lunch time came and went and it was still raining and no one had turned up. About an hour later cars began to arrive and then more and more cars. By three O'clock there were hundreds of people there and Dick got up and addressed the crowd, telling them why we would have to form an association and band together if we wanted to continue spearfishing. It was a case of “United we survive ... divided we fall.”

After a few others spoke it was decided to form the association with Dick Charles being elected the president, Frank Cunliffe and Bill Heffernan vice presidents and Les Hawley Secretary-treasurer. A committee of 15 was also appointed. The meeting was then closed so that about 50 men could brave the shark infested waters. Bill Heffernan created quite a bit of interest with a shallow water diving suit as the public had never seen anything like this before, a large ray was speared and the news boys were having a field day. Everyone had a good time, the association was off to a good start and the newspapers played it up. Dick was well pleased with the way things turned out.

Dick Charles4Dick continued to guide the association through its formative years and was president from 1948 to 1953 when he organised the first Australian Spearfishing Championships at Tweed Heads that same year. He donated a perpetual trophy for the event and to this day it still attracts keen competition from Australia’s best.

During the championships Dick Charles chaired a meeting to form the USFA of Australia with representatives from other states. Dick was elected the first President and Dick Barton the first Secretary.

Also during 1953 concerned about the near drowning and tragic deaths of skindivers Dick announced at a USFA meeting that he was working on a device to make spearfishing safer.

Shortly afterwards tragedy struck when at Harbord on Saturday 5th September 1953 a very popular USFA member Merv Caulfield got into difficulties while spearfishing and lost his life. Two others also got into trouble while trying to assist and only just managed to make it to shore. Merv left behind a young wife and infant son.

By October Dick’s device was at the point of going into full production and an advertisement of the time announced “The Dick Charles Safety Belt has been specifically designed for all spearmen and anglers who at times are in danger of losing their lives. A pull of the trigger and you float to the surface. Easy to wear you don’t know you have it on. All belts fitted with shark repellent. The first 500 belts should be ready end of October”.

The Safety Belt was of plastic construction and worn around the waist. It was inflated by triggering a small CO2 cartridge and had a pocket that contained a shark repellent dye of copper sulphate.

During its production it was credited with saving 20 lives and assisting many more in difficulty. Worried about its plastic construction Dick discontinued production, but re-introduced it during 1960 this time made from “the best insertion rubber money can buy’.

Dick withdrew from active involvement after a few years, but always maintained his interest. He suffered a fatal heart attack in July of 1994 and was cremated at Woronora Crematorium.

His contribution will be long remembered.

USFA Rules & Regulations

USFA CONSTITUTION
This document governs how the USFA is run.

USFA CODE OF DISCIPLINE
This document sets out the expected behaviors of all USFA members.

USFA NSW SPEARFISHING COMPETITION PROCEDURES AND MINIMUM STANDARDS
This document details how competitions run under the auspice of the USFA must be run.

USFA Competition Rules
This document explain the specific rules that apply to competitions.

2015 SCHEDULE OF FEES
This document outlines the fees associated with items detailed in the Constitution.

The Guide to Spearfishing in New South Wales (58MB).pdf
This document is a comprehensive guide to Spearfishing compiled by the USFA.

USFA Constitution – August 2009

Parts of the Constitution

  1. The Constitution Proper
  2. Rules of Competition
  3. Spearfishing Competition Procedures and Minimum Standards
  4. Code of Conduct
  5. Code of Discipline

Attachments

1. USFA Schedule of Fees

Abbreviations used in this document

USFA: The Underwater Skindivers and Fishermen’s Association
AUF(S): The Australian Underwater Federation – Spearfishing
AGM: The Annual General Meeting of the USFA ASAP: - As soon as possible Club: -Shall infer USFA Affiliated Committee: -USFA Committee (the Executive plus one Member per Club) Executive: -USFA Executive as per TABLE 1 (any position cited shall infer USFA. E.g. Secretary = USFA Secretary)
EFT: Electronic Funds Transfer
Member: Member of the USFA via an Affiliated Club or directly
Meeting: General Meeting of the USFA Committee
NSW: New South Wales
Sport: The sport of skindiving
Sub-committee: USFA Sub-committee (appointed by the Committee)

USFA Constitution Proper

1. Association Name The Underwater Skindivers and Fishermen’s Association

2. Office The Office of the USFA will be determined by the USFA Committee

3. Aims and Objectives

(a) To promote and develop the sport and other associated underwater activities
(b) To actively implement and promote any and all safety measures applicable to our activities
(c) To organise and control any relevant activities within NSW
(d) To provide an organisation which can represent the interests of its Affiliated Clubs and their members to the AUF(S), Government, and Regulatory Authorities
(e) To establish, promote or assist in the subscription to, or becoming a member of any organisation whose objects are similar to, or in any part are similar to the objects of the USFA and beneficial to the USFA
(f) To arrange competitions, conventions, conferences, symposiums, expositions and the like for the members of the USFA and to provide or arrange for prizes, trophies and awards
(g) To obtain any acts or legislature, provisional order or other official or Government power or authority licence which may be deemed requisite to the USFA, and to act in opposing any acts or legislature, provisional order or any other official or unofficial power of authority there by Government or any other group or organisation which may be deemed to be against the interests of the USFA or the sport
(h) To encourage the uniformity of rules, regulations, codes of conduct, standards and administrative controls of the sport in NSW
(i) To purchase, lease or acquire any lands, buildings, easements or properties (real or personal), which may be requisite to the purpose of any of the objects of the USFA
(j) To accept subscriptions, donations or bequests (whether real or personal estate) for all or any of the objects of the USFA
(k) To regularly publish and distribute an informative journal and to forward any relevant material received pertaining to the sport

4. Changes to the Constitution

(a) The Constitution of the USFA may be altered or changed by Special Resolution and ratified at the AGM or an Extraordinary Meeting of the Committee, subject to the other provisions of this section. Note: The Committee, by definition, signifies the Executive and one Representative from each Affiliated Club, who shall carry the voting power of his Club after consultation with all of its members. The rules covered in Sections 16, 17, 18 & 19 shall be strictly adhered to in the deliberation and final voting on any such alterations.
(b) All proposed amendments or alterations shall be delivered in writing or electronically, by the Secretary or his nominee, to the nominated Club Representatives of all of the Clubs and to the Executive, not less than 30 days before the voting is to take place
(c) The Public Officer shall send all required documentation concerned with the alterations and lodge any Official Forms, accompanied by any associated fees, to the relevant Government Department within 7 days of the alterations being accepted by the USFA, and in the same time frame will inform the Club Representatives and Executive of all particulars
(d) The Secretary shall inform all Club Representatives and Executive within 7 days of receiving confirmation of alterations from the relevant Government Department upon which the alterations will be immediately adopted
(e) Any change to the USFA Constitution Proper requires at least 75% of the voting power of the USFA, as set out in Section 19 below, to be in favour of the alterations proposed in order to be carried.
(f) The Executive may make, alter or repeal any part of the Constitution, except the Constitution Proper, at any time, provided notice of any change is given to all Clubs and Executive within 14 days of the proposed date of change, after which time the changes shall take immediate effect.

5. Club Affiliation

(a) Any Club or Group associated with any form of underwater activity shall have its application of Affiliation considered by the Committee, provided that the Club or Group satisfies the following conditions:

i. The Club or Group’s Constitution is presented to and approved by the USFA
ii. It’s predecessor’s Constitution, i.e. a Club’s Zone, is presented to and accepted by the USFA
iii. The Club or Group agrees to abide by the Constitution of the USFA iv. The Club or Group pays in advance the registration fee as outlined in the “USFA Schedule of Fees” v. The Club or Group Nominates a Club Representative.

(b) All Clubs shall pay an annual Affiliation Fee as outlined in the “USFA Schedule of Fees”.
(c) Each member of a Club shall pay an annual Member’s Affiliation Fee (as outlined in the “USFA Schedule of Fees”) through their Club to the USFA. It shall be part of their Club Membership and shall not be an optional amount.
(d) Notice of Annual Affiliation Fees payable by the Clubs and their members shall be sent prior to the conclusion of the financial year. All Clubs and members must ensure that Affiliation Fees are paid within 30 days of the expiry date. Failure to do so will result in the Club or member being deemed unfinancial. All Fees become due on July 1st of each year.
(e) Any Club which becomes unfinancial shall no longer partake in the privileges of membership and nor will its members.
(f) In the event a Club remains unfinancial for more than 30 days after the serving of a notice by the Membership Officer, it shall be struck off the list of USFA Affiliated Clubs.
(g) A rejoining Fee as outlined in the “USFA Schedule of Fees” may be demanded by the Committee.
(h) All Clubs shall accept full responsibility for the actions of their members and shall undertake to administer any penalties or controls as deemed appropriate by the USFA.
(i) Should any Affiliated Club fail to abide by the Constitution, its affiliation may be suspended by the Committee.
(j) Acceptance of the USFA Constitution implies acceptance of all sections and parts of the USFA Constitution.
(k) Conditions relating to payment of annual Individual Member’s Affiliation Fees will be the same as those relating to members of Clubs, except that their fees will be paid directly to the Membership Officer. Failure to pay their fees as set out in Section 5. Part (d) above, will result in action as in Section 5. Parts (e), (f) & (g) above, but pertaining to an Individual Member. (l) Clubs must attend a Committee meeting when a meeting is deemed to be sufficiently important to be rated as compulsory. This may be accomplished by either sending a representative in person or by an electronic link-up.
(m) Notwithstanding the above, all meeting minutes forwarded to the Club Representatives will be replied to in the form of a willingness to accept the outcomes of those meetings, or a report tendered on the issues arising from the minutes. These may be offered as agenda for the following meeting at the discretion of the Committee present at the original meeting.
(n) Non-compliance with Parts (l) & (m) of this section (above) may result in a fine or suspension of Affiliation at the discretion of the Committee.
(o) The Club’s Representative must:
i. Forward to each of his Club’s members all correspondence received from the USFA
ii. Organise a reply to the USFA when required
iii. Organise any member’s voting on any issues tendered by the USFA
iv. Report back to the USFA on any voting results
v. Forward any issues his Club or any of its members may have
vi. Organise any submissions the USFA may have to supply to any authorities from time to time

6. Membership

(a) The Membership categories are as follows:
i. Full Membership: e.g. Senior, Lady or Junior
ii. Honorary Full Membership: e.g. Patrons of the sport; non-competing office bearers or volunteer helpers
iii. Individual: e.g. Social or Independent
iv. Life Membership

(b) Clarification and Eligibility Criteria of Membership Categories:
i. Any person who is a registered financial member of a registered financial Club. Membership shall be unlimited subject to the Committee’s right to reject any application for membership without any reason being given. The applicant’s Club will be informed of the reason for rejection within 7 days of the refusal.
ii. The Executive may approve Honorary Full Membership, at its discretion, in cases such as a new member offer, a prominent individual’s efforts in promoting the sport or non-competing Office bearers and volunteer helpers.
iii. An individual may make application directly to the Membership Officer via the Membership Application Form. All rights and obligations as for a Full Member, and as defined in this Constitution, apply.
iv. Any person rendering special or important service to the USFA may be nominated for Life Membership. Nominations shall come from the Clubs to the Secretary 30 days prior to the AGM. The nomination shall give a full account of the nominee’s activities in sufficient depth for adequate consideration to be given by the Committee. A nominee will be accepted as a Life Member if a 66% majority of the USFA’s total voting power is in favour. A Life Member shall pay no USFA Affiliation Fees and no Club Membership Fees.

7. Patron

(a) Nominations from Members or Clubs for the position of Patron of the USFA shall be considered by the Committee at the AGM.
(b) A patron is a person of note who may or may not be a member of the USFA and has performed functions or delivered statements which have brought repute to the USFA.
(c) This position is purely Honorary but will be in keeping with the dignity of the USFA.

8. Rights of USFA Membership

(a) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution and the regulations set up from time to time, every Member shall be entitled to use all premises and facilities of the USFA, and to participate in any activity, competition or event conducted by, or under the auspices of, the USFA.
(b) Every Member is eligible to contest any election into any Position of Office in the USFA.
(c) Every Member shall be entitled to add agenda to any proposed meeting of the USFA within the specified timeframe, attend any meeting of the USFA, and may address any meeting of the USFA with the permission of the Chairman.
(d) Every Member is entitled to view any records of business, or otherwise, of the USFA by appointment with the Secretary of the USFA.

9. Rights of USFA Affiliated Clubs

(a) Each Club, provided all other conditions contained herein are satisfied, shall be entitled to vote on matters determined at any General Meeting or Extraordinary Meeting of the USFA, or any Special Resolutions offered.
(b) As per Section 8. Parts (a), (c) & (d) above

10. Structure of the USFA

(a) The administration, control and direction of the USFA shall be the responsibility of the Executive, except during the course of General Meetings, Extraordinary Meetings, and an AGM at which the Committee presides, and whilst dealing with any Special Resolutions.
(b) The Executive will consist of all position holders as detailed in TABLE 1.
(c) The Committee shall consist of the Executive and one representative from each financial Club.
(d) The Committee may, at any time, appoint or delegate its powers to any Sub-committee and may regulate and determine the procedures and duties of such Sub-committee.
(e) The Executive may appoint persons to hold any positions in the USFA deemed necessary for the correct and efficient running of the USFA. Any duties related to, and any powers implied by such appointment will be circulated and clearly defined to the USFA Membership within 7 days of such appointment.

11. Authority and Responsibility of the Executive

(a) When the Committee is not in session, the Executive shall assume the general authority.
(b) The Executive may not take action that involves changes to: the Constitution Proper; any major policy; or any issues denoted as a Special Resolution without first advising all the Clubs of the intended action and being guided by the decisions of the Clubs, except as laid down in this Constitution.
(c) The Executive shall settle all and any disputes arising from any Clubs’ or their Zones’ interpretation of this Constitution. All decisions made shall be final.
(d) Directions from the Executive to the Clubs, their Members and their Zones are binding.
(e) The USFA Executive shall neither have authority over, nor be held responsible for the financial management of the Clubs or their Zones, except as laid down in this Constitution. (f) The Executive may, without prior warning, remove from Office any member of the Executive who: through misconduct, mismanagement or omission, fails to carry out their duties in a proper manner. The Executive may then appoint a person to hold that position temporarily until an election for that position takes place. Appeals outlined in Section 14 below.
(g) The Executive may, at any time, call upon any Club to account for its actions and may, if so decided, suspend the Club until an enquiry into its actions is satisfactorily completed.
(h) Any Club failing to account in full for its actions, or attempting to hinder the work of the USFA at any time, shall be considered contemptuous and be liable to imposition of a penalty or suspension as at the discretion of the Executive.
(i) The Executive must ratify any recommendations, public statements or business, submissions and the like, by any Member or Sub-committee before they are implemented as USFA Official.
(j) Each member of the Executive shall provide an Annual Report for the AGM electronically forwarded to the Secretary no later than 7 days before the meeting.
(k) If any member of the executive resigns before the AGM, they shall send a letter of resignation to the Secretary.
(l) The Chairman of the USFA may appoint a replacement until such time as an election may be held to fill the position.

12. Authority and Responsibility of the Committee

(a) The Committee shall assume the authority of the USFA, and the specific authority of the Executive, when it is in session.
(b) Any member of the Executive considered as failing to carry out his duties in a satisfactory manner by the remainder of the Executive and/or the Committee, or bringing by his actions, statements or otherwise, disrepute upon the USFA, shall be requested by the Executive or Committee to show acceptable reasons for his actions. Failure to respond to such a request in a satisfactory manner shall result in his removal from Office by the Committee.
(c) Any Committee member suspended under Part (b) above, or Section 11. Part (f) above, may appeal at the next Committee Meeting or by direct contact to all Clubs and each member of the Executive for deliberation.
(d) The Committee may impose any of the following penalties:

i. Temporary or permanent suspension of Affiliation
ii. Temporary or permanent suspension of a Member
iii. A fine as per “USFA Schedule of Fees”

13. Executive Positions and Responsibilities of Office

TABLE 1

POSITION 

JOB DESCRIPTION

Chairman
  • The chief Executive member and spokesman of the USFA -Authority to convene all meetings of the USFA
  • Preside at all meetings of the USFA, maintaining order and correct procedure -Authorise all statements for publication or public release in conjunction with the Secretary
  • Acting USFA representative at all official functions
  • Conduct himself in a manner to bring credit to the USFA
  • Motivate the Executive in a positive way and engender team spirit - Ensure that a culture of good governance exists within all record keeping, systems, processes, projects and financials of the USFA
  • May appoint a stand-in when required – usually, but not necessarily, the Deputy Chairman 
Deputy Chairman
  • Assist the Chairman as necessary
  • Stand-in for the Chairman when required
  • Be equally responsible for all duties of the Chairman
Secretary
  • Keep a true and accurate record of all business carried out by the USFA
  • Keep a true and accurate record of all policies of the USFA
  • Make any appropriate records available to any member
  • Confer with the Chairman in times of emergency -Conduct all general correspondence of the USFA
  • Ensure all communications are in keeping with the professional expectations and brand identity of the USFA.
  • Prepare the agenda and business for, and advertise all meetings of the USFA
  • Prepare, or have prepared, and distribute minutes of all meetings of the USFA -Compile an Annual Report of the activities of the USFA: usually for the AGM
  • Inform all Clubs of all relevant matters, protests, meetings, motions, disputes
Assistant Secretary
  • Assist the Secretary in all his duties.
  • Stand-in for the Secretary when necessary
Treasurer
  • Keep true audited books and accounts of the USFA’s financial affairs -Oversee all banking of the USFA’s monies
  • Be a signatory (one of at least two) on the USFA cheque account
  • Keep an accurate record of all payments of accounts and fees
  • Prepare a progressive report for meetings of the USFA and whenever required
  • Prepare a budget for the USFA as required
  • Register USFA Account signatories with the bank at the commencement of term
  • Advise or seek advice on any financial matter as required
Assistant Treasurer
  • Assist the Treasurer in all his duties
  • Stand-in for the Treasurer when necessary 
Membership Officer 
  • Maintain procedures for the attracting of new members
  • Maintain procedures for the renewal of memberships
  • Seek new improved methods for the above -Recognize the needs and implications of the expanding base of Independent divers
  • Collect and receipt all Membership fees and present to the Treasurer
  • Issue all Membership Cards 
Accreditation Officer incorporating Strategic Planning
  • Pursue short and long-term activities that support the implementation and ongoing effectiveness of a self-regulating diver accreditation scheme for USFA Members and potentially others within the spearfishing community
  • Provide strategic support to related initiatives Strategic Planning
  • As part of a Committee assist in setting the direction and mission of the USFA in light of virulent competitive forces and emerging threats
  • Identify and workshop strategic issues through a forum that augments the objectives of the Executive
  • Discuss current or prospective issues and assist in the formulation of relevant action plans
  • Report to the USFA Executive
 Sports Secretary
  • Keep a record of results of all USFA, AUF(S) and CMAS skin diving Championships and Competitions
  • Keep a record of all past and present holders of perpetual trophies
  • Keep a list of trophy donors
  • Keep a record of the Competition history of the USFA
  • Recall all perpetual trophies before the following year’s event
  • The transport, cleaning, repair and engraving of all perpetual trophies
  • The receiving of nominations and applications for any perpetual USFA award
  • The submission of the preceding to the USFA Committee for evaluation
Website Manager
  • Organize material into a logical layout -Monitor and regularly update the website
  • Source interesting material
  • Arrange for approved material to be posted as required
  • Ensure the website remains functional
  • Continually improve ways to attract & hold the interest of relevant audiences
USFA Magazine Officer
  • Source and organize material
  • Edit and produce the magazine on a quarterly basis
  • Ensure all material is fit for distribution or approved by the Executive
  • Distribution of the finished article
Fundraising Officer
  • Actively seek fundraising opportunities
  • Identify where funds are needed
  • Organize the event via suitable means such as advertising, crew selection, sourcing of necessary equipment and location, etc
  • Collection and accounting of all monies and delivering to the Treasurer
Grants Coordinator
  • Keep informed of available Government Grants
  • Identify projects which require funding
  • Enlist reliable personnel to carry out the task involved
  • Make applications
  • Monitor the implementation of the task making sure it remains on track and within the stipulated contract
  • Provide relevant assistance to project officers engaged in assignments
  • Deliver any required reports
Historical Officer
  • Keep all historical records of the USFA
  • Research historical data as required by the USFA for certain events or occasions
  • Inform the Executive in advance of any key historic milestones 
Public Affairs Officer
  • Respond to any adverse issues directly concerning the USFA
  • Respond to any adverse publicity directed at the USFA or any of its members
  • Confer with the USFA Executive before making any response or action
  • Provide assistance to officers requiring assistance on PR related matters
  • Act on opportunities with potential for positive publicity or outcomes
Education Officer 
  • Provide literature and tuition to members or prospective members
  • Source appropriate and interesting material to facilitate the above
  • To advise Club officials on the setting up and running of a Club educational program that covers all aspects of safety and the indoctrination of new members
  • Report material and proposed delivery methods to the USFA 
Recognized Training Officer
  • Organize the training of members or prospective members via accredited tutors and instructors
  • Organize accreditation of members as trainers
  • Report proposed training schemes to the USFA
Spearfishing Records Officer
  • Keep a complete up-to-date list of all record sized speared fish
  • Be totally responsible for liaison between Members, Clubs, USFA, AUF(S) and CMAS on matters concerning records
  • Make available to Members the correct procedure for claiming a record
  • Process any record applications promptly, professionally and with diplomacy
Data and Research Officer
  • Collection of competition data
  • Scientific assessment of competition data
  • Writing of any appropriate reports
  • Scan for research relevant to USFA and source as necessary
  • Report all results to the USFA for assessment prior to any other use
 Endangered Species Officer
  •  Proactively liaise with relevant regulatory bodies
  • Scientific assessment of endangered and protected species
  • Submit any reports to the USFA prior to any other use
  • Keep members informed of any changes in regulations 
 Environment Officer Advisory Council Liaison Officer   -Identify and keep records on all Advisory Councils -Identify any which require USFA representation -Lobby to Facilitate USFA representation - Ensure USFA representation is maintained -Source and assess suitable candidates
Marine Parks Liaison Officer (Far North): from QLD border to Port Macquarie
  •  Keep all records on Marine Parks -Seek involvement in any review processes
  • Organize meetings with the MPA
  • Organize submissions when required -Keep the USFA fully informed at all times
Marine Parks Liaison Officer (North): from Port Macquarie to Gosford 
  • AS ABOVE
Marine Parks Liaison Officer (Central): from Gosford to Shoalhaven Heads 
  • AS ABOVE
Marine Parks Liaison Officer (South): from Shoalhaven Heads to VIC border 
  • AS ABOVE
Public Officer
  • Lodge all appropriate USFA documentation and records with the relevant Government Department
Members Liaison Officer 
  • Maintain direct contact with the nominated Club representative of each Club
  • Ensure that any important correspondence from the USFA has been received
  • Ensure that the nominated Club representative reports to all his members
  • Ensure that any task required by the USFA is completed by the Clubs
  • Report all outcomes to the USFA

 

14. Appeals

(a) Any Club which has disciplinary action taken against it or any of its members may appeal to all Clubs and the Executive within 30 days of imposition of penalty, and with the prescribed bond as outlined in “USFA Schedule of Fees”.
(b) Clubs shall have the option of appealing for their members or not: at their discretion.
(c) All correspondence pertaining to appeals, suspensions and voting shall be deemed as “A” Class correspondence.

15. Committee Meetings

(a) The Committee shall meet at least 4 times a year including the AGM.
(b) The Quorum shall consist of at least 6 Committee members with a minimum of 4 to be Executive.
(c) If a Quorum is not present within 30 minutes of the advertised starting time of the Meeting, that Meeting shall be adjourned.
(d) That Meeting shall be rescheduled to a date not exceeding 14 days from the original meeting date.
(e) If a Quorum is not present within 30 minutes of the advertised starting time of the rescheduled Meeting, or if a suitable date cannot be agreed upon at the original Meeting, that particular Meeting shall be cancelled.
(f) In the absence of both the Chairman and Deputy Chairman at a Meeting and providing a Quorum being present, those present are to elect a Chairman for the Meeting.
(g) The Secretary shall issue a Meeting notice and call for Agenda to all Club Representatives and Executive not less than 30 days prior to the Meeting.
(h) The Club Representatives and Executive shall deliver all Agenda to the Secretary not less than 15 days prior to the Meeting.
(i) The Secretary shall publish and distribute the final Agenda not less than 10 days prior to the Meeting.
(j) Items for inclusion on the Agenda of any Meeting may be submitted at the Meeting but any Members present may exercise their right to veto any such item if the item is deemed to be better served under a Special Resolution or if limited by available time remaining.
(k) All financial Members shall be eligible to attend any Meeting,
(l) Any Meeting (except the AGM) may, upon a motion being duly moved and carried, be adjourned to enable a meeting of any Sub-committee to be convened if deemed necessary to facilitate proper decision making on any issues presented.
(m) Voting on any general issues, not deemed to be better served under a Special Resolution, shall be restricted to one vote per Committee member. Club Representatives shall have the authority to vote without consulting their Club. The Chairman must abstain but may lodge a casting vote in the case of a deadlock.
(n) Voting on a Special Resolution shall be carried out in strict accordance with Section 19 or 20 below.
(o) Any Member ruled to be disorderly by the Chairman, shall be removed from the Meeting and their vote (if any) curtailed until a replacement Representative is appointed. If none available, the Meeting will continue without their Club’s representation. There will be no replacement offered in the case of the Member being an Executive Officer.
(p) A copy of the Minutes shall be sent to all of the Executive and Club Representatives within 30 days of the meeting. The Club Representative must adhere to the provisions of Section 5. Parts (m) & (o)i. above.

16. Annual General Meeting and Elections

(a) The AGM shall follow all provisions of Section 15 above, except part (l).
(b) The business of the AGM shall be the notification and ratification of action taken during the year by the Executive, any business that any Member wishes to place on the Agenda, and the election of the Executive for the next term of Office.
(c) Nominations for members of the Executive shall be received by the Secretary, duly nominated, seconded and signed or approved by the nominee, up to the conclusion of the AGM. At this time the Chairman shall declare all Offices vacant and a returning Officer shall be appointed to conduct the election of the USFA Chairman who shall then complete the election.
(d) Voting shall be by a show of hands or by secret ballot at the discretion of those present.
(e) The Chairman of the elections will have no vote except as a casting vote in the case of a drawn result.
(f) If there is only one nomination presented in accordance with part (c) above for a particular position, then the nominee shall be deemed duly elected into that position.
(g) Any positions left vacant at the completion of the elections shall be advertised by the Secretary with the view of seeking nominations. Notwithstanding the provisions of Part (f) above, the nominations shall be dealt with in accordance with Section 20 below.

17. Extraordinary Committee Meetings

(a) An Extraordinary Meeting of the Committee, or any Sub-committee, may be called at any time by the Executive or upon receiving a request from Clubs representing at least 50% of the voting power of the USFA.
(b) Notice of the Extraordinary Meeting is to be served to all Executive and Club Representatives not less than 30 days prior to the meeting.
(c) The Chairman of the USFA shall have the authority to call an Extraordinary Meeting with limited notice in times of emergency.

18. Special Resolutions or Notices of Motion

(a) Any matter or issue presented to the Executive or Committee that is over and above the matters and issues related to the every day running of the USFA, or any matter or issue which would be deemed to require a broad response, shall be deemed a Special Resolution.
(b) A Special Resolution is to be referred to a Meeting or an Extraordinary Meeting or be dealt with electronically.
(c) A Special Resolution is to be voted on in accordance with the provisions of Section 19 or 20 below.

19. Voting Rights and Voting

(a) The voting power of a Club shall be calculated on the basis of every full 10 members of a Club shall gain that Club one vote. E.g. 9 Members - no vote; 20 Members - 2 votes; 47 Members - 4 votes etc.
(b) Voting on general issues not deemed a Special Resolution shall be carried out in accordance with Section 15. Part (m) above.
(c) No Club shall hold a total voting power in excess of 15 votes. E.g. 160 Members - 15 votes; 200 Members - 15 votes.
(d) The Executive shall hold only one vote as a whole, being a casting vote only.
(e) A simple majority shall decide if a motion is to be carried or defeated.
(f) If voting reaches a deadlock, the Executive shall clear the room to discuss and vote on the motion in order to deliver the casting vote.
(g) If Part (f) above eventuates, the Chairman shall only carry a casting vote as part of the Executive vote.
(h) Any Member involved in the voting on any issues relating to the business of the USFA must declare if a conflict of interest exists in any issue, and, if one does exist, that Member must abstain from the vote on that issue.

20. Electronic Voting

(a) If the Committee or the Executive require a matter dealt with between Meetings, they shall inform the Secretary who shall, within 14 days, advise all Clubs and the Executive of the details of the matter in the form of a Notice of Motion.
(b) Upon receiving such notice, the Club Representative must carry out his duties as outlined in Section 5. Part (o) above.
(c) The Club Representative must return his Club’s vote in writing to the Secretary within 30 days: being the validity date. Any Club votes received after this date shall be declared invalid and an explanation may be sought by the Executive.
(d) The Executive shall consider and decide the matter from the indication of votes received from the Clubs. This decision shall be final and shall be circulated by the Secretary within 30 days of the validity date.
(e) Any Club wishing to amend the Notice of Motion shall record its amendment with its vote for the consideration of the Executive.
(f) The Executive may issue a notice of motion at any time.
(g) Voting power shall be determined by the secretary from the provisions contained in Section 19 above.
(h) All Parts contained in Section 19 above, are to be adhered to.
(i) All records of the abovementioned are to be placed on file by the Secretary and produced at the next Meeting if required.

21. Correspondence

(a) Correspondence shall be treated in 3 priorities: “A” Class; “B” Class; or “C” Class.
(b) “A” Class correspondence shall be considered of greatest urgency and shall be replied to ASAP, but not more than 14 days upon receipt of the communication by the Club representative.
(c) “B” Class correspondence shall be considered of medium urgency and shall be replied to ASAP, but not more than 21 days upon receipt of the communication by the Club Representative.
(d) “C” Class communication shall be considered of least urgency and shall be replied to ASAP, but not more than 30 days upon receipt of the communication by the Club Representative.
(e) The Chairman or Secretary may classify outward correspondence if deemed necessary.
(f) The Chairman or Secretary may classify inward correspondence if deemed necessary, and the Executive shall be bound by the provisions of this section: Parts (b), (c), & (d) above.
(g) Any communication not replied to within 7 days of its due date, shall be followed up by the Members Liaison Officer.
(h) Any communication deemed “Confidential”, shall not be transmitted beyond the bounds of the Executive until such time as deemed cleared for general distribution.

22. Notices

(a) A Notice may be served upon any Member either in person, by mail, or electronically, and shall be classified as “A” Class correspondence.
(b) Any Notice served by mail or electronically shall be deemed to have been served at the time when it would have been delivered in the normal course of events.
(c) The Members Liaison Officer shall follow up on any Notices served within 7 days of the serving to ensure; firstly - it being received; secondly - it being treated as “A” Class by the recipient; and thirdly - the recipient understands the content of the Notice.

23. Finance

(a) All finance shall be under the control of the Committee.
(b) All monies for the USFA shall be paid in full to the Treasurer who shall bank such monies within 7 days of receipt.
(c) All accounts payable by the USFA shall be paid by cheque, which shall be signed by the Treasurer and one other member of the Executive (being a nominated signatory on the account), or EFT using 2 factor authentication (a one time password generator), which only allows the EFT to take place with one Executive member as the originator, and one Executive member as the authenticator.
(d) The financial year shall be from 1-7- preceding year to 30-6- following year. 
(e) In the case of any new applications for affiliation or Membership being received before and near to the end of a financial year, thus leaving insufficient time to complete the transaction and associated accounting, the fees payable will be accounted in the next financial year but full Membership rights shall be extended in the interim.
(f) The assets and income of the USFA shall be applied solely in the furtherance of its specific authority, and no portion shall be distributed directly or indirectly to the members of the USFA, except as bona fide compensation for services rendered or expenses incurred on behalf of the USFA.
(g) The Executive may receive, upon the direction of the Committee, payment for services as a condition of appointment, or reimbursement for travelling or other legitimate out of pocket expenses or costs incurred in carrying out the functions or responsibilities of Office.
(h) The allocation of USFA funds for any purpose, including State Team subsidies, shall be controlled by the Committee.
(i) All claims for reimbursement shall be made to the Secretary at regular intervals.
(j) All payments shall be made in accordance with Part (c) of this section, above.

24. Employment of Staff

(a) Upon the recommendation of the Executive, staff may be employed on a part or full time basis to assist the Executive in carrying out its function and responsibilities with respect to the USFA.
(b) Conditions of employment and payment shall be as decided by the Committee.

25. Liabilities of the Executive

(a) If the Executive as a whole or any member of the Executive in his Office as such has paid, or is liable to pay, money for any act, default or omission of any other Member or Members of the USFA, such money shall be refunded to him, or them, by the USFA, or such money shall be paid by the USFA.
(b) Payments made shall be in accordance with Section 23. Part (c). 26. Levies (a) Should the USFA bank balance fall below a figure determined by the Committee, a levy as determined by the Committee shall be placed upon all the Clubs. (b) The levy value shall be placed on the “USFA Schedule of Fees”.
(c) The levy shall be paid within 30 days of invoice.

27. Audits

(a) The Executive shall appoint auditors who shall have the authority to call for the production of all books, papers and accounts relating to the affairs of the USFA.
(b) The accounts shall be audited annually and at any other time deemed necessary by the auditors.
(c) Any Member or Affiliated Club may order an audit at any time by the submission of a written requisition to the Secretary, and the placing of an Audit Bond as outlined in the “USFA Schedule of Fees”.
(d) Any Member or Affiliated Club who shall cause such audit will be exclusively liable for all and any fees and expenses incurred during said audit if all books and processes are found to be in order.

28. Dissolution

(a) The USFA may be dissolved voluntarily whenever a Special Resolution is carried requiring the USFA to be dissolved.
(b) Such a Special Resolution must be dealt with at an Extraordinary Committee Meeting convened for that sole purpose.
(c) In the event of the USFA being dissolved, the funds and property remaining after such dissolution, and the satisfaction of all debts and liabilities, shall be transferred to any Affiliated Clubs of the USFA: such Clubs being organisations not carried on for the profit or gain of its individual Members. Said distribution shall be made in such a way that each Club receives an amount equal to the proportion of its Members as a percentage of the total Affiliated Club Membership of the USFA.