Div­ing into murky swim from is­land

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

Pent­land dis­trict res­i­dents have got up a sub­stan­tial sub­scrip­tion to show their ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the good work done by the track­ers who suc­cess­fully traced the lost lad Parker. Part of the coun­try tra­versed, about the Up­per Cape, is rough enough for any­thing but the lad would ap­pear to have fol­lowed the river for about 20 miles and it is sim­ply as­ton­ish­ing he did not stick to ei­ther the river or any of the roads he must have crossed. Great credit is due to the search party for the alacrity and spon­tane­ity with which they turned out. Master Parker, although he had been with­out food for eight days, did not ap­pear hun­gry when first of­fered food, but, be­ing given a few mouth­fuls at a time, brought the de­sire with in­creas­ing in­ten­sity and is now as right as a trivet. The Mayor, Al­der­man W B Swales, is in re­ceipt of a let­ter from Mr E Wrench, honorary sec­re­tary to the Over­seas Club, giv­ing par­tic­u­lars of the club’s to­bacco fund and invit­ing sub­scrip­tions. The clerk has al­ready re­ceived £ 30,000 from res­i­dents over­seas, and has despatched 600,000 parcels of to­bacco and cig­a­rettes to men at the front. Mrs Avenell, Archer St, South Townsville, has re­ceived word that her daugh­ter, Sis­ter Avenell, is re­turn­ing to Aus­tralia on trans­port duty. Ow­ing to very heavy book­ing, the Townsville Choral and Or­ches­tral So­ci­ety has de­cided to put on the per­for­mance of the opera Tom Jones ( con­cert ver­sion), a sec­ond night. Box plans for the per­for­mance on Mon­day and Tues­day, Au­gust 9 and 10, open to the gen­eral public to­mor­row. [ 10.5m]. Tur­bid­ity re­duced vis­i­bil­ity to four inches [ 10cm] in places.

The men, both div­ing in­struc­tors with the North Queens­land Sub- Aqua School, left the is­land at 7.40am on Satur­day, June 3, 1972, and reached the public boat- ramp at the creek at 2.28pm.

The feat of mak­ing the 8km jour­ney with­out sur­fac­ing had been achieved only once be­fore, by Townsville Dol­phin Club mem­bers Barry Goldswor­thy, Bruce Smith and Allan Evans in 1970.

Lee said they had been plagued by faulty oxy­gen reg­u­la­tors for half the jour­ney.

`` We got two tanks with faulty reg­u­la­tors and we had to stick around for a while oth­ers were brought down.

`` Wait­ing on the bot­tom for aqualung changeovers was the hard­est part of the swim be­cause of the se­vere cold.

`` Wa­ter was leak­ing into the wet­suits and we just about froze.’’

They had waited up to 20 min­utes for sup­port crew to bring fresh air sup­plies from the barge that fol­lowed them across Cleve­land Bay. A third diver, Alex Whit­ton, was kept busy, as Ball and Lee used 11 aqualungs each.

Fel­low in­struc­tor Mike Young took charge of re­fill­ing the 72 cu­bic feet ca­pac­ity oxy­gen tanks, us­ing a com­pres­sor on the barge, which was sup- plied and skip­pered by Doug Tarca, of Townsville Coral Sea Gar­dens.

The divers com­mu­ni­cated with the sur­face by tug­ging on the buoys which they each towed.

Their nav­i­ga­tion was com­pli­cated by a strong cur­rent that nudged them from their southerly course, west to­wards the land­mark of the Trav­eLodge tower [ now known as the Aquarius] on The Strand.

Later they paid trib­ute to their sup­port crew for en­sur­ing the suc­cess of their dar­ing en­deav­our: Alex Wit­ton, Doug Tarca, Mike and Pat Young and stretcher- bearer Adrian Roberts.

Roberts, a reg­is­tered nurse, had kept records and of­fered ad­vice on a va­ri­ety of med­i­cal is­sues, they said.

Con­tacted in Cairns this week, Ball said he had com­pleted the swim again a cou­ple of years later, with fel­low Dol­phin Club mem­ber Wayne Wil­liams. He felt their time of 5hr 21min had not been bet­tered.

Pic­ture: TOWNSVILLE CITY LI­BRARIES

IN THE SWIM: Com­peti­tors Allen Lee and Mike Ball at the 1972 Mag­netic Is­land to Townsvi­ille swim.

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