Thursday, 19 July 2012


Wally's cousin was a keen swimmer, Miss Avril Hay in 1958
Queensland Groper at Heron Island, November divers convention 1963
Collecting shark eggs at Coffs Harbour, NSW
'Jewies' Coffs Harbour
Decompressing, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Port Jackson shark eggs

The 11foot 1 inch Tiger shark killed with a (larger than usual) 10 gauge shotgun powerhead in 1963. Photographed at Heron Island but caught at nearby Sykes Reef.  For many years it was and maybe still is the largest shark taken by a freediver in Australia - however shark hunting has since fallen out of vogue.  Powerheads need to be licensed and can no longer be fired from spearguns.  In this case Wal used a handspear.  Most powerheads took smaller 12 gauge cartridges.

(above)  Fathom magazine, 480 pages in total.   FATHOM MAGAZINE

Wal's boat at Heron Island. Unable to have it towed to the island he followed the passenger boat's wake. 
Wally Gibbins' great grandmother  (was Australian aboriginal from the Darling River region of Walgett, New South Wales.  Wally was therefore regarded by authorities as 1/8th aboriginal,  this information was learned by relatives in 2012.
 .At Coffs Harbour, "Bali-Hai" before being renamed "Mr Wally" - intended to be a Solomon Islands-based salvage vessel operated in partnership with long term diving friend, John Sumner. Wal believed there was a Spanish shipwreck south of Guadalcanal island that may yield treasure. Nearby island-people pre WW2 had European facial features indicating shipwreck survivors may have spent time living there.  Another plan was to salvage live post WW2 dumped ammunition from deep water using a mechanical grab guided by a video camera.



bould for making lead bullets (slugs)

serving spoon

gold sovereigns

 silver coins some probably worn by crew

diamond ring, ruby ring, ring for wax seal impressions

Various locations featured here. West Irian, Lord Howe Island (giant black cod), Heron Island (brown spotted cod) and a lot of NSW lobsters somewhere.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


Wally Gibbins was age 13 when the war was happening in The Solomon Islands. 

"Mister Wally" (originally Bali Hai)

At Sawtell NSW - shipping salvage gear to The Solomon Islands.
Pictured: Malcolm McLeod (nephew), John Sumner and Wally Gibbins

Bonegi II wreck - about 10 miles from Honiara, max depth 95 feet.

Bonegi  II  wreck near Honiara

Ruinui wreck varies in depth 25 ft to 150 feet
Bonegi shallow water
Wally was married, briefly.
Mal McLat HMAS Penguin's naval hospital when he had 'the bends' .
(Mal  married one of the nurses).

Wal's nephew and salvage diver, Malcolm McLeod lived with Wally and his mother. Later the house was lost financially when a deal involving buying a professional fishing boat and license went sour. Then Mal had a fatal accident with a rifle in his bedroom.  It was not a good time for Wally and his mother.

Story published in People magazine covers an incident while working with  Ben Cropp.
Invited to host a dive trip, Captain Wally Muller owner of the charter boat Coralita called on the services of' Wally' to host diving expeditions when the ship scheduled trips to The Solomon Islands.  They encountered a live volcano erupting at sea with chunks of lava flying overhead and to the other side of the vessel.

Emergency  2nd wheel from a US oil supply vessel, WW2 , Solomon Islands

Brass plaques and port holes from various WW2 shipwrecks in The Solomon Islands brought to Australia by Wal but most or all have since disappeared. Here they were displayed at his Toormina shipwreck and sea shell museum, until the late 1980s.

Aedes egypti mozzie

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"Skindiving in Australia" magazine Volume 6 Number 1. (circa 1977)

Note:  Better quality pictures will replace these if and when the originals turn up. Any suggestions welcome.