Friday, 10 August 2012


Brian Raison, Sans Souci Dolphins
(More about  Wal's nephew, Malcolm McLeod under "SALVAGE")
The late Trina Fleischman  at Seal Rocks, New South Wales.

Various friends in December 1963 - Kangaroo Island, South Australia for the Australian Championships.
Rodney Fox a few days after his stitches were removed.
Vic Ley aboard Riversong with his catch from 'The Fish Tail' region of North West Island.

Rodney on holiday at North Stradbroke Island, Queensland  in 1967

North Stradbroke Island (underwater) <Click

Australian champion spear fisherman Vic Ley with large flathead from Hat Head and (below) Vic (also known as "Snowie") boating a Mulloway speared near  Jibbon Bommie, Sydney.  Margret Peard admires the catch.

L-R  Robert Hatch, Frank Swinkles, George Davies - all with Newcaste Neptunes club at Seal Rocks, NSW.
George Davies 'Ode to Wally' appears at the end of this blog.

(Why I quit spear fishing competitions by Bob Grounds)

 by Robert E Grounds (above with Grey Nurse in 1968)

Bob Grounds replaced Wally on the Riversong trip to Saumarez Reef in 1964
appearing in "Slaughter at Saumarez" by Ron Taylor Film Productions

(Jack being a pioneer spear fishing diver of the 1950s and earlier)


Trina Fleischmann (in 1999)  former hired  baby sitter aboard BEVA when Wally and Ben Cropp were in The Solomon Islands and elsewhere, caring for Lynn Cropp's young family while Lynn worked in film production. Later in early 2013 Ben would sadly scatter Trina's ashes at Hope Island, north of Port Douglas, Queensland. Trina had become a lifelong friend who participated in a dozen film making expeditions with Ben and crew over three decades  (Other pictures of Trina at Seal Rocks blog:
John Harding and John Fairfax visit Wal at the Sunday market where he sold sea shells
John Harding shark photography

Fathom magazine  issue 3  page 27   (1971)
Dave Moran of New Zealand does a hard hat test dip.
 Ben Cropp's dinghy (driven by John Harding) accidentally ran over the large shark while following it for photography the aim being to use an underwater pole camera.  Surprisingly, the shark retaliated by biting and firmly holding onto the pontoon for several minutes. Usually if a shark is injured it will flee.  Initial ID was "tiger shark" later inquiries have suggested  a Lemon shark.  An Australian shark expert (with the CSIRO) could not ID the species from the still pictures except to say "it is not a tiger shark".

Trina Fleischmann inspecting the damage to Ben Cropp's dinghy - which has an aluminium hull, fortunately.
Ben Cropp was a part-owner of Marineland.  Ron Cox became the manager.

Note the penetrating possibility of a very sharp (barb-less) spear, sharpened into a triangular point.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


Sawtell N.S.W.
The once very rare Gloria maris - found at night on black sand near river mouths frequented by crocodiles and sharks.
Wally Gibbins had a skin diving career that spanned the Pacific Ocean.  He salvaged non ferrous metals from Japanese war ships in deep water, often using high explosives contained within the ships the blow them open.  Today some tourist dive companies regard his outstanding career as vandalism, failing to recognise the pioneering aspects of diving.
Spear fishing was a hobby in which he excelled at a time when few others were anywhere near matching his skills or exploits.

Also a keen shell collector his knowledge was admired by academics of this field, especially when he found numerous Gloria maris, the rarest sea shell in our part of the world and released by mail his 'price list' based on lengths of each specimen.  Experts were dumbfounded at the time.

The large 'shoulder gun' was useful, Wal explained his tequnique. 'tuck the butt under your arm thus allowing a particularly fast horizontal swing to be made underwater - i.e. when aiming at fast swimming large fish'.  Many friends were unable to load one of Wal's large guns.