Marine, underwater photographs made by John Harding from his time as editor of FATHOM magazine (Australia).
Needle-teeth of Grey Nurse sharks were popular trophies in the 1960′s. Taking a set from that species today, in Australia, would guarantee a terrible penalty. The young lady is Tanya Binning - a famous surf girl of the era. Grey Nurse sharks made a dramatic return to the east coast of Australia in 1988. The population has been steadily increasing since. Unreliable out-of-date reports continue to circulate promoting a demise.
Not many people had seen a whale underwater in Australia when this picture was taken, 1st September 1966. At the time few folk appreciated what a whale was. They were an unknown species almost on the brink of extinction – at least this species was. This is a juvenile whale riding on a much larger mother’s back, the dark shape below. My only camera was a medium-format Rolleiflex loaded with slow 16 ISO B&W film.
Actors John Bonney, Janet Kingsbury (Contrabandits, ABC TV) and I had called into the bar at the Wooli Bowling Club for a pre dinner ale or two.
At the time Wooli was an fishing outpost on the mid north coast of New South Wales.
Ron and Valerie Taylor were preparing dinner at the beach cabin we’d rented for a few days.
John got talking with a fisherman at the crowded bar. It was Keith Knox – a pleasant and hard working fisherman with both front teeth missing. Keith had ‘a strange creature caught in the ropes of his fish trap’. He had no idea what it was. Just a ‘monster of a thing.
John Bonney and I agreed to have a look and see what might be done. We’d follow Keith in our boat the next morning.
It turned out to be this huge and very rare Green Sawfish, about five meters long in total.
The saw fish had wrapped itself in the tough nylon fish trap rope down near the bottom, 33 meters deep.
Back on the beach at Minnewater Valerie Taylor posed with my spear gun for this picture.