Athol Bryan ( George) Davies was born on the 17 th May 1923 and left us on 5 th June 2019 at the age of 96.
George could rightly be described as the father of Spearfishing in Australia. George’s interest in spearfishing began when the July 1939 issue of “Popular Science” magazine contained an article
“Human Submarine Shoots Fish with Arrows” and a lifelong passion for the sport of spearfishing was aroused.
At this time there was no equipment available and George found himself experimenting with homemade equipment designs. Face masks were made from a piece of oval glass and rubber cut from car tyre tubes.
George was joined by his younger brother Trevor and together they spent many hours, often late into the night, perfecting a ratchet loading pneumatic speargun they named the “Aquamatic”. A CO2 gas powered speargun named the “Sea Wasp” was also made.
Having heard of Cousteau’s Aqualung they set about designing and making their own, one of the first Scuba units to be made in Australia.
With his brother Trevor, George was a foundation member of the Newcastle Neptunes in 1953– the first club to be formed outside the USFA.
In 1964 George was elected to the position of national Secretary/Treasurer for the Australian Underwater Federation and held this position for 27 years until his retirement in 1991. Also during 1964 was appointed as Manager/Coach for the NSW team to the Australian Underwater Championships and was retained as manager for the next 15 years.
In 1967 George was awarded with Life Membership of the USFA and was also presented with the Ron McNiven award for outstanding service to skindiving activities. During 1967 George was also awarded the AUF’s Beau Beere Trophy for outstanding service at a national level.
With the formation of the NSW Amateur Fishermen’s Advisory Council in 1968 George was appointed to represent spearfishing and served on this council until 1992.
In 1971 George was Manager/Coach for the Australian Team to the World Spearfishing Championships at Iquique Chile and in 1973 Manager/Coach for the Australian Team to the World Spearfishing Championships at Paracas Peru as well as being Manager/Coach for the Australian Team to the InterPacific Spearfishing Championships from 1972 until 1982.
In 1979 George was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to underwater sporting Activities and in 2008 was presented with the Commonwealth Sports Achievement Award for continued service to sport over 55 years.
During this summary it hasn’t been possible to cover the full extent of Georges contribution as a true pioneer spearfisher and spearfishing custodian.
For many years George has been my guiding light and I will truly miss him.
Mel Brown AM