After nearly 10 months of planning, the first official Victoria versus New South Wales Interstate Spearfishing Competition took place at Eden on the Far South Coast of New South Wales over the Queen’s Birthday weekend in June of 1967.
Over 200 skindivers and their families from as far away as Avoca and Warrnambool in the Western Districts of Victoria and Canberra and Sydney arrived at Eden for the weekend.
Most of Saturday was spent looking over the fishing areas and preparing for the big competition.
On the Saturday night at Eden’s “Hotel Australasia” had never had such a packed beer garden in its history and I think that also went for the Hotel Eden and the Eden Fishermen’s Club.
Ross Page, of Port Hacking, Sydney, was on the loudspeaker bright and early on Sunday morning and pretty soon the camping ground was a hive of activity. Just before the word “go” was given at 8:30 a.m., we noted the sign on was 198 competitors, one of the best sign-ons for a spearfishing competition for the last couple of years. And, just to make it an extra-successful weekend, two late sign-ons brought the total to 200.
At 8:30 a.m. sharp 200 skindivers raced to boats moored off the beach and to cars and were soon scattered over 60 miles of coastline.
At 2:30 began the massive task of weighing-in nearly 3,000lb. of fish. With two weigh-in areas going flat out this was not completed till 6:30 p.m. that night.
While this was going on the organisers were also flat out working out scores and allotting the 60-70 separate prizes.
On the Sunday night we had hired the Eden picture theatre and with two of Ron Taylor’s top underwater movies were due to start at 8:00 p.m. with the presentation of prizes at interval.
The films got underway around 8:30 and once again the old town was in for a shock. Nearly 300 people packed into the theatre and by 9:00 there was standing room only.
At interval the presentation of prizes got underway and it was noted that the individual winners all had fantastic scores. Open: Robin Montcalm, 663; Junior: Rick Baker, 605; Ladies: Robyn Page, 342.
Highlights of the evening were the announcement of The Most Meritorious Fish Overall with the prize of a “Tudor Oster U/W Watch”, donated by Angus & Coote of Sydney, and the drawing of the lucky sign-on number for which the prize was a “Nikonos U/W Camera”, donated by Maxwell Photo-Optics of Melbourne and Sydney. These prizes went to Doug Trinder of Mid-South Marlins and Allan Potter of Port Hacking Penguins in that order.
After the presentation of prizes, we all settled back to the second half of the programme.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank every skindiver who travelled to Eden to compete in the competition, plus everyone who helped with the organising, plus all the generous companies and people who donated the $1,000 worth of prizes.
Report by Barry Andrewartha (Marauders Club, Victoria), Australian Skindivers Magazine July, 1967 Pg.17