|CLASSIC DIVE BOOKS
AUSTRALIA - Recreational diving.
GUIDE TO SOUTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES SHIPWRECKS
Tom Byron Publishers. Sydney.
This excellent book is ideal for those wishing to dive or learn more about the ships sunk off the southern NSW coast. Eighty-seven ships are covered, most are steamers, and most have the GPS location markings, and/or visual guides, and location charts. Site information is covered and a history of the vessel, and its final moments. Includes 116 illustrations. The wrecksite drawings are of prticular interest.
Softcover, 160 pages, mono photographs, charts, drawings, ship index, quick reference of losses, list of ships known to have been lost but not found. And includes a CD-ROM
OF AUSTRALIAN DIVE SITES
A practical book of ‘standard' book size, stiff laminated board cover, 288 pages, full colour.
This is a well put together book covering in brief detail some of the major dive sites in Australia, in full colour with mono maps of locations. The dive sites within each section chapter are indexed by degree of difficulty - Novice, Advanced, Expert, which is a useful guide. A typical location will have some sixty words, describing the terrain, accesibility, marine life and visibility; this a basic indication of what is available in a well presented book.
|AUSTRALIA AND THE SOUTH PACIFIC
Simon & Shuster, Australia. 1989. ISBN 0 7318 0004 4.
Brilliant photographs. Covers the major diving regions in Australia, and also Papua New Guinea, Solomons, Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands. (And some photographs and chapters written by yours truly).
Hardcover, 247 pages, large A4 format, full colour.
|AUSTRALIA DOWN UNDER
Christine Deacon & Kevin Deacon.
Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd, 1986, reprinted 1987. Second edition 1988. ISBN 0 86824 241 1.
Great photos. The finest colour publication of Australian dive locations. Covers all states, cave-diving, coral diving and shipwrecks. But what about Bass Strait? Arguably the best book on Australia's diving divided into sections on marine life, shipwrecks, temperate and tropical water diving. Many full page colour photos, many photographically aesthetic, others descriptive.
Hardcover, 272 pages, large A4 format, full colour.
Copies still available from Oceans Enterprises.
|CAVE DIVING IN AUSTRALIA
Ian Lewis and Peter Stace.
Self published, South Australia
First edition 1980, second edition 1982. ISBN 0 9594963 0 0
A most valuable book and sadly outof print for many years.
Provides a detailed description of the many freshwater caves and sinkholes in the Mount Gambier district of south-east South Australia, one of the famous freshwater caving regions in the world.
Softcover, 174 pages, sketches of cave and sinkhole profiles, history, level of expertise required, equipment, access.
DIVE AUSTRALIA. Peter Stone.
First published in 1978 as a small pocket directory of dive shops and air-fil stations around Australia, it grew to a much larger directory in 1980, and then into a full book Dive Australia in 1982, published by Oceans Enterprises, Melbourne. Four editions up to 1999, with a fifth edition in preparation 2009. First edition (of the book) , softcover, 268 pages, mono photos and maps - it has grown to over 600 pages and many photographs and maps with the latest edition. First edition subtitled: A Directory of Dive Locations, Dive Shops and Services in Australia compiled by Peter Stone. It was the first book in Australia to publish services and locations throughout the island continent. Fourth edition is called Peter Stone's Dive Australia - A Handbook for Scuba Divers. First edition contains advertisements of many of the dive shops operating at the time. The early edition is of some historic value, whilst the latest edition is of great practical value. [ps]
The fifth edition of Dive Australia (left) was released in 2012. For the first time the book is in hardcover, with laminated boards; 1010 pages, mono and colour plates, maps.
Scuba Divers Federation of Australia.
This was the second edition of the directory of clubs and services, published April 1980. It was produced for the SDFAS by its then Administration Manager Peter Stone.
Saddle stapled, 86 pages. A5 format.
The Dive Directory resulted in Peter Stone publishing Dive Australia in 1982, and subsequent editions.
|DIVERS IN TIME. Australia's
The author is well known for his many well researchedand fascinating articles on diving history that appear regularly in thediving magazines, as well as his book ‘Niagara's Gold'. The first thingI checked out was to see if there was any mention of Noel and Kitty Monkman- and there was, indeed a very good tribute to these pioneer Australianfilm-makers. The seven major chapters cover: The Standard Dress Divers,The Pearl Divers, The Inventors, The Salvage Divers, Divers at Work, TheNavy Divers, The Scuba Divers. Thus the book covers commercial and militaryoperations, police, pearl and navy divers, and the introduction of recreationalscuba into Autralia. A great read, educational and entertaining. And didyou know - the single-hose regulator, now used by divers worldwide, wasinvented in Melbourne? Softcover, 158 pages, large A4 size, mono prints.
Currently available from Oceans Enterprises.
A Story of Pearling Days.
First published 1949. reprinted 1951.
Angus and Robertson, Syndey, London.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 258 pages, some mono prints.
Tells of diving for pearl in Torres Strait and the Solomon Islands - and a fight to the death with a Japanese diver.
and Snorkelling Guide to AUSTRALIA: SOUTHEAST COAST AND TASMANIA.
A Pisces Guide.
Covers the best temperate water diving in Australia. A handy general indication of the major dive regions in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Fairly superficial in what it covers but gives and indication of the general regions where there is known excellen diving.
Excellent photography of temperate water species.
Softcover, 88 pages.
AROUND VICTORIA'S SOUTH WEST.
Dive sites from Moonlight Head to Portland. An informative guide.
Softcover, 54 pages.
A Guide to 40 of the Top Dive Sites from Heron Island to Byron Bay.
John Wright. First published in 1990 by the Division of Information, Department of Lands (Queensland Government).
It would appear that the 'entries' in this book were at one time published 'serially' in the Courier-Mail newspaper, issued in Brisbane. (John Wright was a journalist with the newspaper). With an introudction by Col McKenzie who was Presaident of trhe Queensland Tourism Assoiaation of Australia, its purpose was, apparently, to encourage tourism.
Softcover, A4 size, 86 paages, mono photographs and detailed drawings of dive locations, 16 pages of colour plates. Detail includes visuaal markings via photographs. The detail of description is particularly useful, a personal account of the sites as actually experienceed by the author. Despite having written Dive Australia, I was not aware of the book until 2009 when I saw it listed on the internet. I have no idea of the print run but it would have been relatively small I would suggest, and only distributed in Queensland, probably just through the dive shops. [ps]
Horwitz Publications, Sydney, 1970.
Second impression (revised) November 1981.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 143 pages, mono and colour photographs.
Revised edition printed on better quality semi-gloss paper. If indeed it was 'revised' I can see no evidence of it.
Would have been a most useful book in its day, covering all aspects of diver training and diver activity, including marine life, and underwater photography.
UNDER AT THE PROM.
Marg O'Toole & Malcolm Turner.
A very well presented book covering sites as well as marine animals off Wilsons Promontory. Commences with a description of the unique features of ‘The Prom', the diving opportunities, and use of underwater photography. This is followed by an extensive section on the marine life - why the Prom is so interesting: its seaweeds and grasses, the sponges, cnidarians, worms, mosses, crustacea, sea-spiders, echinoderms, molluscs, sea-squirts, fish, mammals and seabirds. A thirty page section covers the better dive sites in some detail.Definitely recommended reading. Covers the majopr locations, and strong on mrine life to be expected. Softcover,110 pages, further reading and index, full colour.
UNDER MAGIC - The Early Years of Skin and Scuba Diving
Self published, Silvester Investments Pty Ltd, 2012.
Softcover, 282 pages, many mono photographs.
All early Melbourne divers in the fifties, sixties and early seventies would remember Bill Silvester, or at least certainly know of him. Through the Black Rock Underater Diving Group, and his Associated Divers' Academy (which he founded), many would have been trained by Bill and his insructors at ADA. After a soujourn in spearfishing (like so many others), Bill easily moved into scuba in the early days of the development of the sport. It is his reminiscent memories of these early days of the establishment of scuba in Melbourne that make the book so interesting - and as a valuable document in the oral - and now written - history of the sport. I was a johnny-come-lately to scuba and not trained by ADA in 1970, but five or so years later I did a ‘refresher' course with ADA to gain the FAUI open water card, then a necessity (along with others) to get a fill, hire gear etc. By then Bill had moved on to New South Wales. Down Under Magic is what I understand to be the first in maybe a trilogy of Bill's autobiography, and for Victorian divers, the most interesting I am sure as it reflects the play-ground that we are so familiar with. After a couple of chapters of Bill's early life as a young Pommy immigrant, (he arrived in Melbourne in 1946), Bill shares his early days of spearfishing before scuba. Surprisingly perhaps, it was Bill's father who saw a spearfisherman off Mornington one day which encouraged the elder Silvester to take up the sport, and young Bill soon followed, with such enthusiasm that is still typical of the man to this day. Spearfishing championships followed, and the formation of Black Rock Skindivers, as it was then. As scuba entered the scene and ad-hoc training was by friend and clubs, it was inevitable that commerial scuba courses would soon follow. The establishment of ADA (when?, I could see no date) resulted from a need - many spearfishers were itching to get on to scuba, (perhaps for the wrong reasons), and willing to pay four quid for a course. By now we are about half-way through the book, and Bill goes on to describe some superb dive sites around the Victorian coast and Bass Strait, Mout Gambier and the Capricorn Group (Qld), that we still enjoy. To many older divers, these reminisces will bring back fine memories. They were the pioneering days of wreck diving and Bill was not averse to putting a stick of AN70 down his pants and blowing up a wreck to retrieve the non-ferrous material. Even if not trained by ADA, the authoritive textbook for scuba training in the seventies was The Down Under Scuba Diver by Bill. He followed this up with The Magic of Scuba many years later. There are several reasons that establish Down Under Magic as a valuable book - its historic record (could use more dates, Bill!), its parochial nature of Victorian divers, and its easy casual read. It's the sort of book that you can dip into, or just read of those wrecks and incidents of relevance to your own past. It is certainly a book for us oldies, but the younger divers would do well to read of how scuba was developed in Victoria. Quite fascinating really. Bill and his mates were true pioneers of diving in Australia.
See below The Down Under Scuba Diver, The Magic of Scuba.
First published 1956, Angus and Robertson, Sydney and Melbourne.
Hardcover, dust jacket, 182 pages, mono and colour plates throughout.
I swear I will read this book one day. The author was an adventurer, and his escape to adventure included land activities as well as ‘diving with an aqualung and camera'. He was one of the first in Australia to shoot cinematography, and did so with Australian actors Charles Tingwell and Chips Refferty. His speciality was macro and micro photography, shooting much of the sequences for the American film The Sea Around Us. We don't hear much of Monkman within diving circles but he is worthy of a place as one of Australia'ss pioneer divers. The book is not rare, and crops up in most second-hand stores. [ps]
Pearl Divers and Sea Rovers in Australian Seas. Ion L. Idriess.
First published 1937, the second edition the same year (which I have), Angus & Roberston Limited, Sydney.
Hard cover, no dust jacket, 343 pages, mono plates throughout.
A first edition of this book would be nice - a collectors item and quite valuable, from the stable of a prolific and well respected author. It is a wonderful book, superbly writen of course, and of great historicc value as it documents the pearl divers of, predominantly, Broome in Western Australia. A ',must read' for all recreational and commercial divers.
|GODS AND LITTLE
First published 1962. Peter davies, London.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 238 pages, 24 mono plates centrally placed.
The author is no doubt the doyen of writers of underwater material in Australia, and a most expereinced diver. This book was obviously published for the British market, looking for some excitement in the undersea of the Mediterranean and Australian waters. I think this is the first of his several books which included the award winning Islands of Angry Ghosts. Of limited historical interest but a very good read.
See authors webpage.
HANDBOOK FOR SKINDIVERS Ben Cropp
First published 1962, Afco Pty Ltd, Sydney. Continued into many editions through fifteen years.
By the fifth printing in 1971, it had changed publishers to Pollard Publishing, NSW; in 1974 it was completely ‘revised and enlarged'; in 1977 Jack Pollard managed to get hold of the copyright, and the book was publisshed by Rigby Limited, Melbourne as Australian Skindivers Handbook.
Original 1962 edition (photo, left), softcover, 148 pages, mono photographs throughout, drawings and charts, ten pages of advertisements;1971 edition, hardcover, dust jacket, 169 pages, plus 4 pages colour plates; 1977 Rigby edition, softcover, 256 pages.
Ben Cropp rates with the Taylors as one of Australia's greatest pioneers of recreational diving, a great spearfisherman , cinematographer, documentary maker, wreck diver, and adventurer. Whereas the content now is rather passe, it was a good read in its day and no doubt encouraged many a diver. The early Afco editions are scarce, and the firstedition a collectors item.
From the fly (fifth edition):
This book provides an engaging introduction to skindiving and a reference work which will remain invaluable long after the fundamentals have been mastered. Australia's internationally respected underwater filmmaker, skindiving instructor, spearf isher man and underwater explorer, Ben Cropp, takes the reader step-by-step through all the skills involved in fully enjoying the underwater world.The book has a wide scope, covering the purchase and care of skindiving equipment, SCUBA diving, underwater photography, all our main fish species, crayfish hunting, the habits of rays, sea snakes, barracuda and other creatures, the procedures in hunting for sharks, salvaging from old shipwrecks, the medical aspects of skin-diving, and how club competitions are conducted. The text has been painstakingly prepared to ensure that all of these features of the sport are explained in terms all can understand — there is a minimum of technicality and a maximum of common sense. A book such as this could only be written by a man of wide experience in skindiving. It is both authoritative in scientific terms and practical from the standpoint of every day diving. Through it all there is an underlying understanding of the skindiver's problems and even of his fears. This probably explains why all the most experienced Australian skindivers—including those who make a living from the sport — always keep a copy of this book handy.
SPEARFISHING AND SCUBA DIVING IN AUSTRALIA.
(The First 80 years 1917 to 1997).
Tom Byron. Tom Byron Publishers, Sydney, No date but presume 1998.
It is unusuallypresented in that it departs from the normal continuous text concept andrelies instead on hundreds of newspaper-style headings and stories, someindeed condensed directly from newspaper and magazine articles. It is thereforeand eminently readable book as you can skip from article to article asthe interest warrants - from death to treasure, failures and achievements,early equipment and technique, and the pioneers of our sport. A most valuablebook and a must for all Aussie divers and anyone interested in sport diving history. Hardcover (laminated boards), A4 size,311 pages, index, many fascinating mono photographs.
Not a classic book as such - at the moment - but a most valuable reference.
Currently available from Oceans Enterprises.
Possibly mid-1970s. No publisher indicated - possibly Australia Sports Publications, Melbourne.
Softcover, 88 pages, mono photos throughout, several colour plates.
Still a very interesting book by one of Australia's most experienced divers. Nayler still lives near Geelong, and hence his ‘territory' was the Port Phillip entrance and western Victorian coastline. Part biography and part location description, the book also covers the sinkholes at Mount Gambier, the submarines, and the ship's graveyard. An important record of early diving in Victoria.
See also by Nayler, 'Wrecks and Relics'.
David Burchell. Published by the author, 1988. ISBN 0 7316 4757 2.
Hardcover, justjacket, 252 pags, mono prints.
From the fly:
David Burchell had just turned sixteen when he lost a leg in a train accident. 'My World' traces his story from this rather dramatic beginning to the present day. It covers the initial despair of a young boy who has to face up to a life with one leg - his convalescence and rehabilitation - the unsuccessful attempt to join the Navy in World War II and his final acceptance by the Air Force. After the war the author worked on catde and sheep stations in the Australian outback and glimpses into this lifestyle are described. After returning to the city he took up the sport of high diving and for fifteen years perfonned with the South Australian Diving Troupe. As a country representative with the Shell Co. he was sent to a remote area and this chapter describes insights into life in an Australian outback town. During this period (1951) he started skin diving and in 1960 he left Shell and founded the Adelaide Skin Diving Centre. For the next twepty years he was one of the pioneers 'of diving in Australia, and trained hundreds of sport and commercial divers. H~ was involved in many stunts and projects - deep dives off the Continen- tal Shelf - exploring flooded gold- mines and the vast flooded underground volcanic systems of Mount Gambier - Para Scuba, when he parachuted from an aircraft in full diving gear and after landing in the sea continued on down and met up with a submarine - World record underwater tow, etc., etc. He has also dived Truk Lagoon in the East Carolines, where over sixty Japanese ships are on the bottom - The Great Barrier Reef - Fiji - The Aegean - and most of the Pacific Islands including the Louisiades, the Solomons and Tahiti. His most important dive was during the search for HMAS Perth which was lost during World War II along with the USS Houston in the Batde of Sunda Strait. The Perth '5 bell, the object of his search, is now in the Australian War Museum in Canberra. Burchell has been described by the New York Times as Australia's James Bond, in Texas he was made an Honorary Citizen of the City of Hous- ton and in Djakarta they called him 007 Dave. The Queen awarded him the British Empire Medal and he was the first South Australian to be fea- tured in the National TV program 'This is Your Life'. 'My World' is a story told with humour about interesting people and situations with the final chapter devoted to the physically and mentally handicapped and all those close to them. [ps]
See also One Foot in the Grave, The Bells of Sunda Strait.
A LIFE DOWUNDER
An Autobiography by David Burchell
Published by: F A Thorpe (Publishing) Ltd, Astey, UK in 1999.
First published in Australia in 1988 under title "My World" . Hard printed cover - 398 printed pages. Dimensions: 25.5 cms tall by 17.5 cms wide. This is the British Edition.
OCEAN OF LIFE. Stephen Parish.
Published in 1974 by Wedneil Publications, Victoria, Australia.
Hardcover, dust jacket, 128 pages, full colour throughoput.
The author is now virtually known throughout Australia - Steve Parish Publishing produce a wide range of travel and educational material of iutstanding quality, based predominantly on the huge photographic library shot by Parish since he 'retired' from the Navy. He was one of Australia's pioneer underwater photographers, and has since extended his expertise into location and wildlife photography, the basis of his company. Ocean of Life stands on its on merit, one of the first colour pubications on Australian marine life (shot mainly in the temperate waters of Jervis Bay). In spite of many more recent publications on Australian marine life, Ocean of Life is still an excellent book, with superb photographs.
|ONE FOOT IN
An autobiography by Dave Burchell.
First published 1967, Heinemann, Melbourne.
Hardcover, dust jacket, 136 pages, mono photographs throughout.
Burchell would have been an incredible man even if a childhood prank with a train didn't cause him to lose a leg. Nothing would have stopped this South Australian venturer from enjoying life at the fullest, and his biography is an inspiring piece of literature. Not only a man of remarkable achievements but also a delightful man to meet. A valuable book in the history of Australian diving.
From the fly:
An accident—brought about by youthful carelessness and related in a graphic first chapter—left Dave Burchell with, as he so pithily expresses it, One Foot in the Grave. However, membership of the one-legged fraternity has not hampered Burchell's activities in any way. With deft touches of dry Australian humour he outlines his fortunes as LAC Burchell, RAAF; life in South Australia's outback as mustering-carnp cook, station-hand and stud master to 'Burchell's brothel'; exhibitions with the SA Swimming Association Diving Troupe; and busy days as a 'back of beyond' oil company representative. Spearfishiug off the West Coast initiated an interest in underwater activities, an interest which grew until today Dave Burchell is an acknowledged expert on diving techniques and underwater exploration. Through diving, and mixing with divers, opportunities for the less mundane always seem to be presenting themselves. These come in many forms ... a chance remark, a casual meeting or a magazine article has sent him off on trails to sunken ships, to dives in subterranean caves and to the edge of the Continental Shelf itself. There have been dives for the hell of it in flooded gold-mines; perilous surveys of underground lakes; and light-hearted practice dives. Burchell has stood by in full diving gear whilst Donald Campbell made his bid for the world water speed record; he has even created a record or two of his own. Diving has taken him to Perth, to Darwin, and to the beautiful reefs of the Astrolabe Lagoon in southern Fiji.The more bizarre efforts have included parachuting from an aircraft into the sea to keep a pre-arranged meeting with a submarine; and being towed on an underwater sled across the shark-infested waters of the Backstairs Passage. In all Dave Burchell has spent many hours diving and the experiences gained in this extremely varied, adventurous and, at times, hazardous career have paved the way for an mmensely enjoyable autobiography.[ps]
Herperian Press, Perth, Western Australia, 1988. ISBN 0 85905 113 7.
From Quinns down to Penguin Island, including Rottnest. Excellent, detailed guide.
Softcover, 128 pages, colour plates, diagrams, index.
A most useful guide.
THE CURLY-TAILED HORSES. Noel Monkman.
An autobiography. First published 1962, Angus and Robertson Ltd, Sydney.
Hardcover, dust jacket, 212 pages, mono and colour plates throughout.
I confess to having opened the pages of this book for the first time a few seconds ago for this ‘review'. So let me repeat what is on the back fly: ‘This is a warmly personal story, charmingly told by a scientist with an artist'ss eye for natural beauty. As readers of Escape to Adventure will know, Noel Monkman's vast curiosity and enthusiasm for the onders shown by the microscope enliven all that he writes about them.' It goes on to suggest that this iss a rewarding and entertaining book. I'll take their word for it as it is way down on my list of priority reading. But Monkman was a pioneer, so it deserves to be read. The book is far less scarce than Escape to Adventure.
DIVERS GUIDE to.......
These are definitive guides to the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland.
All softcover, with varying number of pages. Superbly illustrated with authors colour photos, and fine diagrams and maps. Extensive information on wrecks and major dive sites. These are the most detailed dive guides available on north-eastern and central-eastern Australia. Hundreds of dive sites are covered in each book, with sufficient detail to find the sites covered. In most instances, GPS markings are given for dive sites and shipwrecks. Snorkelling and spearfishing areas have not been neglected. Specific points of interest are noted; for example, unusual terrain such as caves and drop-offs (usually with a diagram), or specific habitats for marine life such as sharks and seals. A dive rating systeem has been introduced to show the 'difficulty' of each dive. Dive shops, charter operators and any other commercial interests are mentioned.
Pages and sizes of each title vary.
SOUTHERN GREAT BARRIER REEF.
Covers the area from Tweed Heads to Great Keppel Islands, and therefore includes Whitsunday Islands (see also a separate book), Stradbroke Island, Moreton Island, Maroocydore, Noosa heads, Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Lady Elliot Island, Heron Island and the Swain Reefs.
CENTRAL GREAT BARRIER REEF.
This covers the locations from Townsville to Mission Beach including the Coral Sea reefs and atolls; Dunk Island, Magnetic Island, the wreck of the Yongala, Flinders Cay.
CAIRNS and NORTHERN GREAT BARRIER REEF.
This one contains detailed information on all the top dive locations on the Great Barrier reef north of Cairns including Port Douglas, Cooktown, Ribbon Reefs, the world famous 'Cod Hole', Lizard Island, far northern Coral Sea reefs, Barrier Reef, the wreck of the historic (and protected) Pandora, and Quetta. Accommodation on land and on live-aboard dive boards is included, and a brief expose of the marine life.
This covers the Whitsunday Islands in much greater detail than that of the Southern Barrier Reef, and is a must for anyone cruising the islands or staying on one of the land or island resorts. It includes dive sites and shipwrecks, accommodation and m,any interesting facts about this most beautiful region. Here you will also finsd details on the islands of Hamilton, Hayman, Daydream, South Molle, Hook, Long and Brampton, and details on the coastal towns.
NEW SOUTH WALES NORTH COAST.
Covers the region from North Head (Pot Jackson) right through to magnificent Byron Bay , with every known shipwreck and hundreds of dive sites covered with Tom's remarkable detail. Includes CD Rom with video clips, wrecks, photos.
NEW SOUTH WALES SOUTH COAST.
Covers from South Head (Port Jackson) down to Eden and Green Cape with sixty-four shipwrecks mentioned, and special sites where grey nurse sharks are guaranteed. Includes CD Rom with video clips, wrrecks, photos.
Jervis Bay is one of the most popular regions for temperate water diving on the east coast of Australia, and has a number of excellent dive sites within the bay, heads and open coast. Includes CD-ROM.
First published 1964, Rigby Limited, Adelaide etc.
Hardcover, dust jacket, 192 pages, mono prints.
Part biographical, part adventure, part biology. How things have changed. As I write this, there is an enthusiastic campaigne to save the Grey Nurse shark. Longer is it 'cool' to kill a shark just for the macho pleasure. But things were different forty years ago, and with the filkms and books by Cropp, we have marnt much about the marine environment and the need to preserve its oft-fragile life.
This title has been reprinted several times, and is available as a 'two books in one' paperback, with 'Whale of a Shark', Seal Books, a division of Lansdowne Publishing, Sydney 1995.
Landsowne Press, Melbourne, 1975. Reprinted in 'limp edition', ie softcover, also in 1975.
Hardcover, dustjacket, landscape format, 128 paages, full colour throughout, and mono photographs.
The author is an icon of Australian diving and an award-winning author. This very interesting book is a collection of essays from other authors also. The full list of chapters: the Great White Shark, Ron Taylor; The Pieces of Eight, Hugh Edwards; A Shark Took My Leg, Henri Bource; The Niagra Gold, Johnno Johnstone; An Eel Named Harry, Valerie Taylor; The Shark Fisherman, Hugh Edwards; At the Bottom of Sunda Strait: HMAS Perth, Dave Burchell; A Fragment of Lace, Marilyn Edwards; Riding the Whale Shark, Ben Cropp; The Great Shark of Jurien Bay, Hugh Edwards; Putl:ing the Pieces Together, Jeremy Green; The Elingamite Treasure, Wade Doak; The South Australian Shark Attacks; Brian Rodger and Rodney Fox; Swimming with Sea Snakes, Eva Cropp; A Year of Whales, John Harding; The First Zuytdorp Dive, Max Cramer; The Invisible Invaders, Neville Coleman.
As you will note from the contributors, the book covers the interests of maritime archaeology, the marine sciences, sharks of course, treasure diving, shipwrecks and cinematography. A great read. I personally like it as it includes so many good friends that I have had the honour to meet over the past four decades. [ps]
See also authors page.
DIVES OF VICTORIA.
Oceans Enterprises, Yarram, Victoria.
Softcover, 176 pages, mono photographs and many site charts.
This excellent book covers some 120 dive sites from Cape Otway to Wilsons promontory, including Port Phillip and Westernport. The diagrams are detailed and enable the diver to locate the site precisely. Site descriptions and historic information of wrecks adds to the value of the book. Meticulously researched and dived, it provides details of lanD access and underwater terrain including reefs, wrecks, piers, and seabed composition. Take this book with you and you can pinpoint your dive site. Quite superb.
First published 1975, Paul Hamlyn Pty Ltd, Sydney.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 96 pages, A4 size, mono photographs throughout, several colour plates.
Despite Hugh Edwards being arguably the doyen of Australia's diving authors (see Islands of Angry Ghosts), this is a fairly superficial book, covering a n umber of topics including technique, ‘sharks and other sea creatures', photography, ‘diving for treasure' etc - a ‘popular' book by a mainstream publisher for the popular market. Of no great historic value.
See also authors page.
: START HERE IF YOU WANT TO GO SKINDIVING
Peter Little and David English. Adapted for Australi by Peter Stone.
First published in 1981 by Puffin Books, in Britain. Australian adaptation printed by Penguin Books, 1982.
Softcover, 34 pages, spot-colour lin drawings throughout.
Indulge me, please! This was my first book. It was most fortunate that the editors at Penguin realised that the British edition of a book on skin-diving may not be so appropriate for Australia, so they asked me to edit it. I had to re-write a great deal as some of the items mentioned were not appropriate. Still, I couldn't get thepublishers to delete 'flippers' and insert 'fins'. Anyway, it was great fun.
Edward Du Cros.
Angus and Robertson (Publishers)
Pty Ltd, Sydney.
First published 1960. No other editions.
Full REVIEW of book.
|SKINDIVERS AND SHIPWRECKS
Preface is dated 1973. No published date, no publisher list - possibly Australian Sports Publications, Melbourne.
Softcover, 96 pages, mono photographs throughout, hand-drawn charts.
The author was another enthusiastic and experienced Geelong-based diver who roamed the Port Phillip Heads and western Victorian coastline seeking shipwrecks - ‘my interest in writing this book was to record some of the events of the past few years, perhaps taking the non-divving public into the submarine world of the wreck diver'. Denmead has achieved his objective. The book is still very readable today, and deserves a place as an historical record of events. Copys are generally scarce.
Barry Andrewartha was the first to publish a book specifically
on spearfishing in Australian waters. He went on to produce the magazine
Skindiving in Australia in 1971, which led on to the current Sport Diving
SHARK AND SCUBA.
Reed Education, a division of A.H. & A.W. Reed Pty Ltd, Sydney, Wellington, London, 1973.
Book 1 in the Threesomes Series. Softcover, 64 pages, mono prints, some drawings.
For the English Teachers' Association of New South Wales. A rather strange book in that it does not seem to have a purpose, but I guess it has something to do with the teaching of English at school level, apparently primary, and the basic teaching of the subjects of the three units -'The Beckoing Surf', 'Demons of the Deep', and 'Adventures Under Water'. Only one section, the latter, is on scuba. It is rather basic, with a 'chapter' on 'Ben Cropp - Shark Hunter', and 'Treasure from the Sea', 'Treasure from Wrecked Ships', and 'Farming the Sea'. The units include questions for the reader on each of the units studied.
AUSTRALASIAN DIVE DIRECTORY 1996/97
The Complete Dive Directory for Professional and Recreational Scuba Divers
Publishing editor GlennWelsh.
Published by Publishing Parytners Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1996.
A4 size, perfect bound, 160 pages, colour.
Billed as 'the first annual Australasian Dive Directory' and 'the most cpmprehensive directory yet', it seems to have been a monumental failure as no further editions were produced. Even at the time many advertisers, incliding myself, had doubts about its distribution. Was it to be gfioven out free, or sold and of so by whom and for what price etc etc. It was never stocked by Oceans Enterprises who was the only independf distributor of diving books in Australia at the time. The production itself was well done and comprehensive, covering all aspects of the commercial side of diving, and thus generated revenue from the advertisers. Not enough apparently. In such a volatile industry where businesses come and go at the whim of a parents's wallet, a publication like this would have needed to be updated at least annually, as was the publishers apparent intention. Had it done so, it would have been an excellent product resource, with dive shops and dive schools featured as well as equipment, charter boats and anything else to do with the selling of scuba. Of course, such a publication will never be done again due to - the Internet. Even Dive Austraalia, the only current dive directory has a limited book life - and it never tried to list all the commercial outlets, concentrating on locations. [ps]
DIVE SITES OF THE GREAT BARRIER REEF AND THE CORAL SEA
A New Holland publication.
Softcover, 176 pages. full colour, maps.
Exceptionally well illustrated, with the islands and reefs from the Capricorn and Bunker Groups (Heron island) to the far north reefs of Holmes, Bougainville and Osprey. The maps are excellent and the colour photographs relevant. Each site has a number of codes to indicate diveability. Coleman also includes a valuable section on travelling in Queensland, government rules and regulations, health and safety and tips on underwater photography. This is arguably the best single guide to the Great Barrier Reef. Pity about the red and white dive flag shown in the diagrams - this is the USA standard flag, not the Australian standard - we have a blue and white swallowtail flag.
|THE DOWN UNDER
First edition August 1974, Ian McNiel (publisher). It continued to at least five editions up to 1979.
Softcover, 160 pages, a few mono photographs, several charts and drawings.
Most Aussie divers in the 1970s and 80s, like me, regarded this book as the veritable bible. It was our textbook, our lifeline to supplement the meagre practical instruction given at the time by the many self-claimed experts who saw instruction as a means to supplement the income. It has to rate as the most important dive manual for Australians ever published. And it was a sensible book - concise yet covering more than the basics of physiology, technique, equipment - it even went into (briefly) marine life, underwater photography, and dive locations around Australia. God bless you Bill wherever you are now.
See below for Magic of Scuba Diving. [ps]
Bill has been in touch recently (late 2004) and I am pleased to report he is well and living comfortably in northern New South Wales.
See also Down Under Magic (above), and The Magic od Scuba (below)
A Complete Introductional Guide for the Australian Diver.
Bill Silvester, with Dave Perry and Greg Blackburn.
Wedneil Publications, Melbourne 1987. ISBN 909853 15 0.
Softcover, 442 pages, mono prints and drawings.
In some respects this is a larger must updated version of The Down Under Scuba Diver, covring virrtually all there is to know about scuba diving and diving activity - well, nearly everything. It is a superb book, but it did no sell well for a number of reasons, foremost being that at the time of release the dive training associations were issuing their own 'diver manual'. The Magic of Scuba would have been a great addition to th bsic instruction given at the time, but the demise of the publisher and problems with distribution at the time did not do the book the justice it deserved. Even today it is a most useful book.
|THE PEARL SEEKERS
|THE SKINDIVER'S UNDERWATER WORLD
Graeme R. Dodd.
First published September 1974, Fin-sport Publications, Gawler, South Australia.
Softcover, 91 pages, mono plates and several colour plates.
‘Skindivers around Australia will welcome this book which presents a balanced view-point acceptable to both the spearfisherman and the conservationist'. Thats nice to know. During the mid-seventies there was great debate as to the destruction and mindless killing of spearfishing competitions. Dodd's book does not dwell on any argument, and simply gives instruction on spearfishing and ‘real-life' experiences. The content is not of any historic value, but the book is one of the first on Australian spearfishing.
|THE SPONGE DIVERS.
Charmian Clift and George Johnston.
First published 1956, Collins, London
Hardcover, no dust jacket my copy, 314 pages, no photographs.
The authors are no strangers to the Australian literary scene of the mid 20th century, having several books between them, and he a respected journlaist also. They claim the book to be fiction, based on the island of Kalymnos in Greece, where they lived for many years, but no doubt there is ameasure of authenticity in their tales.
See also The Pearl and Sponge Divers.
|THE UNDERWATER AUSTRALIA
Thomas Nelson Publishers, Melbourne 1987.
Softcover, 270 pages plus full-page advertisements. Colour and mono photographs.
A nicely put together book on dive locations around Australia with shop and dive charter information. Neville was certainly the kost prolofic Australian author of diving and marine related books, with an astounding knowledge. And he was quite a character. It was only a matter of time before a publisher saw a few dollars to put out an Australian dive guide to compete with my own Dive Australia and once they made their money it was not repeated. Just as well for me. But I must reveal all - in 1986 when Neville was preparing the book, he rang me and asked when my next Dive Australia would be released. I said it would be out shortly. ' Great,' said Neville, who was a good friend, 'I need a copy as I am putting out a dive guide'. As blunt as you like - but that was Neville Coleman. Now whether Neville wanted to acknowledge my assistance or not I will never know as I never approached him about it, but there was no mention of my help in the book; maybe the publishers didn't want a competitor mentioned! The book is still a good guide as locations do not change all that much but the directory information is well out of date. Neville has gone now, but he will always be remembered as a friend and a remarkable man. [ps]
DIVE SITES OF AUSTRALIA.
New Holland Publications.
This is a superb book as you would expect from such an accomplished photographer and dive author, with the contribution of many otehr photographers.. It covers twenty four of the top sites in Australian waters, from Rowley Shoals to Wilsons Promontory. All the favourites are there - the Yongala wreck, South West Rocks, the Port Phillip subs, the Cod Hole, the Swan, and cave diving in Mount Gambier. The photographs are excellent and the layout adds to the attraction of the book with fine maps good sized images. Text is limited but adequate with travel tips and operators included. Would make a great Christmas gift for any diver.
Hardcover, large format, 160 pages full colour.
|UNDER THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
First published in 1966, Jarrold Publishers (london) Ltd.
Hardcover, dust jacket, 191 pages.
A biography by an Englishman diving the Great Barrier Reef in the 1960s. He certainly covers a lot of ground. Part travel documentary, part marine observation, part personal observation and opinion, it is of limited historic interest except for the occasional annecdote.
Introduction by Hans Hass. Text by Ken Pulley.
First published 1974 by Lansdowne Press, Melbourne. Hardcover, dust jacket, 112 pages, full page colour plates throughout. Whether this book becomes an Australian classic simply because the author was once the Lord Mayor of Melbourne only history will tell, but it is the first of its kind to publih full size colour underwater photographs in Australian waters by an Australian photographer.
Compared to today's imaginative underwater photography, Rockman's work is rather bland, but they do adequately illustrate the undersea world. That this book is not a joint authorship means that the emphasis is on the photography, but overall, with Ken Pulley's writing, it is an interesting book covering the marine animals in Australian waters.
Walter Deas and Richard Rice.
Ure Smith, Sydney, 1977. Octavo Size. Hardcover, dustjacket, 94 pages, colour and mono photographs.
Provides the basics of underwater photography. Of particcular historic interest is the five pages of photographs of thirty underwater housings and the Nikonos III and III, and the three pages of strobes. Walt Deas was (is?) one of Australia's most respected underwater photographewrs and cinematogrphers. Born in Scotland he has travelled and dived the world with wife Jean, and at one time both were thew dive leaders on Heron Island, in the seventies when this book was published. He is also a prolifdic writer. In more recent years he has worked extensively on the underwater scenes for David Attenborough's excellent nature documentaries.
|(RON & VALERIE TAYLOR'S)
Ron and Valerie Taylor
Ure Smith Pty Limited, Sydney, NSW. 1976
Hardcover, dust jacket. 160 pages.
Advertising blurb: Ron and Valerie Taylor have spent much of their time over the last twenty years diving and filming in the sea in many remote parts of the world. In this book they share their unique experiences and introduce their friends and acquaintances. Full colour illustrations throughout. Minor scuffing to dust jacket and hard cover edges and spine.
|WHALE OF A SHARK
Rigby Limited,Adelaide, Sydney etc. 1969.
Hardcover, dustjacket. 128 pages, mono prints.
"If you think that adventure has vanished from the world, this book gives hair-raising proof to the contrary. Ben Cropp and his team. of men and women will take on anything that swims, from the gigantic whale shark to salt water crocodiles. Their explorations of the underwater world, from Sydney Heads to the lonely seas beyond the Barrier Reef, brought them into contact with sharks of all sorts and sizes, savage moray eels, venomous sea-snakes, manta rays, and many other marine creatures. In this mysterious world where mercy is unknown, they actually managed to make friends with some of the most dangerous fish, though they had narrow escapes with others. The object of their adventure was to photograph under-water life and to explore wrecks which lie
off the coast, and some of the most fascinating chapters describe how they salvaged relics from sailing-ships which had been sunk for a century or more. From the sea, Ben Cropp turned to the land-but only to dive into a billabong in which a crocodile was trapped, and to explore the eerily beautiful depths of Piccaninny Ponds. The book is as fresh and brisk as the sea itself, and besides the excitement of underwater adventure it gives many colourful descriptions of the strange world of the ocean depths."
|WRECKS AND RELICS
No publisher listed (probably self-published), printed by Quadricolor, Melbourne. No date. ISBN 0 909853 78 2. (I first saw this sometime in th 1970s.)
Wreck diving in Victoria predominantly off Port Phillip heads and western coast.
Provides brief historical information, location (general, no GPS of coure), wreck and sit conditions, access, known relics. Nayler was one of the top sport divers in Victoia during the 1970s and 80s, and lived at Geelong giving him ready ccess to the Port Phillip Heads and the west coast of Victoria.
See also by Nayler, 'My Ceiling the Waves'.
A book for the diver rather than the historian.
Softcover, 64 pages, mono prints. [ps]
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