Contribution to History of Recreational Diving in Victoria, Australia.
Contributed by ray
From looking at sites offering some points of history in regard to diving in
Australia, I found nothing in relation to what was once the highest volume retailer
of SCUBA equipment and dive accessories in the Southern Hemisphere, circa 1960's.
Foy & Gibson's "Underwater World", outside of Dive Clubs, through
promotion and making it possible for the general public to access dive equpment,
possibly did more to attract people to the dive world than is recognised. With
the support of Jim Agar (SeaBee Dive Equipment), Jill Ratcliffe and Henry Bource,
R.Wallace Mitchell Co. and cooperation with dive clubs, Foy's increased the
dive population enormously over a 5 - 6 year period.
One of the main criteria in selling product, was when selling Scuba gear,
one had to present a Diver's Certificate before the store would release the
equipment to the purchasser, even if it was cash up front. On all scuba purchases.
a basic dive course was offered FREE.
The brands offered were, Sea Bee, White Stag, ScubaPro, U.S.Divers and Hienke
and others (Rigs) with accessories, Pirrelli, Voit, SeaBee, Turnbull, Droz and
Personnel in the store were, Brian Farrel, Eddie Mac Rae and myself, later
for a period of time was Carl Espie, who went on to become a proffessionl abalone
diver and I hope and trust became rich, and Tony Johnston. It was mandantory
for all store staff to take a dive course. I wonder how many of your veteran
Vicotrian members and readers purchase their first Dive rig from there?
When travelling around, it is pleasing for me personally to see the prolific
number of dive shops that are now in existence and how the industry has developed,
technically as well as popularity and glad to see Barry Andrewartha still active.
In closing, it would be remiss of me not to mention Mr. Fred Tittman, who
had one of the first Dive Shops and testing facilities in La Trobe Street in
Melbourne , one of the original pioneers.
Foy & Gibson Ltd
1956 - 1966