An ex-president's slate

What NO President? The URG has changed somewhat, the election of presidents and secretaries and committee used to be an ELECTION, sometimes even with the drama of the current Federal do! But Groups like this have to change with the times. We shouldn’t be scared of change, it is inevitable. Even an old-timer like I am, realize this. I and some others CHANGED the URG, way back in the early 1960s.

When I joined in 1961 half a century ago, the URG committee had lost its way. Yes it had formed the Group as a company and gave it a purpose and meaning but became sidetracked and moribund along the way. The original purpose was to actually design and make SCUBA regulators. The alternative was very expensive imported gear, and I mean expensive. Many month’s wages for a reg! So the original members, all males by the way, were mostly of an engineering background. Well, they set to and did start designing and building regs but time overtook them and soon other “backyard” manufacturers were turning out cheaper equipment. It was now a waste of time to do it yourself.

What to do now you had some scuba gear? Some took to deep spearfishing, others just had fun doodling around the seabed, not too deep now. Others had what they thought were brilliant ideas to utilise their access to the sea. The “engineers” set out and built a heavy, unwieldy metal-pipe “Underwater Sled”! Never mind that the Group didn’t have a boat of any description to pull it. It never really got OFF (or down) as you could say. Another crew of URG tried the impossible task of changing the mindset of the Surf Life Saving Association. They spent many hours and pounds making a reel which was fitted with a hose attached at the reel end to an air cylinder. The free end had a scuba reg . The aim was for the lifesaver to swim out to the drownee, give him (or her) the reg to breathe from while being towed ashore. No way would the lifesavers look at this—NO WAY!

Another futile experiment was to design a lightweight flotation belt fitted with a small CO2 cylinder for rock fishermen. I think their reaction was much the same as the lifesavers, but more pithy—–“for poofters” they said.

While all this fol-de rol was going on the URG still went diving. Well, not quite diving as we newcomers saw it. A “dive” was scheduled for say Fairlight at 9am Sunday. By the way ALL dives were shore dives, no boats you see. Well we “Young Turks” would arrive at 9, nobody there. Someone would arrive around 9.30 or so with wife (no female divers then) and kiddies, a picnic blanket, esky and beach umbrella. By 10-10.30 several more had arrived, with the wives and kids and morning tea was underway. Meanwhile we young (I was 32) newies were sitting around in wet suits wondering what was going to happen. Nothing. By 11.00 we generally gave up and went in. By the time we came out lunch was being eaten. We hung around to chat with these “experienced” oldies. They eventually got into the water about 1.30-2pm. By this time the wind had come up, the sea had become choppy and dark —- and we went home.

Soon elections came and “the young Turks” gained some offices. We changed the dive start time to 8.30, got immediately geared up and diving. We scrapped the useless projects as much as possible and just went diving. As more of us were elected to the Committee we proposed getting our own boat. We did, tiny little thing it was, a 12 ft “John” a sort of aluminium punt with about a 10hp outboard. It got us there—in relays.

That was a dramatic change in the URG, I am glad to think I and some others brought it about. Otherwise the URG could have spluttered out in the mid 60s. Instead we developed relations with Australian Museum Staff and other educational bodies who had at that time few or nobody capable of diving. Our name had become well know and welcome in Marine Biology circles. Perhaps it is time for Australia’s longest running dive group to think about some changes. Not easy, but maybe necessary.

Clarrie Lawler
Ex Secretary, Ex President during mid 1960 cialis 5mg cost to late 1970s

This article originally appeared in the August 2010 bulletin – Download

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