|CLASSIC DIVE BOOKS
Johnno Johnstone - the man who walked across Bass Strait.
Please note: The books are listed for interest only, and not offered for sale.
|DEEP WATER GOLD
Published by SeaROV Technologies Ltd', Whangarei, New Zealand, 2005.
"The story of RMS Niagara - the quest for New Zealand's greatest shipwreck treasure." The tale has been told before, by Taylor in 1942, Maynard in 1996, and now Gordon in 2005. So what makes this book any different from its predecessors? Surely the story is the same. What new material could entice the reader? Gordon covers the initial recovery of most of the gold, and the later attempt by the original diver diver Johnno Johnson for the recovery of the remaining 35 bars of gold in the 1950s. Comparison between previous authors is not necessary. Sufficient to say that Gordon is an excellent researcher and author. Halfway through the book we come to the present time, or a decade or two ago, and under the appropriately titled chapter New Tools, the Niagara is visited by an ROV team, and the book takes a decidedly modern turn with ROVs, and high tech diving using mixed gases to visit the wreck at 300ft plus. This is present-day diving at its best, utilising the highest skills and first class equipment to reach a ship that has been beyond the reach of recreational divers for over have a century. This is diving that few will follow, but those who do experience the thrill of diving where few have been before, and utilizing the utmost of skills gained through thorough training. Gordon describes these dives with highly competent technical detail, fascinating for those, like myself, who will not venture down that path. Yes, another book on the Niagara, but with something extra to offer. Superb!. And by the way, there are five gold bars left.
Softcover, 240 pages, mono and colour prints, index, glossary, bibliography - an excellent production.
DEEP SEA DIVER
The Life and Adventures of John Johnstone.
As told to Peter Dawlish.
The title sounds like a kid's tale - but I dont think it is meant to be. From the fly:
This is the life story of the famous deep-sea diver, John Johnstone, from his boyhood in Liverpool until now, when he is salvaging ships sunk in the war with Japan. In the many years he has been a diver, Johnno has had enough adventure to satisfy twenty people. He has been trapped under a sunken ship, held prisoner by a groper-the most ferocious fish in the world, salvaged ships with Japanese bombers overhead, and taken a quarter of a million pounds worth of gold bullion from a wreck sunk off the coast of New Zealand, to mention only a few of his exploits. Most of his diving work has been carried out round the coasts of Australia and in the shark-infested waters of the East Indies. There, in his spare moments, he has dived among the beautiful coral gardens, gathering wonderful shells. His work has not been all danger. He has had many delightful hours, finding companions in the brilliantly coloured fish of the tropics. A baby seal adopted him, and used to meet him when he went down! He met all sorts of interesting people, such as crocodile hunters, a boy who lived by catching snakes and getting their venom, pearl divers, and natives who dived naked to gather shells to be made into pearl buttons. Few men, even divers, have had such an adventurous life, and now Peter Dawlish, famous for his stories of the sea, tells Johnno's life story as I Johnno himself described it. [ps]
|GOLD FROM THE SEA.
James Taylor. 1942.
Captain John Williams and his crew on board the old salvage vessel Claymore recovered more than two million pounds Sterling of gold from the Royal Mail Steamer Niagara off the northern end of New Zealand. She had gone down in June 1940. The principal diver in this remarkable recovery was Australian diver Johnno Johnstone. This is the origional story of the salvage of the gold.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 270 pages, several mono plates.
The romantic story of sunken treasure retrieved from record ocean depths in New Zealnd.
R.J.Dunn, in collaboration with Diver J.Johnstone.
Published by A.H. & A.W.Reed, Wellington, NZ, 1942.
Softcover, 51 pages, a few mono prints. The earliest publication on the raising of the gold from the Niagara off the north coast New Zealand in 1941. Several books have been subsequently published on the raising of gold bars from the wreck - see Gold From the Sea, above. A rare publication.
‘How an Australian and New Zealand team salvaged eight tons of gold from a German minefield'.
This is a remarkable story, and Jeff Maynard tells it very well, but it annoys me when the publisher's lie to the public with a comment on the back of the book - ‘50 years later, the true story of one of the most remarkable missions of World War Two is finally told'. Finally told? Rubbish. James Taylor, the biographer of diver Johnno Johnstone, wrote Gold From the Sea in 1942 - it has become a classic of underwater salvage. Niagara's Gold does not seem to add to anything of importance or controversial to the original tale, certainly not in the excitement of the recovery of the first gold bars, but it is an interesting read neverless, with additional interviews and photographs.
Softcover, 160 pages, eight mono prints.
First published 1949, Australasian Publishing Co., Sydney. Hardcover, 240 pages, mono plates throughout.
The book centres on the diving experiences of one of Australia's top standard dress divers, J.E. 'Johnno' Johnstone, who was the chief diver on the Niagara gold recovery in 1940 (see above). In this book, author Taylor covers salvage in Australian and Papua New Guinea waters, on such vessels as the Karitane, Casino, Wanaka, and the Niagara of course.
Publishers and Distributors
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Phone (03) 5182 5108 International 61 3 5182 5108
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