Ron Taylor (diver)

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Ron Taylor
Born
Ronald Josiah Taylor

8 March 1934
Died9 September 2012(2012-09-09) (aged 78)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
NationalityAustralian
OccupationProfessional diver,
underwater still photographer and cinematographer
Known forExpertise with sharks, conservation advocacy, underwater sports champion
Spouse(s)
(m. 1963⁠–⁠2012)

Ron Josiah Taylor, AM (8 March 1934 – 9 September 2012)[1][2] was a prominent Australian shark expert, as is his widow, Valerie Taylor.[1][3] They were credited with being pioneers in several areas, including being the first people to film great white sharks without the protection of a cage or anything else. Their expertise has been called upon for films such as Jaws, Orca and Sky Pirates.

Biography[edit]

Ron began diving in 1952 and became interested in spearfishing and underwater photography.[4] He met Valerie while both were members of the St George Spearfishing Club in Sydney. They became champion spearfishers, but switched from killing sharks to filming them after becoming fascinated with marine life. They married in December 1963.[3] They made their living in the 1960s by making wet suits and selling underwater cameras, plus doing artwork for magazines.

Ron won the Australian Open Spearfishing Championships for four years in succession before winning the World Spearfishing Championship in Tahiti in 1965.[4][5][6]

Ron's first major underwater film production,The Shark Hunters (1962), was made with diving and business partner Ben Cropp.[4][7] In 1964, he made the Slaughter at Saumarez, the first Australian diving adventure to the Coral Sea aboard professional fishing boat Riversong with free divers John Harding, Bob Grounds and Ron Zangari with Captain Wally Muller.

In 1966, the Taylors sold their shark documentary Revenge of a Shark Victim to producer Robert Raymond who won a Logie Award for his adaptation with new footage.

The Taylors were employed by the Belgian Scientific Expedition to the Great Barrier Reef as advisers and 35 mm underwater cinematographers, for six months, the first major educational project of this type on the Great Barrier Reef sponsored by University of Liège, Belgium. In 1969, Ron co-filmed Blue Water, White Death with Stan Waterman, Peter Lake and Peter Gimbel.[8]

In 1974, the Taylors, assisted by Rodney Fox (above water), filmed the live shark underwater sequences for Jaws.[4] They also filmed the live shark underwater sequences for Jaws 2 (1978)[9] and the shark sequences for the film Orca (1976).[10] In 1978, they published Great Shark Stories book.[9]

Ron first devised an idea of a diver wearing a full-length chain-mail suit over a wet suit as possible protection against shark bite in the 1960s but it was more than a decade before the suit was made and tested but it was found the suit was too small for Ron so Valerie wore it to test it with sharks.[4]

In 1979, the Taylors filmed the underwater scenes for, The Blue Lagoon. While on a dive trip in 1981, the Taylors discovered mining claims on several Coral Sea Islands. They brought this to the attention of the Australian Federal Government and saved these remote bird breeding islands.

Wreck of the Yongala, a TV documentary, was made in 1982, showcasing what was then the most spectacular of shipwrecks in shallow water. It was instrumental in having the wreck protected from fishing.[4] The Taylors, inspired by Cairns game fishing charter boat captain Peter Bristow, lobbied via the media, the Queensland Government and National Parks to have the potato cod of Cormorant Pass near Lizard Island protected.

They were the first people to film great white sharks without the protection of a cage or anything else during the making of the series Blue Wilderness, Episode, Shark Shocker in January 1992, a huge milestone in ocean exploration together with South Africans Theo Ferreira, Craig Ferreira, George Askew and Piet van der Walt, founders of the South African great white shark cage diving industry. They tested an electronic shark-repelling barrier there. They were also the first to film sharks by night.[11] Shadow over the Reef (1993) was filmed at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia and was instrumental in preventing the test drilling for oil inside the Ningaloo Marine Park. The Taylors' documentary Shark Pod (1997) used the Protective Oceanic Device invented in South Africa by Norman Starkey of the Natal Sharks Board against great white sharks, tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks, and other shark species.

Ron died on 9 September 2012 at age 78, following a two-year battle with acute myeloid leukemia.[12]

The Realm of the Shark is a biographical account of the Taylors' lives between the late 1950s, and the late 1980s.

Selected works[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Documentary films[edit]

Television series and movies[edit]

  • Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, Episode 3Golden Reef (1968) – original story & Episode 57The Shark Taggers(1969) – underwater sequences[25][26]
  • Contrabandits (30 episode series), 1967–68; underwater sequences and diving instruction for cast[27]
  • Barrier Reef (39-episode series), 1971–1972; direction of underwater photography, stunt work and minor acting roles[28]
  • Taylor's Inner Space (13-episode series), 1972–1973 with soundtrack composed by Sven Libaek and narration by William Shatner[29]
  • Those Amazing Animals, 1980–1981; contributed to underwater segments[30]
  • Fortress, 1985; underwater sequences[31]
  • Blue Wilderness (6 episodes), 1992; with Richard Dennison for National Geographic and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation[32]
  • Flipper, 1995 series; underwater still photography[33]

Films[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Taylor, Ron; (1965), Ron Taylor's shark fighters: underwater in colour, John Harding Underwater Promotions, Glebe, NSW.
  • Taylor, Ron & Valerie; (1976), Ron and Valerie Taylor's Underwater World, Ure Smith, Sydney (ISBN 072540342X).
  • Taylor, Ron & Valerie; (1977), Sangosho no taiwa (publisher not cited), Tokyo. (Japanese translation of Ron and Valerie Taylor's Underwater World as published by Ure Smith in 1976)
  • Taylor, Ron & Valerie; Goadby, Peter; editors (1978), Great shark stories, Collins, London, England (ISBN 0002162725)
  • Taylor, Valerie; (1981), The great shark suit experiment, Ron Taylor Film Productions (ISBN 0959366903)
  • Taylor, Ron & Valerie; Croll, Ian; editor (1982), The Great Barrier Reef: nature's gift to Australia-Australia's gift to the world, Beer Productions, Cairns
  • Taylor, Ron & Valerie; Goadby, Peter; editors (1986), Great shark stories, Crowood Press, Marlborough, England (ISBN 0946284733)
  • Taylor, R. & Taylor, V.; (1986), Sharks: Silent Hunters of the Deep, Reader's Digest (Australia) Pty Ltd, Surrey Hills, NSW, Australia (ISBN 0864380143) (hardback).
  • Taylor, Ron & Valerie; (1987), Papua New Guinea marine fishes, Robert Brown & Associates, Bathurst, NSW (ISBN 9780949267771) (pbk.) (ISBN 0949267775) (pbk.)
  • Taylor, Ron & Valerie; (1997), Blue Wilderness, Fourth Day Publishing (ISBN 0964273691) (ISBN 978-0964273696)

Awards, honours and other recognitions[edit]

Ron[edit]

Citation: For service to conservation and the environment through marine cinematography and photography, by raising awareness of endangered and potentially extinct marine species, and by contributing to the declaration of species and habitat protection.

Ron and Valerie[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ron and Valerie Taylor". Talking Heads. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 4 July 2005. Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Pioneer shark expert Ron Taylor dies". ABC News. 9 September 2012. Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  3. ^ a b Kennett, Joan; 'Underwater Romance', The Australian Women's Weekly, Wednesday 5 February 1964, pages 2 and 3, [1]. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "RON TAYLOR WINS WORLD SPEAR FISHING CHAMPIONSHIP". Fathom Magazine. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  6. ^ "AUF Spearfishing Championship Trophies". Australian Underwater Federation. Archived from the original on 31 October 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  7. ^ a b 'Shark Hunters!' The Australian Women's Weekly, Wednesday 6 March 1963, page 22, [2]. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  8. ^ ""Blue water, white death" documentary film in TV guide (1976)". Waukesha Daily Freeman. 27 November 1976. p. 22. Archived from the original on 21 February 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Ron, Valerie Taylor in On 'Shark' Biz". Variety. 31 May 1978. p. 28.
  10. ^ (in Italian) Vincenzoni, Luciano Pane e cinema: il racconto di una vita straordinaria consacrata al mondo del cinema, Gremese Editore, 2005, ISBN 88-8440-391-X
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Obituaries: The man who loved sharks". The Courier-Mail (Brisbane). 11 September 2012. p. 51.
  13. ^ "Playing with Sharks": Movietone Men Win World Film Award, [3] Archived 1 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  14. ^ [4] Archived 6 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Member (AM) in the General Division of The Order of Australia - Mrs Valerie May Taylor, Fairlight NSW 2094" (PDF). p. 125. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  16. ^ 'Ron Taylor's Shark Fighters Programme', [5] Archived 6 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  17. ^ 'Will the Great Barrier Reef Cure Claude Clough?' [6] Archived 9 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  18. ^ 'The Cave Divers [motion picture] / narrated by Phil Haldeman and Valerie Taylor, [7]. Retrieved 2/10/2012
  19. ^ Taylor, Valerie, 'An adventure filmed for television, Exploring the amazing wreck of the Yongala', The Australian Women's Weekly, Wednesday 24 November 1982, page 36, 37 and 38, [8]. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  20. ^ 'Great Barrier Reef', [9] Archived 17 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  21. ^ 'Give sharks a chance / produced & directed by Richard Dennison ; an Orana Films production for John Gau Productions & National Geographic. [videorecording]' 1991, [https://web.archive.org/web/20131102044959/http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/10585126?q&sort=holdings+desc&_=1349060397742&versionId=12345467 Archived 2 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine]. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  22. ^ 'Shark Shocker', [10]. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  23. ^ a b 'Taylor, Valerie, 1998, 'Testing the Shark POD', [11] Archived 27 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  24. ^ ' Shadow of the Shark', [https://web.archive.org/web/20100615202031/http://docuwiki.net/index.php?title=Shadow_of_the_Shark Archived 15 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine]. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  25. ^ a b 'Skippy', [12] Archived 8 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  26. ^ ' "Skippy" The Golden Reef (1968)', [13] Archived 23 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  27. ^ 'Contrabandits', [14] Archived 26 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  28. ^ 'Barrier Reef', [15] Archived 22 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  29. ^ 'Ron & Val Taylor's Inner Space', [16]. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  30. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 1197. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
  31. ^ 'Fortress', [17] Archived 16 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  32. ^ 'Blue Wilderness', [18]. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  33. ^ 'Flipper: Season 1, Episode 10: That's a Moray! ', [19] Archived 23 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  34. ^ ' Age of Consent', [20] Archived 1 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  35. ^ Lucas, Alan; 2010, 'Age of Consent', [21] Archived 15 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  36. ^ 'The Intruders', [22] Archived 15 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  37. ^ Blue Water, White Death on IMDb
  38. ^ 'Jaws', [23] Archived 20 July 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  39. ^ 'Orca', [24] Archived 10 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  40. ^ 'The Last Wave', [25] Archived 28 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  41. ^ 'Jaws 2', [26] Archived 7 March 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  42. ^ 'Gallipoli', [27] Archived 9 January 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  43. ^ 'A Dangerous Summer', [28] Archived 23 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  44. ^ 'The Blue Lagoon', [29] Archived 14 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  45. ^ Taylor, Valerie; Valerie and Ron Taylor join the action in 'THE BLUE LAGOON', The Australian Women's Weekly, Wednesday 19 November 1980, pages 64 and 65, [30]. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  46. ^ 'The Silent One', [31] Archived 3 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  47. ^ ' Sky Pirates', [32] Archived 29 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  48. ^ 'Frog Dreaming', [33] Archived 15 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  49. ^ 'Return to the Blue Lagoon', [34] Archived 30 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  50. ^ ' Honeymoon in Vegas', [35] Archived 26 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1/10/2012
  51. ^ ' Ging chaat goo si 4: Ji gaan daan yam mo', [36] Archived 12 January 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1/10/2012.
  52. ^ "NOGI – Diving's Most Prestigious Award". Academy of Underwater Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on 3 October 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  53. ^ "Platinum Pro 5000 Diver Profile: Ron Taylor". Scuba Schools International. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  54. ^ Ron Taylor entry at It's An Honour Archived 2 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  55. ^ 'AG Society Adventure Awards', 'http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/society/adventure-awards-ag-society.htm Archived 11 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012
  56. ^ ' Ron & Valerie Taylor', http://www.scubahalloffame.com/hallmembers/2000/ronvalerietaylor.html Archived 15 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012
  57. ^ 'WPSA Serventy Conservation Medal',[37] Archived 2 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  58. ^ '2008 AG Society awards wrap', [38] Archived 26 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  59. ^ 'Ron Taylor AM ACS & Valerie Taylor AM', http://www.cinematographer.org.au/cms/page.asp?ID=20179 Archived 14 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  60. ^ "About us". St George Spearfishing and Freediving Club. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  61. ^ "South Australian Marine Parks take effect today" (PDF). South Australian Government. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  62. ^ "Neptune Islands Group (Ron and Valerie Taylor) Marine Park". SA Department of Environment, Water & Natural Resources. Archived from the original on 19 December 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Gilliam, Bret (2007). Diving pioneers and innovators : a series of in-depth interviews. Jacksonville, Florida: New World Publications. ISBN 978-1-878348-42-5. (includes interview with Ron and Valerie Taylor)

External links[edit]