Underwater magic

LIFE UNDER THE SEA: Alstonville man Bill Silvester has self-published an autobiography which chronicles a history of scuba diving in Australia. He is pictured with some early diving equipment.
LIFE UNDER THE SEA: Alstonville man Bill Silvester has self-published an autobiography which chronicles a history of scuba diving in Australia. He is pictured with some early diving equipment. Graham Broadhead

ONE of Bill Silvester's first snorkel dives at 17 years of age resulted in a close encounter with a 3m bronze whaler that lunged at him and his father.

But it didn't scare the Alstonville man from the ocean.

The now 75-year-old went on to found the Black Rock Underwater Diving Group in Victoria - one of the first scuba clubs in Australia.

That in turn led to the formation of the Associated Divers Academy with a group of friends.

He authored The Magic of Scuba Diving and Down Under Scuba Diving, respected text books for the novice and advanced diver which sold a combined 80,000 copies.

He also founded Byron Bay's first scuba diving business in 1973 "when it was a dead little town".

It was the realisation of a dream he'd held since being blown away by the beauty of Byron's underwater landscape on his first dive there in 1963.


By the time he sold Bill Silvester's Dive & Sports World in Jonson St in 1988, it was turning over $775,000 a year.

Bill's latest book Down Under Magic, is both an autobiography and a history of the early years of skin and scuba diving in Victoria and Southern NSW.

It also includes some interesting revelations about the ocean conditions that led to the disappearance - and presumed drowning - of Prime Minister Harold Holt in 1967, who Bill had met two years earlier at a spearfishing symposium.

Bill has already started his next book which will document those foundational years of the sport in Byron including many of the early characters in the sport.

Despite still recovering from a car accident he was in last year, Bill goes out for a scuba dive several times a year when the conditions are right.

"It will never lose its appeal; it's the sheer beauty of the underwater world and the ability to take yourself away from the pressures of life," he says.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

A CITY drenched in culture, Brisbane is again flaunting an arts and culture events calendar fit for a queen.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

Tweed Midwives Group Practice celebrate their first baby

HAPPY FAMILY: Jamie and Nathan Millard with their new baby, Emme and her big sister Pippa.

The Tweed Midwifery Group Practice have welcomed its first baby.

Local Partners

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

OWNERS of icon Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld want to super-size the site with accommodation and entertainment to turn it into Australia’s Disneyland.

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000 calorie diet

Brian Shaw won his 4th World's Strongest Man title. Source: Twitter

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000-calorie diet

ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage

Fans weren't too happy with ABC2's coverage of Wednesday night's game.

ABC2 slammed for coverage of soccer exhibition match

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

Join us for a Great Night as we Proudly present Lisa Wilkinson

“And you believe everything you read?”

Rebel Wilson trial: The secret we never could have known

Rebel Wilson outside court

“Most people wouldn’t know it exists,” she said.

Janet’s back in the ring

Marta Dusseldorp returns in season three of the TV series Janet King.

Season three of ABC's legal drama delves deeper than ever before.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!