Saturday 7th October
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.
I mentioned earlier this year about how and why the USFA was formed (https://usfa.org.au/happy-seventy-five-usfa/) 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.
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!
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.