The following people have been recognised for their outstanding service to the AUF, diving, underwater sports and the community by being awarded life membership. In the near future a brief biography and photograph of each person will be placed on these pages. To read their biography just click on their name.
Harry Howell ACT
Frank Poole ACT
Wal Williams ACT
George Davies NSW
Merv Sheehan NSW
Tony Leslie NSW
John Gillies NSW
Gordon Ward NSW
Wally Gibbons NSW
Mel Brown NSW
Toni DeFina VIC
Graham Henderson VIC
Tom Ransom TAS
Richard Lane TAS
Allen Hunt QLD
Sue Dockar NSW
Mary-Anne Stacey SA
Dr Adam Smith QLD
Barry Andrewartha VIC
Biography, Graham Henderson
AUF Life Member
Graham Henderson Joined the AUF in 1977 through his association with the Latrobe University sub Aqua club Victoria, he was a keen SCUBA diver and Spearfisherman who subsequently become an avid player in underwater hockey.
He had an active role in the formation of the Victorian Octopush league and went on to be a founding member of the first AUF Underwater Hockey Commission in 1980. He has represented Australia as a player on 5 occasions and also was a coach and team manager.
He was instrumental in setting up a referee accreditation system in Australia and co-authoring the first standards and procedures manual for referee training, the same manual that is used throughout the world today for underwater hockey referee training.
Graham started his administrative service in the AUF in 1979 when he became secretary of the AUF Victorian Branch; he went on to hold the positions of Vice President and President. Also during this time he was the convener of 2 national skindiving championships held in Victoria.
During the eighties he was elected to the position of chairperson of the AUF underwater hockey commission a position which he held for 7 years, he then went on to be the chief referee for the commission for a number of years. During this time he formalised the commission by-laws and was instrumental in obtaining government STEP grants of $200,000.00 for our world champion underwater hockey teams.
In 1995 he focused his attentions on the AUF Federal body becoming Federal Secretary and then becoming the Federal President in 1997. He oversaw a total restructure of the AUF and rewrote the federal constitution. He became the public officer of the federation in 2000. Also in 2000 he was awarded the Australian Government sports medal for his contribution to sport and the community.
He was elected to the position of President of the CMAS (World Underwater Federation) underwater hockey commission in 2005, and is now a current commission member. He has overseen the running of 5 world underwater hockey championships.
Graham Henderson was awarded life membership of the AUF in 1996 for outstanding service to the federation and the sport of skindiving.
Graham Henderson is the current Federal President of the AUF.
Biography, Sue Dockar
AUF Life Member
Susan Dockar, started snorkeling and spearfishing in 1971, she competed in numerous spearfishing competitions along the NSW coastline, winning many Titles in the Ladies, Most Meritorious, Largest Fish and most Species categories.
She was chosen to represent NSW in 1983 at the National Championships, with the first day of this event proving a true test of stamina and character, as the history books show. Sue was swept away by the currents, surviving two days and nights in the water, and another day on Erskine Island, the very island the competition started from. On returning to Sydney, she continued diving. She travelled to various locations along the NSW coast, winning many competitions, and in 1986 she won the Australian Ladies Spearfishing National title.
Sue also joined the NSW UWH State Women’s team at the 1986 Nationals and was hooked from then on. She represents NSW at the Nationals in Queensland and NSW. She also coached the 1990 Junior NSW/ACT team. She continued playing UWH, and then represented Australia in 2001 at the Trans-Tasman UWH Champs in NZ. This was followed in 2002 by competing in the World UWH Championship in Canada, where she won a silver medal in the Women’s Masters Category.
During all these years Susan multi-tasked her sports with many administrative roles, with St. George Spearfishing & Freediving Club, NSW UWH Club, then Sydney UWH Club, AUF NSW Branch and then AUF National.
She was also Team Manager and Assistant coordinator at National Championships as well as helping to publish the National and State dive magazines, “Diving Down Under” and “NSW Skindiving”, she currently manages the AUF membership database.
She was made a Life Member of the St. George Spearfishing & Freediving Club, the Sydney UWH Club and NSW UWH, culminating in Life Membership of AUF. She was also a recipient in 2000 of Australian Sports Medal and in 2007 a book was published retelling the story of the 1983 adventure – called “The Lonely Sea”.
Sue Dockar is the current Federal Secretary/Treasurer of the AUF
Biography, Mary-Anne Stacey
AUF Life Member
Mary- Anne is a spearfishing champion, coach and underwater hockey player. Mary-Anne Stacey started snorkelling in 1975, while teaching swimming in an Education Department Program at Unley Pool, South Australia. By 1979, she had acquired her open water certification at the South Australian School of Scuba Diving. In 1981, Mary-Anne took up spearfishing and, in 1985, she started competitive diving. She was a member of the South Australian Women’s Underwater Hockey Team from 1985 to 1992; the South Australian Women’s Team Coach for Underwater Hockey in 1989 and 1992; and an Australian team member of Underwater Hockey in 1986, 1989, 1991 and 1993. She was awarded the Best and Fairest Player in 1990, 1991 and 1992 and, in 1991, she became the Australian Team Coach.
Mary-Anne’s spearfishing records are impressive. In 1987 and 1992, she was the South Australian State Ladies’ Champion and, in 1990, she helped to win that state’s Mixed Pairs’ Spearfishing title. She has also won the Australian Ladies’ Championships numerous times.
As regards her professional future, Mary-Anne intends to continue her work as National Director of Coaching; improve her skills in underwater photography; study part-time marine biology; attain a Level 3 Snorkel Coach accreditation; and become a scuba diving instructor.
Her achievements include:
- Twice South Australian Ladies’ Spearfishing Champion.
- Six times Australian Spearfishing Mixed Pairs’ Champion.
- Six times Australian Ladies’ Spearfishing Champion.
- Australian Scuba Divers Ladies’ Champion.
- Numerous Australian records for speared fish.
- National Director of Coaching (AUF).
- Underwater Hockey Coach.
Mary-Anne Stacey is the current AUF National Director of Coaching
Biography, Dr Adam Smith
Dr Adam Smith has a long and distinguished history of participation, competition and management of skindiving, spearfishing, underwater hockey, SCUBA and freediving in Australia. In the past 30 years he has dived in every Australian state and territory and many countries throughout the world including New Zealand, Hawaii, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Italy and France. He has represented his clubs (Sans Souci Dolphins, Townsville Skindiving Club), states (NSW and Qld) and country on numerous occasions including in Underwater hockey, World freediving championships (Sardinia, Italy in 2000) and Australian representative in Spearfishing at World and Interpacific Championships (winning in New Zealand three times and Hawaii once). Dr Smith has won numerous local, state and National titles including the Cloughy Challenge (2 times), North Queensland Championships (8 times), Queensland Championships (6 times), Australian Open Spearfishing Championships (in 2006), Australian Interpacific Pairs Spearfishing Championships (in 2010), Australian Filmfishing Championships, Australian Finswimming Championships and Australian Superdiver (3 times). He holds numerous local, state and National Spearfishing records.
Dr Smith has volunteered at local, state and national level to improve management of underwater sports and make a difference for fellow divers. He has taken voluntary roles as President of the Townsville Skindiving Club and National Chairman of the Australian Spearfishing Commission (from 2001-2012). As National Chairman he has worked with State Chairs to develop Bylaws, Competition Rules as well as grants for various projects such as the Great Australian Shark Count, Next Generation of Leaders and Spearsafe. He developed the “Safe, Sustainable, Selective, Seafood” initiative and communicated this through various talks, articles, newsletters, stickers, brochures, videos, DVDs, calendars, mouse pads, posters and much more. He has been proactive in working with diverse community, scientific and government stakeholders on topical issues such as Marine Protected Areas and protected species. Dr Smith and local experts collaborated to write a book Underwater fishing in Australia and New Zealand in 2000 and he published theFantastic Fish Calendar from 2005-2009. Dr Smith has been involved in numerous recreational fishing committees and Boards including Recfish Australia and Seafood Names Committee. He has been involved in scientific research and community monitoring on Spearfishing as well as prized species.
Dr Smith’s background is a scientist who completed a PhD on fish and sewage outfalls and a Masters of Business Administration focussing on leadership. He was supported by the FRDC to participate in the Australian Rural leadership Course.
Biography, Barry Andrewartha
AUF Life Member
Barry has had a long and distinguished involvement in Spearfishing and SCUBA in Australia. His involvement in spearfishing began when he was 11 years old – almost 60 years ago! He still holds several state and at least one national record Blue Rock Whiting Neoodax semifasciata.
During his career he’s been active in State and Federal development of spearfishing . He was instrumental in establishing the Eden 3-State Competition and the Coffs Harbour Bluewater Classic and still contributes generously to event sponsorships such as the Australian teams attending the National and Interpacific Championships. In 2010 Barry donated money for a perpetual Australian Filmfishing trophy in his name “The Barry Andrewartha Australian Filmfishing Championships”.
For 30 years he’s been involved in manufacture, importing and distribution of specialised spearfishing gear. He currently imports leading brands from France, Italy and South Africa.
Barry has a long and distinguished career in diving publishing and has written at least 5 books (below) co-publisher of numerous magazines including International Freediving and Spearfishing News, SportDiving Magazine, and Dive Log Australasia.
SPEARFISHING IN VICTORIA. Barry Andrewartha. Published 1967.
SPEARFISHING FOR SPORT AND PLEASURE. Barry Andrewartha and Lindsay Stewart Early 1968.
SPEARFISHING IN SOUTHERN N.S.W. Barry Andrewartha and Robin Montcalm. Published 1969.
SPEARFISHING IN NORTHERN N.S.W. Barry Andrewartha and Peter Kemp. Published 1969.
A Guide to SKINDIVING AND SPEARFISHING. Barry Andrewartha. 1970
Barry has been a great supporter of Australian divers and the Australian diving industry and is often at shows such as the recent DiveExpo in Brisbane as well as international events. He is a true ambassador for diving in Australia and a worthy life member of the AUF.
Biography, Wal Williams
AUF Life Member
Wal became active in AUF when posted to Canberra with the Army in 1978 having joined AUF affiliated clubs in 1958 in Queensland, and later in Victoria in 1966. Diving was in its infancy when he first joined in 1958, and spearfishing was the main event. He joined his first club as an enthusiastic spearo but quickly realized that without his spectacles he was a lousy shot (there was no such thing as corrected lenses in face masks those days). He consequently became interested in SCUBA diving and in about 1962 he had his first dive in the Tweed River. Instruction was limited to: “don’t hold your breath while ascending as your lungs will burst”. That was it!
The first AUF standards for diving were taught through clubs using older members who had been elected as instructors, but clubs had no way of standardization. So he qualified as a basic diver within his Queensland club and then had to retrain in his next club in Victoria. This club mistrust of other trainees was addressed when the AUF standards were taken up, with approval from the AUF, by the Federation of Australian Underwater Instructors (FAUI), the first national instructor body formed in 1972. FAUI agreed to use the AUF standards and the AUF agreed to discontinue its club instruction.
Thus when he was posted to Canberra in 1978 he was once again faced with having to retrain as a diver under FAUI. By this time he was determined to help ensure that no one ever needed to have to retrain whenever they changed clubs. He was introduced to Frank Poole, who was the Technical Officer in charge of diving standards for the AUF, and Frank played a significant part in his introduction to the high levels of standards and instruction which were being thrashed out at the time. He subsequently went on to qualify as a FAUI instructor.
He was elected as the President of the ACT Branch of the AUF and helped introduce the sport of Underwater Hockey (first called Octopush) to Canberra. Several years later he followed Frank as the Technical officer for the AUF. In this position he assisted Frank who had been charged with the responsibility for the final production of the AUF’s Standards and Procedures Manual.
This was the period when the AUF were applying for and subsequently gained recognition from the Australian Sports Commission as the body representing the sport of underwater diving in Australia. This representation enabled the AUF to gain Government assistance and opened its fully staffed office in Canberra. It also made the AUF the body responsible for the standards, rules and procedures of all of the various sports covered by diving. As Technical Officer he was therefore involved in the many negotiations which were occurring between the AUF and the growing number of diving Instructor bodies which were being introduced from America. Each body brought their own standards and particular methods of instruction and it fell to the AUF to ensure that each standard conformed to the minimum levels set down by the Australian Sports Commission.
When Toni de Fina decided to step down as President of the AUF he was elected as the next President and thereby also became the Australian representative for CMAS at their General Assemblies which are held around the world every two years and where allaspects of our sport and championships are debated and decided upon. he attended at his own expense (the AUF was not that flush), assemblies at Malta in 1987, Japan in 1989, Cyprus in 1991, Egypt in 1993 and finally Mauritius in 1995.
He retired from the position of President in 1995 owing to ill health and the need to devote more time into his business. He had to stop scuba diving for health reasons but still snorkels and spearfish’s now that he has lenses in his mask and can see his quarry.
SCUBA diving and Underwater Hockey (his daughter represented Australia three times the last as captain and she and her husband still represent NSW) remain of great interest to him and his contribution towards better standards and negotiations with other instructor bodies has led to the very safe level of diving within Australia.
Biography, Toni de Fina
AUF Life Member
Toni de Fina was the Federal President of the AUF for 28 years; he was also a some time member of the CMAS governing council. He created with the late Peter Cullen the Federation of Australian Underwater Instructors, for many years the only Australian Diver Instructor organization ultimately subsumed by an international diving instructor organization.
Toni designed and developed the first balanced first stage valves for single hose SCUBA, he also designed and developed diving systems for then developing cultured pearl farms in Northern Territory and Northern Western Australia.
He was instrumental in creating many of the diving standards still used today, he attended the world championships in Croatia (Yugoslavia) as a competitor. He has continuing involvement in water sports, particularly spearfishing.
On occasion he is invited to prepare opinions on diving accidents and diving equipment and practices for civil court cases and inquests.
He is still diving and actively engaged in water sports.