Diving into murky swim from island
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.
IN THE SWIM: Competitors Allen Lee and Mike Ball at the 1972 Magnetic Island to Townsviille swim.