Ben Cropp

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Ben Cropp
Born 1936
Buka Island near Bougainville Island, Territory of Papua
Residence Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia
Nationality Australian
Known for documentary filmmaker, conservation and underwater sports champion (spearfishing)
Awards Member of the Order of Australia (AM), 1999
International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, 2000

Benjamin 'Ben' Cropp AM (born 7 January 1936)[1] is an Australian documentary filmmaker, conservationist and a former Open Australian spearfishing champion.[2] Formerly a shark hunter Cropp retired from that trade in 1962 to pursue oceanic documentary filmmaking (having produced some 150 wildlife documentaries) and conservation efforts. One of his efforts for The Disney Channel, The Young Adventurers, was nominated for an Emmy award.

Personal life[edit]

Cropp was born on Buka Island near Bougainville Island in 1936.[1] His father was a Methodist missionary on the island. He lived in various places such as Casino, Ballina and Bellingen, as his father moved to different parishes. He grew up at Lennox head in New South Wales. Cropp had a very religious upbringing, but when he was 18 "broke totally away from that".[1] His first marriage was to Van Laman, which "didn't last very long".[1] His second wife was Eva Papp, to whom Cropp was married for eight years. His third marriage was to Canadian Lyn Patterson. This marriage lasted 18 years and the Cropp's had two sons Dean and Adam.[1]


Cropp became a conservationist after an experience off Montague Island in 1964 where he filmed diver George Meyer riding on the back of a whale shark.[1]

Cropp was Ron Taylor's partner in the making of The Shark Hunters.[1]

In 1977, he discovered the wreck of HMS Pandora, almost concurrently with American explorer Steve Domm. John Heyer, another film maker at that time had done extensive research to establish the area the Pandora wreck was in. Cropp followed John Heyer's expedition by boat and found it in this area before John Heyer did. Cropp also lays claim to over 100 other shipwreck discoveries.[1]


In 1999, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his marine and coastal conservation efforts, and for the promotion and awareness of the Australian marine environment.[3]

In 2000, he was part of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame's inaugural induction.[4]

On 4 September 2006, he commented to the media on the possible circumstances of contemporary Steve Irwin's death. After reviewing footage of the incident and speaking with the cameraman who filmed it, Cropp offered the following:

He was up in the shallow water, probably 1.5 m to 2 m deep, following a bull ray which was about a metre across the body - probably weighing about 100 kg, and it had quite a large spine. The cameraman was filming in the water. It probably felt threatened because Steve was alongside and there was the cameraman ahead, and it felt there was danger and it baulked. It stopped and went into a defensive mode and swung its tail with the spike. Steve unfortunately was in a bad position and copped it. I have had that happen to me, and I can visualise it—when a ray goes into defensive, you get out of the way. Steve was so close he could not get away, so if you can imagine it—being right beside the ray and it swinging its spine upwards from underneath Steve - and it hit him. I have seen that sort of reaction with rays—with their tail breaking the water, such is the force.

Cropp currently resides in Port Douglas, Queensland, where for twenty years he also ran a shipwreck museum.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Thompson, Peter (4 September 2007). "Talking Heads - Ben Cropp (transcript)". ABC Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  2. ^ 'Australian Spearfishing Championship results 1953-2012', [1], retrieved 30/09/2012
  3. ^ 'CROPP, Benjamin', 26 January 1999, at, retrieved 01/07/2012.
  4. ^ "Ben Cropp". International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 

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