History of the Bairnsdale Scuba Club October 2018:
1963 the year I moved to Bairnsdale with my job as a newly just qualified Television repair tradesman at 20 years of age. Having worked in Melb with EIL ie, Electronics Industries Ltd, where I attended RMIT to learn my trade.
It was by chance that I met a customer, Alan Osbourne, a Abalone diver to check his TV set.(black and White)
Always having been a keen swimmer, Alan’s story interested me. The first diving club meeting with the “Gippsland Lake Aquanauts “was not far away!
They met in the Bairnsdale Fire Station Main St. It was here that I met divers that would soon be legends .Alan Osborne himself worked in the Abalone harvesting for many years. Another Bairnsdale citizen I met that night was Laurie Peel also very much a legend of that time. These guys and others at that time were about to move to Mallacoota, to become the pioneers of the Abalone harvesting industries in East Gippsland.
My first dive with them was at Lakes Entrance at the edge of Edgars Groin, a sand island opposite the Entrance, named after a ship scuttled here to help control sand movement at the time.
It was here that I met Maurice Williams a keen diver in this club. He was aged about 40 years of age. Maurice taught me to dive in the old way of sink or swim!. I was then half of Maurie’s age.
Soon I met interested snorkelers keen to remain underwater longer. So I purchased a Sea Bee aqualung and regulator from George Legg in Bailie St where at the time was a boat and equipment shop.
Some of you may know remember Maurie, he worked at Porters for all of his work life. Apart from Army duty during the Second World War. Still about, at age of 97 and I keep in touch with Maurie
From here on I met new people interested, going off to new East Gippsland sea side locations, including Cape Conran. Here taking many big Cray’s and spearing fish .Got my first boat a 14 Foot tinny, around 1970, later a Lakes Craft glass boat 16ft long from Arthur Blay (Gary.s old man. Used to go anywhere almost to dive from Beware Reef to Wilsons Prom and South Coast NSW including Montague Is. Some of the members made their own Hookah set up with hose to your regulator. Gary Brodribb made mine and his own at the same time.
By now I met Don Love also a very keen diver to this day. Don was the teacher at Meerlieu primary school.
Don the current president of the Friends Of Beware Reef ,has made a life of diving. So has Alan Wilkins from Paynesville. Alan was the Post Master at Paynesville.
We by now changed the club name to the Bairnsdale Diving Club around the 1970 -73 time slot.
It was now the possibility to take under water photos and later video that led us to taking an interest of documenting Beware Reef marine life. I got really keen, making my own modified camera with using plumbing plastic pipes and fitted glass lens to take pictures and made a 20 m waterproof battery torch to light things up with colour. Eventually going to video as well.
Today getting to bloody old but still like to give it a go when conditions allow.
I am proud to be a Life Member of the Bairnsdale diving Club with whom I share the odd under water movie. I must say that an interest in photography has changed my interest in diving to protect mode, now preserving/protecting and appreciating. And of course trying to learn what it is all about.
Bairnsdale Diving Club