It was the last great fishing tournament held onshore at Cairns, North Queensland, Australia
The spectacle of a dozen big fish, each one weighing more than about 500 kg, being carried away on a truck to the rubbish tip shocked everyone – except probably the fishermen involved.
Big game fishing had earlier brought fame and fortune to the sleepy Queensland port of Cairns, beginning in the late 1960′s.
Black marlin fish had put Cairns on the international tourist charts.
During the early 1980′s the town rapidly began changing. Old pubs torn down for international hotels. Direct flights from USA and Japan.
Then the backpackers and cheap dive instruction.
Cairns is probably still worthwhile for a visit if you’ve not been there before.
I went there almost every year from 1967 until recently. In the early days it was a three-day drive north from Brisbane on a road we called The Crystal Highway due to a broken windscreen every kilometer on the side of the road!
Cairns was unique in the old days with hippie communes in the rain forest hills and starfish eating the coral reef offshore. Would the Great Barrier Reef disappear altogether – some wondered.
The Marlin Bar was the place to meet after work, and when Paul Kamsler’s Tradewinds Hotel-Motel was the best entertainment, food and accomodation in town and probably in the State.
In those days you might meet Hollywood celebrities like Lee Marvin or Director John Frankenheimer. We were warned not to speak to Marvin – who was known to give a shaking to a guy in a wheelchair who annoyed him.
A genuine tough guy from WWII, and a regular fisherman at Cairns each year.
In time it would all change. Big fish (black marlin) would be caught, tagged and released but not kissed.
Someone is writing a book about those days, I learned this week. These pictures were requested.