The unveiling of Reg Sprigg’s dive chamber at the Patawalonga, Glenelg North, SA

December 8, 2016|Posted in: Equipment, Events, Maritime History

A long list of lucky events led to me attending the recent unveiling of Reg Sprigg’s dive chamber at Glenelg North (with my wife Noeleen). The dive chamber has been positioned adjacent to the Buffalo replica on the banks of the Patawalonga. Our Patron, Scoresby Shepherd had suggested that I try to get approval to attend the official unveiling. An email request to a namesake sealed the deal for Noeleen & I to attend the event. A good crowd had gathered around the dive chamber by the time that we arrived there. I could see Christopher Deane from a distance. As we approached Chris, I could see Scoresby nearby. Whilst talking to Chris, I saw Bob Ramsay arrive. Scoresby was nearby and I spoke with him. Whilst talking to Scoresby, I saw Ken Smith arrive. Whilst talking to Ken, I saw Chris talking to both John Bent and Con Penglis. Whilst talking to Chris, John & Con, we were told to be seated ready for the unveiling of the chamber. When we found some seats to use, we met Stephen Patterson, the Mayor for Holdfast Bay Council. He introduced us to Jenny Reynolds who had accepted our request to attend the event. I had taken a few photos by this stage: –

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The restored chamber looked a treat. The Mayor started proceedings before introducing Margaret Sprigg, daughter of Reg Sprigg. The Mayor then introduced Richard Harris. I took a some more photos whilst Margaret and Richard spoke: –

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Margaret and Richard were then invited to cut the ribbon to mark the unveiling of the chamber: –

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The Mayor then wound up the presentations and invited guests to the nearby hotel for refreshments. A cameraman had been busy filming much of the proceedings. I still needed to check out the signage for the dive chamber and take some more photos: –

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Noeleen and I took one last look at the chamber before leaving with Christopher Deane. We got a big surprise back at home when Amelia Mulcahy, Channel 7 News’ weather presenter, gave her report from the site of the dive chamber. We were even more surprised when the only short footage shown of the unveiling showed Noeleen & I taking one last look at the chamber. We saw three weather reports from the site of the chamber that evening.

Our daughter immediately texted us after seeing us on the news weather and Christopher Deane later confirmed having also seen us.

Special guests attending the unveiling included Kristin Weidenbach, author of “Rock Star – The story of Reg Sprigg, an outback legend” and Jonas Radus, the gravimeter operator who worked inside the chamber at depth. Others included people from the Hyperbaric Medicine Unit at the RAH, several police officers (water police?) and councillors. Richard Harris, Bob Ramsay and Ken Smith (along with Peter Costello) had been the team behind the restoration of the chamber after discovering it at Arkaroola. Many thanks go to them all for their tremendous efforts. Thanks also go to their sponsors and supporters. The result is tremendously worthwhile.

The Holdfast Bay Council posted a photo of the dive chamber on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CityofHoldfastBay/photos/pb.172347907260.-2207520000.1481188796./10154343941727261/?type=3&theater , along with the comments “The Reg Sprigg’s Diving Chamber has just been installed along the Patawalonga, Glenelg North. This unique diving chamber is a lasting monument to the early days of underwater exploration in SA and a tribute to Reg Sprigg’s tenacity, achievements and spirit of adventure. The restoration of the chamber was undertaken by a group of keen divers and volunteers over 4 years and kindly gifted to the City of Holdfast Bay for public display.”

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

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