Underwater Skindivers & Fisherman's Association office bearers: Office Person President Peter Saunders Vice President Peter Walsh Secretary Peter Walsh Assistant Secretary Nic Williams/Mel Brown Treasurer Kevin Saw Assistant Treasurer Lee Dalli Membership Officer Lee Dalli Accreditation, Insurance & Strategic Officer Peter...

A touching presentation speech for the Wally Gibbins Trophy read by David Birch at the 2015 USFA Awards night. Walter Hammond Gibbins was born January 16th 1930 in Sydney. In the early 1940s he harpooned leatherjackets from the jetties of Sydney Harbour to feed his family before entering the water with his  homemade mask, snorkel, belts, a scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) system and speargun to chase bigger game so successfully that most speargun manufacturers use his speargun design even today. [caption id="attachment_1330" align="alignleft" width="383"]Wally Gibbins - 68lb (30.8kg) Fairy Bower 1952 Wally Gibbins - 68lb (30.8kg) Fairy Bower 1952[/caption] Wally’s adventurous aquatic life was often compared to the leading French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau. He was a pioneer diver who spent thousands of hours exploring fish, shells and underwater salvage sites. He filmed many of this exploits for TV or films along with a team of high-profile names, including Ben Cropp and Ron and Valerie Taylor. Wally pioneered the trigger mechanism still used today in many guns. He caught his first shark, a wobbegong, at Middle Head in 1947, and shot and landed the first man-eating shark in Australia - a bronze whaler in 1950. The capture of a shark by a skindiver (rather than a man being caught and eaten by a shark) created headline news. He also caught with a spear a 400-kilogram tiger shark at Sykes Reef near Heron Island in 1963. In 1948 he helped form the Underwater Skindivers and Fishermen's Association at Long Reef , winning spearfishing competitions for the next 10 years, as well as the 1952 contest between anglers and spearmen. Wally single handedly caught more fish than all 37 anglers who had fished from the shore or boats. The rest of the spearos that turned up that day, may as well have stayed at home!

The conditions looked good as the sun came up over Botany Bay. It was 7am and there were the usual bike riders and dog walkers about while the ring and sign on sheets were organised in the park but no divers! Alliman Shield Oct 2015 1 Alliman Shield Oct 2015 1Alliman Shield Oct 2015 3Sure enough from various directions the spearo boats came steaming in and by 7:30am nearly fifty divers in fifteen boats signed on and gathered for the safety talk and at 8am wandered off to the boats to gather about 500m away for the boat start flagged by Macca.

From Australian Skindivers Magazine April 1964

Wollongong Carnival of Sport Spearing Championships

[caption id="attachment_1189" align="alignright" width="231"]A proud moment for Judy Sorrenson (Port Kembla) with her trophies. A proud moment for Judy Sorrenson (Port Kembla) with her trophies.[/caption] The Port Kembla Club certainly turned on a well-organized competition on March 14, in conjunction with the City of Greater Wollongong’s 3rd Annual Carnival of Sport. This club showed many of the larger metropolitan clubs that when they said we would have an enjoyable day – they certainly meant it! And the prizes – wow! Never ever have the NSW Executive seen such a line-up of really valuable trophies. No silverware or tin cups but sensible (if not rather too expensive) products including Electric Frypans, TV Lamps, Tea Sets, Sherry Decanter & Glasses, Toasters, Record Players, etc. Over 100 pounds worth of goods all purchased (not donated) by the organizers – the Port Kembla Skindiving Club. Unfortunately the water was not the clearest although John Black and Brian Raison from Sans Souci Club scored over 300 points each. Bill Lewis caught the heaviest fish (a 25 lbs. Blue Groper) and took home a valuable trophy – a box of pilsener glasses.
Hello All Fellow Spearos, The day dawned a beautiful pink promising clear skies and at Fishermen’s Beach the air was still and the sea a mirror. There was nobody around as I set the ring up but by 7:30am the place was buzzing with boats zooming in and the divers signing on. What a great day for an Alliman! Long Reef 2015 2 The usual safety talk was given with the emphasis on diving in pairs as the many reports of shark activity had some divers nervous but as it turned out not one was seen. Just before 8am the divers made their way to the boats and putted out slowly to wait for Macca to wave his boat flag to signify the start of the competition. The boats raced away North & South!