Here’s a mixture of pictures selected by PIX (a weekly picture-news magazine in Australia) editors. Once selected I’d be asked to tell a staff reporter like Syd King, Ben Mitchell or later, Jim Oram what it was all about. The magazine paid sufficiently. They were a good crew. Editor Bob Nelson especially. Meanwhile I was shooting 16mm film footage for my future project, a documentary that would enable travel as well as an income. It was a good plan but eventually there was home video which made cinema films expensive for families. (click to enlarge pages).
FATHOM magazine was compiled by divers. For the first time in Australia, dramatic pictures and stories kept accurate by the people who wrote and published the material. All original pages now online for students of the sea. A benchmark to help understand the slow but steady changes occurring in the marine world. From shark hunting of 1963 to the beautiful underwater photo images of today.
There could be several reasons why visits ashore on Raine Island have been stopped, that is without a permit – which can’t be obtained anyway. The first that comes to mind are the dozens (hundreds?) of turtles that get trapped in crevices on the island and perish during the nesting season. A bonanza for would-be environmental film producers.
Another reason might be to stop visitor graffiti on walls inside the stone tower.
What makes the ban more curious is that the island does not appear clearly on Google Earth, anymore, while surrounding reef does. Same applies for other islands in The Coral Sea. Willis Island, Marion Reef, Herald Cays, Saumarez Reef, Chesterfield Reef etc. All have been blurred.
Raine Island is located at the top of the Great Barrier Reef, about one day of boat travel from the tip of Cape York.
The stone tower is an early navigational aid. Sailing ships heading for England used this as a marker when ‘turning left’ (to port) to sail around the tip of Cape York.
A few got stuck on Great Detached Reef – about 15 kilometers to the south. Such were the perils of ocean travel 150 years ago.
Pictured above is Barry May, November 1983
There was an era when underwater photography was rare, unusual and novel. I purchased a Calypso-phot camera in 1963 and on a memorable safari north with friends, asked Ron Taylor to take a single picture of me with a crayfish. This was North West Island in July 1963. When the film was processed I saw for the first time what I looked like as a diver, underwater. No big deal today but back then it was a real thrill.
Tiger shark about to bite the pole camera (1975).
Married in December 1964, the above picture was the following month in 1965 while returning from the Australian Spear fishing Championships at Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Ron and Valerie returned via Mount Gambier near the South Australian and Victoria border to do the first truly professional underwater shots in the crystal clear fresh water. Ron mostly used color film in a 6x6cm Rolleiflex with wide angle lens – not the usual Rolleimarin housing. This print was made from an inter-negative taken from the color original by Ron in his home darkroom. Valerie often retouched the B&W prints using her skills acquired as a commercial artist on The Silver Jacket (adventure magazine for boys), this print appears to be as original. The fresh water in Picaninnie Ponds isn’t exactly ‘freezing’ but you have a headache after 90 seconds and three minutes might be maximum before common sense says ‘get out’. Here in her late twenties in this picture, Valerie shows enormous will-power that has seen her persist or endure discomforts associated with diving better than anyone else I can think of – either male or female. This picture is from a series first published in Everybody’s magazine that amazed Australian underwater photographers and also established Ron as the leader – a position he could still challenge without difficulty.
Valerie with Silky shark (1965) during filming of “Surf Scene” at Flinders Reef, Queensland
One of my favorite pictures of Valerie is this portrait from 1967 in one of the fresh water sink holes near Mt. Gambier, South Australia. Ron was making his documentary The Cave Divers. I used a Rolleiflex camera with flash fill. Valerie viewed the picture for the first time in July 2010.