Seventy Fifth Anniversary Celebration

Saturday 7th October

farewell Peter and may the fish rise to meet you

A big day of celebration and remembrance, where the morning saw 30 spearfishers gather on the shore of Camp Cove to celebrate the life of former USFA president Peter Saunders. People came from Queensland, Newcastle and the South Coast to remember our good friend Pete, memories about Pete and his antics, good and hilarious came out from the crowd. Alby Cooke from the Sea Lions set up a wonderful viking funeral where we walked through a corridor of saluting spearos and pushed a flaming cauldron out into the sea, cheers of “Hurrah” rang across the sea, it was a splendid start to a meaningful day.

The main event was held at the Sydney Game Fishing Club, Watson’s Bay, an excellent venue for the occassion. Speeches and recollections were given over the afternoon, highlights were the two gentleman John Wright and Kerry Heffernan who were actually present at the original meeting of spearfishers to form the USFA, 75 years earlier, they were 6 and 4 years old at the time. John could recall parts of that auspicious day, we were in awe. John and Eva Black, the only married couple to win the National Championships in the same year were in attendance, and it was great to hear Blacky regale the earlier decades of spearfishing. These memories from our elders have been passed on to the younger divers and so the stories and memories of our pioneers, as well as the importance of the Association, passes on for another generation.

Johhny Wright and Kerry Heffernan
Neville Price – Dolphins, Mick Arentz – Dragons, Russell Woods – Dolphins, Gunther Pfrengle – Dragons

I mentioned earlier this year about how and why the USFA was formed ( and in the short speech I gave I specifically mentioned how the USFA of today still rings true to the actions desired of the original committe and members when forming the Underwater Spear Fishers Association, that being: Official recognition of “speargunners”; to educate the community about spearfishing; to stop safe access areas being denied to spearfishers; to enhance codes of conduct and safety; lastly, to enable those still to come to be able to spearfish in the coming decades.

Lucky winner Darren Higgins with Ray Powell of DiveR and President Simon Trippe

All in all a terrific day, enjoyed by all who attended. Too many people to thank, Annita from the Game Fishing Club, Rico for providing his amazing Paella, obviously the current USFA Committee – fantastic people all, particularly Mel Brown our National Spearfishing Historian for displaying an amazing array of Australian design and built spearfishing equipment. Thank you too for those who attended Peter’s farewell, and, the function. Too those who missed the day, well, I guess I shall see you all at the Centenary!

Oly Wady from Revesby Workers winning the Adreno prize – Ascension wetsuit. Pat Mullins and Craig Seadog

Sponsors! Thank you to our long term sponsors of USFA events – Adreno Spearfishing and Craig Seadog the Sydney store manager; Bob McComb of McComb spearguns; Ray Powell of DiveR; Manny Bova of Mannysub Roller spearguns.

McComb Speargun winner Lynton Howes of the Dolphins with former USFA President Bob McComb
Manny “Mannysub” Bova, Mel Brown National Spearfishing historian, Kerry Heffernan

A Celebration of Life

Pete Saunders

A good friend to many of us and an outstanding advocate for spearfishing. Pete was always happy to help someone out.

On the morning of the 75th Anniversary of the USFA celebrations we are having a Viking send off for Pete. Details in the image below. Hope to see you there on the beach to honour Pete and afterwards at the Sydney Gamefishing Club to celebrate spearfishing and to a man who helped it thrive.

Vale: Les Gleaves

Les Gleaves, Sans Souci Dolphin Life Member, NSW State spearfishing representative, UW hockey player, great all-round fisherman and man of the sea, an excellent pool player, and just an all-round gentleman and good guy.  

Appearing at the Dolphins in the late 60’s as a gangly, quiet teenager Les quickly made his mark spearfishing amongst his peers. 

Growing into phenomenal strength both physically and mentally, and possessing a freakish breath hold and a fantastic fish sense  Les had this unerring ability to usually spear the biggest fish of an outing. Les held the World and National Record for Dogtooth Tuna at 55kg, an amazing achievement at this time (speared in 1986 in the Coral Sea) the record lasting a decade.

Selfless and a good listener. he would be that guy who would often take the juniors and beginners on his boat, never worrying much if it affected his day; you could ask Les anything and he would tell you what he knew to help you progress; he would listen to everyone’s tales of woe (typical of all fishermen) yet I could bet after you spilled your misery he would have some quip, or his own experiences of the day to say  to brighten your own day. Les continually assisted on committees of his club, Zone and State and held positions as Sports Secretary and Records Officer amongst other roles.

Revered amongst the Spearfishing Association scene as a lovely bloke, who possessed a cracking sense of humour, Les was seldom seen without a beer in hand after a dive usually bare chested wearing his customary wetsuit shorts for all seasons and climes.  Les was a fount of knowledge on all things fish, superb at fish identification, and complemented this with knowing where best to find each species of fish.

Les with Maori Wrasse and sea snake adornment

Les,  myself and plenty of others were looking forward to catching up with you at the USFA’s coming 75th anniversary, those that had the good fortune to have met you will miss you, may the waters you dive be clear, the fish abundant, your spear flies true and forever cold is your beer.  Thank you for being so kind and patient with me, and for everything you gave to spearfishing, you never asked for anything in return. You were one of my heroes.



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. Continue reading VALE GEORGE DAVIES BEM PIONEER SPEARFISHER