William Saville-Kent - Biologist, aquaculturalist, author.
T T Flynn - Professor of Biology, fisheries researcher, (father of Errol)
Rattenbury family - James Rattenbury was born in 1870 and began fishing by gathering oysters in Little Swanport. This gave him enough money to move to Hobart to work and study. The study led to a career in the merchant marine that in turn allowed him to buy his first fishing boat in 1898. Based in Dunalley. In 1922 he took his son Harold to sea for the first time. Crayfishing was their principle interest and in 1988 Harold told me the story of their career that spanned just under 100 years.
Jaeger family – Handy Jaeger and his family fished from Dover for over a century. His grandfather and great grandfather were saw-millers who developed an interest in boat building. His father began fishing around 1917 and handy and his brothers joined the family profession as teenagers. When Handy told me his story in 1989 he had a son and grandson in the industry.
Cramp family - anglers and fisheries administrators.
As part of Australia's
Bicentenary Celebration Murdoch University collected a series of oral histories
of the Australian Fishing Industry. Under the direction of a committee chaired
by Dr Malcolm Tull Jack Darcey interviewed about a dozen industry identities
in each State. Some of the Tasmanian interviews are included here.
Amongst the group are fishermen from the west (Clayton, Rockliff), northwest (Burgess, French), east (Roberts) and south coasts (Bridge, Cuthbertson, Petith). There are three members of well known Tasmanian fishing dynasties (Bridge, Burgess, Rockliff). Three were prominent in industry politics (French, Roberts, Cuthbertson) and two were pioneers of the abalone fishery (Petith, Cuthbertson). All but one were active fishermen and some stage of their life and three were prominent processors of fish and shellfish (Jacobs, Rockliff, Roberts).
The Bridge family have been fishermen in Tasmanian waters for generations and Jim Bridge (born 1930) who recorded this interview has spent a lifetime in the industry. He has been involved in many fisheries from barracouta to crayfish and scale fish to scallops. He is a thoughtful and knowledgeable fisherman with a keen interest in the well-being of the industry. In this wide ranging discussion Jim Bridge covers many topics including fishing methods, boats and gear, marketing and management. He also considers matters of topical interest such as pollution, changes in technology and the ecology, aquaculture and the affects of increased recreational fishing. He speaks from a large background of experience and tradition and thereby makes a most valuable contribution to this oral history of the Australian fishing industry.
(born 1929). Captain Burgess is a third generation member of a very well known
seafaring and fishing family in Victorian and Tasmanian waters and has had
a wealth of experience since first going to sea as a boy. As a fisherman his
interest has been mainly in crayfishing, but as he explains, this involves
not only catching but also the transportation of the catch and its marketing.
In this interview Captain Burgess gives us an outline of the Burgess family
history and in so doing shows the influence of the family on his own career.
His account of the hardships and satisfactions of a fisherman's life is outstanding.
Outstanding too has been his contribution to the preservation of the maritime
history of Tasmania and to the management of the port of Devonport, particularly
in his current role of master warden. His concluding comments on the condition
of the Tasmanian fishing industry and the need for conservation of the resource
are especially thought provoking, as are his earlier comments on the contribution
of women to the industry.
Clyde Clayton (born
1914) and his wife, whom he refers to as "the mate" and his dog
"the pup" lives at Franklin in the beautiful Huon Valley in Tasmania.
Although retired now he still retains his interest in boats and fishing. The
Box he refers to is his current vessel.
Clyde fished mainly for crayfish and mostly out of Port Davey on the remote and isolated south west coast of the island. During his working life he rebuilt and worked several well-known Tasmanian vessels, notably the Belle Brandon thought to be the second oldest vessel in Tasmania and the Reemere an early steaming ferry still to be seen at Victoria Dock, Hobart. Clyde is one of the characters of Tasmanian fishing. He and his wife represent the tough, resourceful, capable people who spent a lifetime confronting the hazards of the sea and weather off the wild shores of southern western Tasmania and in so doing laid the foundations of a great industry. They have become legends in their own lifetime and deservedly so.
(born 1924) first went to sea with his father prior to the outbreak of World
War Two and was engaged on fishing surveys in Tasmanian and New South Wales
waters. His career in fishing has many facets. He has fished for barracouta,
shark, crayfish and abalone, among other species, and in addition to fishing
has been involved in processing, transportation and marketing. He makes many
interesting comments on matters such as methods of fishing, transfer of licences
and product presentation. He also has wide experience in sailing, both in
Australia and overseas. In recent times and despite a physical handicap, Bern
Cuthbertson sailed an open whaleboat around Tasmania in a re-enactment as
part of Tasmania's maritime history and has published an account of that adventure.
He has also been much involved in sea cadet training and in the tall ships
parts in the Bicentenary celebrations. His long time interest in the maritime
history of Tasmania is expressed in his outstanding collection of seafaring
artefacts. Though now retired he currently is having a cruising yacht built
with which to continue his lifelong involvement with the sea.
Des French (born
1925) started fishing during the World War and after service overseas with
the Australian Army, attended the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme's
Fishing School at Cronulla in New South Wales. Subsequently he spent most
of his working life in the fishing industry in Tasmanian waters. He fished
for many varieties including barracouta in earlier times and more lately crayfish.
On this tape Mr French discusses many aspects of fishing including weather
conditions, prices, size of catches, fishermen's organisations, co-operatives
and the organisation of government departments and their management techniques.
Des French has been retired for some five years and has not retained close
links with the industry. His account of the industry is thus orientated towards
the 1942-1985 era, a period he clearly knows very well.
John Jacobs (born
1933) became the manager of Stanley Fishermen's Co-Operative 31 years ago.
He remained as manager when the Co-Op went into partnership with a fish processing
and exporting company and when the company finally took over the enterprise
and operated it, as it still does under the name of Stanley Fish, he continued
on as manager. During his time in Stanley Mr Jacobs has seen many changes
in areas fished, the species handled and the markets serviced. As he explains
in this interview, rock lobster and orange roughy are the main fish his plant
deals with now. During the interview Mr Jacobs discussed many aspects of Tasmanian
fisheries including presentation of product, fisheries management, determination
of prices and prospects for the future in the industry.
Ken Petith (born
1940) started abalone diving in the early days of the industry when equipment
was primitive and the fishery was uncontrolled and unorganised. Although he
has now been retired for some four years, in this interview he gives an insight
into the equipment, methods and hazards of diving as they were and in some
respects still are. He also discusses management and marketing techniques
that apply in the industry in Tasmania. Licences, quotas, processing and marketing
as well as poaching and agriculture are dealt with.
Reg Roberts (born
1915) has a very wide experience indeed in many aspects of fishing in Tasmania.
Born 75 years ago he entered the fishing industry after various other employments.
He was instrumental in establishing the Tasmanian Fishermen's Co-Operative
and was its managing director for some years. He was also the president and
secretary of the Professional Fishermen's Association and at the same time
was prominent in the fish processing industry, a measure of the trust he enjoyed
in fishing. He also had first hand experience in fish retailing, frozen food
distribution as well as cold storage and transportation. All this, in addition
to operating fishing boats out of all Tasmanian ports and for all available
species. In this interview Mr Roberts deals with some of the changes he has
seen taking place in the industry and with problems such as declining stocks
in some fisheries, hazards at sea and changing weather patterns. Reg Roberts
is a dedicated fisherman and an astute business man. He has a wide ranging
knowledge of the sea and of the Tasmanian fisheries. He makes a valuable contribution
to this history of the Australian fishing industry.
Peter Rockliff (born
1931 has been involved in fishing since leaving school. He and his wife, Una,
together with their children and their spouses, have built up a large and
highly successful family business that catches, processes, markets and exports
fish and fish products of many sorts. They were pioneers in the lucrative
orange roughy fishery and currently operate two deep sea trawlers seeking
that species. Other fisheries they have been involved in over the years are
barracouta, flathead, shark, crayfish and scallops. They have been innovative
in trawler design and operation and also product marketing and packaging and
presentation. In this account Peter Rockliff pays tribute to his family, particularly
to his wife, Una. Together they provide an example of what can be achieved
in the Australian fisheries by effort, co-operation and sound management.
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