Marine Life Society of South Australia Inc.


April 2005   No. 320

understanding, enjoying & caring for our oceans”


Next Meeting

This will be held at the Conservation Centre, 120 Wakefield Street, Adelaide on Wednesday  20th April commencing at 7.30pm.


Our speaker will be David Muirhead who will be showing some of his new underwater pictures taken in the last few months.



Hallett Cove Reef Monitoring Report (Kevin Smith)                   

“Nutrition in Relation to Aquatic Animals.” (A. G. Edquist)       

Cyclone Tracy Shipwrecks (Steve Reynolds)                               

More about the Ulonga and the Moorara (Steve Reynolds)       

Recent Diving Deaths – Lessons Learnt (Paul Macdonald)         

Notable Pipefish Sightings(Kevin Smith)                                     

Western Blue Groper Survey (Kevin Smith)                                


Reminder Notice


Memberships are now due. Could you please pay the Treasurer as soon as possible or let us know if you will not be rejoining.


Newsletter Articles


I am again very short of articles. Could you please create one soon. Any marine related subject will do.




This Newsletter

The hardcopy of the Newsletter is in black and white as usual. If members prefer a colour PDF version then please email me.



Annual General Meeting

Members wishing to stand for the Committee are reminded they must get their nominations in to me by 8th April to enable me to publish them in the May Newsletter. A proposer and seconder will be needed by anyone who is not on the Present Committee and wishes to stand.


Non Executive positions can be nominated from the floor on the night or your wishes be made known to me asap.



Hallett Cove Reef Monitoring Report

by Kevin Smith


            The weather proved unkind to us for the winter reef monitoring in 2004. After some judicious rescheduling which precluded most participants, Steve Reynolds and myself decided to do our best despite the murky looking conditions on Saturday the 28th of August. We gained little in monitoring data but further developed our practical and philosophical approaches to the activity. A comfortable six to seven minute walk along the path best accesses the beach entry and new boardwalk and a high tide would enable surface finning over the sand and rocks before the extensive sandflats inside the reef are reached. In addition, if the water looks murky or muddy due to rain and rough seas it probably is and monitoring is best left to another day. We were doing well to see each other, let alone the reef and we aborted the attempt. We commended ourselves on our willingness to give it a go but agreed that if we needed to reschedule or indeed skip a date it would not be the end of the world and we should not feel too badly about it.


            In contrast, the November monitoring took place in very good conditions. Steve Reynolds and Neville Skinner were able to complete some fish surveys  while I worked on one metre quadrats close by on the top of the reef. James Brook and new Reef Watch instructor, Steve Leske, assisted Steve and Neville with Line Intersect Transect training and Ginty, our guest, with fish identification and a fish survey.


The skills within the MLSSA membership are progressing well and a core of divers will soon be able to independently perform all three types of survey. While the data produced from our activities will assist in the assessment of the status of the reefs along the metropolitan coastline members will become better acquainted with the fish and benthic flora and flora in the region and the potential impact of events such as the recent sewerage spills into the Field River will be understood in greater depth.


The next scheduled monitoring day is Sunday the 29th of May. We will meet in front of the Hallett Cove Surf. Lifesaving Club at 9.30 am. Future dives will be held on August 28th with a final dive for the year on November 27th .




The following article from the S. A. Aquarium Society is reproduced from the August 1930 Journal “The South Australian Naturalist”. This booklet may be borrowed from the MLSSA library.

(Philip Hall)




     august, 1930.                           S.A. Aquarium Society



A meeting of the above society was held on July 1st, when Mr. H. M. Hale presided over a large attendance of members and visitors.

Mr. A. G. Edquist delivered an instructive address on “Nutrition in Relation to Aquatic .Animals.” The lecturer ex­plained that all living organisms require food to sustain life, lack of suitable food ultimately resulting in death. All living sub­stance breathes, and in the process uses oxygen, liberating carbon dioxide. The carbon of the carbon dioxide formed during respira­tion is derived from waste tissues of the body and such waste has its origin in food, so that in order to maintain life an organism must ingest as much carbon as it loses in the process of breathing. From this we see that carbon or charcoal is, a most important food, and that as a result of breathing it is oxidized or slowly burnt by combustion. The process of combustion produces heat which maintains the temperature of the body, and thorough oxidation of the body is as necessary to growth as is an abundance of food material.


Analyses of Body Substance

Analyses of the body substance of fish reveal the following facts: Water, 10.8 per cent.; Carbohydrates, — per cent.; Protein, 44.1 per cent.; Fat, 10.3 per cent. of a digestible nature, and minerals such as lime, silica, soda, iron, magnesia, phosphorus, sulphur, manganese, iodine, fluorine, etc. The absence of any one of these substances means a cessation of growth and probably breakdown in the health of the organism by food deficiency diseases. All living organisms consist of water, carbon, nitrogen, and minerals, hence it is clear that success is only attainable to the aquarist by careful selection of foods containing the substances mentioned, and those substances must be given in correct propor­tions. In other Words the food must represent a properly balanced ration. By this we mean that the carbon must bear a definite ratio to the nitrogen and the minerals. The ratio of the proteins to the carbohydrates is 44.1:23.2.


Constitution of Foods.

Solid foods are divided into groups according to their chemi­cal composition and the part they play in the economy of the organism.



       Typical examples of carbohydrates are sugar and starch. Sugar consists of carbon plus oxygen and hydrogen in the proportion in which they exist in water, i.e., two parts hydrogen combined with one part of oxygen.   (C12H22 C11) or (C12 H24 O12).   Other carbohydrates are cellulose, glucose, dextrine, maltose, caramel, etc.


Fats and Oils.

Another group of substances, very like carbohydrates in composition, contains the fats and oils. In these compounds the oxygen and hydrogen do not always exist in the proportions found in water. They may be looked upon as concentrated carbohydrates. In this group we have lard, suet, tallow, butter, olive oil, linseed oil, fish oil, cocoanut oil, cottonseed oil, and margarine. Some of these fats are of a very complex nature, butter for instance containing stearine, clein, palmatin, butyrin, myristin, caprin, caprylin, caproin, and laurin.



Proteins are more complex in composition than carbo­hydrates, having in addition to carbon and the elements of Water, nitrogen, and mineral salts, including phosphorus and sulphur. In this class of foods we have gluten, legumin, albumin, casein, globulin, myosin, fibrin, etc.


Function of Foodstuffs.

Food is necessary to maintain the body and to produce a growth of body tissues. The carbohydrates and fats supply bodily heat and heat energy which exertion requires. The heat energy is derived from the oxidation of carbon in the carbo­hydrates and fats, any carbohydrate ingested and not oxidized being stored up as fat between the muscles and around the kidneys, nerves, liver, etc., in the form of animal starch named glycogen. Too much carbohydrates is detrimental to general health and the so-called lower animals, in their natural state, choose a correctly balanced diet. Man, with his superior know­ledge, gorges geese with food rich in carbohydrates and eats the livers in the form of pate-de-foie-gras, which is considered a great delicacy in France and other countries of advanced civilisa­tion. The temperature of fish is that of the water in which they live, hence they are classed as cold-blooded animals, so that they do not require heating foods as do birds with a body temperature .of 103 to 108 degrees Fah. For this reason it is inadvisable to provide fish with a diet consisting of breadcrumbs, oatmeal and suchlike farinaceous foods. Fishes should have a diet very rich in proteins, a ration of about 1 of carbohydrates to 4 of proteins being ideal, although a ration as narrow as 1 to 3 would not be harmful. Proteins, on account of the carbon content, maintain bodily heat, but they do more than this. The nitrogen and minerals contained, particularly the phosphorus and sulphur, build up flesh, bone, blood, nerve, brain, scales, and the elements of reproduction.



Minerals are necessary in the building up of bone, scales, blood and reproductive organs. Without these fish may live for quite lengthy periods, but growth is impossible. Lack of minerals leads, to lack of stamina and resistance to disease, and fish so fed are very susceptible to fungoid diseases. Such minerals must be ingested with the food, it being useless to add soluble minerals to the water excepting for its beneficial effect on plant life. Nature provides foods rich in proteins and minerals in the form of small aquatic creature? such as daphnia, cyclops, esthena, cypris, branchipus, and other crustaceans, while for small fry such organisms as amoeba, vorticella, volvox, diatoms, protococcus, euglaena, paramoecwm, larvae of mosquito and chironomous are particularly good.


Methods of Feeding.

Feed regularly, and give little at a time. Provide living food as much as possible, this is rich in vitamines. Never allow food to lie in the tank after the fish have satisfied their hunger, such debris rapidly giving rise to bacterial action with dire results. Weed eating fish get their minerals from the plants, and in standing water these minerals are soon depleted, so that soluble minerals should be added from time to time to counter­balance the loss. Minute animal life is also attached to the weeds eaten and is of course highly beneficial. Plant life becomes very scanty and attenuated when minerals become depleted.


Living tissues are always preferable to dead matter as food for fish. Such food (living) contains substances which undergo chemical changes immediately the protoplasm in the tissues dies. In a battery of wooden tubs or ponds small animal life such as that enumerated above may be successfully bred for the use of aquarists in feeding their pets.



Cyclone Tracy Shipwrecks

by Steve Reynolds


Cyclone Tracy destroyed most of Darwin in the Northern Territory over Christmas 1974. Many ships were sunk during the cyclone. The locations of two of these ships were unknown until recently. The sites of the Darwin Princess and the Booya in Darwin Harbour were confirmed in 2003, some 29 years after the cyclone. The 75-foot ferry the Darwin Princess was the most recent discovery. An exclusion zone was placed on the wreck whilst police divers searched for the remains of its captain or any of his personal belongings. The Booya was found in shallow water, just 5nm from shore and close to the Darwin Princess. The Booya was one of Australia’s last commercial merchant sailing ships. The crew of five is believed to have perished on her. She was last seen about 8pm on Christmas Eve in 1974. Police divers investigated the wreck in November 2003 to search for the remains of her five crew. A diver described the wreck as being in pristine condition but said that it was a mess with ropes and equipment everywhere. The Booya was sailing in SA waters under a different name for some 20 years between 1923 & 1942, possibly longer. According to “Ketches of South Australia” by Ronald Parsons, the Booya had been built by Gebr van Diepen at Waterhuizen, Holland as a steel-hulled three-masted auxiliary schooner in 1917. She had a 130bhp engine and was given the name De Lauwers. Her dimensions were 117 ½ X 24 ½ X 10 ½ feet. Her tonnage was 254 gross tons and 206 net tons. She became registered at Port Adelaide as Argosy Lemal (Lemael?) in May 1923. Her first owner was a William L McArthur. The Yorke Shipping Pty Ltd then became her next owner. In November 1942 she was requisitioned by the Commonwealth Government. She was sold out of Government service in1949. She briefly became known as the Ametco. Reginald M Crouch of Adelaide became her new owner in 1949 and she was registered in Melbourne as the Claire Crouch. Reginald M Crouch was also the owner of auxiliary schooners such as the Ian Crouch, the Jillian Crouch and the Milford Crouch. In 1950 the Claire Crouch was re-engined with a 280 bhp Crossley diesel engine. This decreased her net tonnage to 196 net tons but increased her gross tonnage to 256 gross tons. She then carried sulphuric acid in specially constructed tanks from Port Pirie to Port Lincoln for several years. She became laid up in 1965/66 until she was sold again. She then became employed in Bass Strait trades until she was sold again in 1971. Her new owners took her to Townsville, Queensland where she began operating as the Booya. Unfortunately for her, she was in Darwin Harbour when Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin on Christmas Eve in 1974. There is an article about the Darwin Princess in the July 2004 issue of  Dive Log Australasia”. For more information about the wreck and others around Darwin, such as the Booya, keep an eye on the web site at



“Ketches of South Australia – A record of small sailing ships on the coast of South Australia – 1836-1970” (third edition) by Ronald Parsons (completely revised & corrected). Printed & published by the author, July 1978. ISBN 0 9599387 9 6.

July 2004 issue of  Dive Log Australasia”.

Web site at



More about the Ulonga and the Moorara

by Steve Reynolds


Further to my article “Two Riverboats That Sank In SA’s Gulfs” published in the March Newsletter, I have since found more details about both the Ulonga and the Moorara in Captain James Gillespie’s book “Traders Under Sail – The cutters, ketches and schooners of South Australia”. Page 221 of this book features a great photo of the Ulonga arriving at Port Adelaide as a paddlewheel vessel in February 1948. When she was converted to a three-masted auxiliary schooner she traded between Port Adelaide and Stenhouse Bay, bringing Gypsum to Port Adelaide. She went on to become a regular visitor to American River on Kangaroo Island, taking general cargo and superphosphate there. It may have been about this time that she ran aground on Kangaroo Island. There is a photo of the incident on page 222 of Captain Gillespie’s book. Apparently the Ulonga sustained no damage in the incident. There is another great photo of the Ulonga “in her latter days of trading” on the same page.

Captain Gillespie’s book says that the Moorara was built by AJ Innes, not “Inches” as given in both “Ketches of South Australia by Ronald Parsons and “Wardang Island Maritime Heritage Trail” published by the State Heritage Branch of the Department of Environment and Planning. There is a great photo of the Moorara as a schooner in the Port River on page 162 of the book (The book is full of great photos!). Captain Gillespie tells us that the Moorara was chartered in December 1962 to take scientists and divers to Investigator Strait. The divers examined parts of the seabed and also explored some of the shipwrecks there. This was just prior to Mr G Price of Wardang Island becoming the new owner of the Moorara.



 “Traders Under Sail – The cutters, ketches and schooners of South Australia” by Captain James Gillespie, 1994.

“Ketches of South Australia – A record of small sailing ships on the coast of South Australia – 1836-1970” (third edition) by Ronald Parsons (completely revised & corrected). Printed & published by the author, July 1978. ISBN 0 9599387 9 6.

“Wardang Island Maritime Heritage Trail” published by the State Heritage Branch of the Department of Environment and Planning, 1991. ISBN  0 7243 8629 7.



2005 Journal


I would be grateful for any articles for the 2005 Journal to be given to me as soon as possible. It is much easier to compile the Journal slowly over the next few months rather than in a rush in October. Please make the effort to produce an article this year.

This is of course your Journal and your opportunity to get into print.



Recent Diving Deaths – Lessons Learnt

Paul Macdonald-Dive Coordinator-NARCD Dive Club


This article is taken from the May 2004 issue of the NARCD Dive Club newsletter.


Recently, the SA Coroner released his findings in relation to 5 diving deaths that occurred in SA. The full transcripts can be found at .


Lessons Learnt

Do not hold your breath while ascending and practice safe ascent rates.

One diving problem often compounds into further problems if it is not rectified. “She’ll be alright” does not work underwater. Do not be afraid to terminate a dive because of a problem or if you are not comfortable.

Observe the buddy pair rules, especially if a partner demonstrates signs of anxiety, and see each other safely back to the boat or shore.

Ensure you are fit for diving and, if there is any doubt, consult a medical practitioner trained in hyperbaric medicine – ensure case notes from your usual GP are available. Do not dive against doctor’s advice.

Ensure your equipment is serviceable.

Make sure you understand the proper use of your buddy’s equipment. Don’t wait for an emergency before you have to learn how to work it.

Do not modify your equipment beyond its originally intended design.

Practice good buoyancy such that you do not carry excessive weight on your weight belt and do not be afraid to seek professional assistance from a qualified instructor if you have buoyancy problems.

Ensure you use a properly fitting exposure suit. How many times have we heard a buddy say my wetsuit has shrunk since I last dived?

If you are in trouble, dump your weight belt, you may save your own life and lead isn’t that expensive.

Pre-dive, consider likely hazards and plan your reaction should any eventuate.

Consider attaining certification to at least the level of rescue diver and, regardless, undertake first aid training.

Regularly practice your diving skills including locating your alternate air source.

Your buddy’s and your own life is worth more than any crayfish.



Notable Pipefish Sightings

by Kevin Smith


With more activity on the pipefish front happening all the time it is great to be able to report the following sightings.


24/10/04: Sawtooth pipefish (Maroubra perserrata) seen by Maggie Williams, Neville Skinner and Kevin Smith in a hole on Port Noarlunga reef.


29/11/04: Macleays Crested pipefish (Histiogamphelus cristatus) seen and Briggs Crested pipefish (Histiogamphelus briggsii) photographed over sand at Normanville by David Muirhead.


16/12/04: Knife-snout pipefish (Hypselognathus rostratus) seen over sand at Port Lincoln by Kevin Smith.


21/12/04: Hairy pipefish (Urocampus carinirostris) netted from Zostera by Robert Browne and Kevin Smith at Laura Bay near Ceduna.


26/12/04: Large numbers of Gulf pipefish (Stigmatopora sp.) seen and photographed at Port Victoria by David Teubner.


29/12/04: Male Ring-backed pipefish (Stipecampus cristatus) seen on the edge of a Posidonia bed at Edithburgh by Kevin Smith.


23/1/05: Sawtooth pipefish (Maroubra perserrata) seen by Simon Deane and Kevin Smith in a cave at Second Valley.


23/1/05: Large male Spotted pipefish (Stigmatopora argus) with eggs seen by Kevin Smith and two visiting German divers and photographed by Steve Leske in a Posidonia bed 15m from Second Valley jetty.




Western Blue Groper Survey

by Kevin Smith


            The fourth of a series of surveys took place from the 12th to 17th of December 2004 in the waters near Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula. Under the direction of Senior Research Fellow with S.A.R.D.I and MLSSA patron, Dr Scoresby Shepherd, this survey follows those on Kangaroo Island, Southern Yorke Peninsula and the west coast of South Australia to determine the abundance of the Western Blue Groper, Achoerodus gouldii, in coastal waters.


            A total of six divers carried out a programme of transects at nine locations from Cape Donington to Point Drummond. Using the visual census technique all fish encountered along a 100m long and 5m wide swathe are identified and length recorded. Using this method the population density of groper can be gauged in the sites tested and these results extrapolated to give an estimate of abundance over the complete section of coastline.


            Juvenile groper were recorded at all sites but adults were recorded only at some of the deeper water locations. A full report of the expedition will be published in due course.


            The exercise was blessed with excellent weather with low swell allowing access to some sites which would normally be completely out of the question. Participants Scoresby Shepherd, James Brook, Ali Bloomfield, Ben Parkhurst Janet Scott and Kevin Smith all enjoyed visiting, diving and snorkeling in some of the state’s most beautiful and pristine waters.




Juvenile Western Blue Groper Wrasse


Photograph by: David Muirhead





MLSSA will have a display in the Information Centre in the main street, as noted below. Please visit the display, and as many of the other events as you can, during this time. It promises to be a wonderful event.


Leafy Seadragon Festival


The inaugural Leafy Seadragon Festival will take place on the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula from 13th to 23rd April 2005. The Festival will be a celebration of the arts and nature, and will draw attention to the marine environment and, in particular, the rare and endangered Leafy Seadragon found in the waters of Yankalilla Bay and Kangaroo Island.

There will be a wide range of activities occurring across the district.  The festival will include the following exhibitions, workshops, readings, music, competitions and demonstrations: -

An exhibition of facsimile drawings from the 1802 Baudin voyage entitled “Early French Voyages to Australia”.

An exhibition of original Norman Mitchell cartoon drawings published in the news from 1950s to 1970s. (Both exhibitions are at the Links Lady Bay Hotel and Golf Club.)

Landscape as art (to be photographed from the air) including the creation of giant artwork such as a Leafy Seadragon made of multi-coloured thongs on the beach at Carrickalinga, artwork by a local artist and the students of Rapid Bay Primary School on the hillside at Rapid Bay and artwork on the hills of Cape Jervis by a professional artist working with the community.

A street party at Normanville with market stalls, a busking competition, food and a giant inflatable Leafy Seadragon.

An exhibition involving 3 dimensional art such as textile art, wood and stone sculpture, jewellery, etc.. (with a People's Choice Award).

A dragon (similar to those used at Chinese new year) made in the shape of a Leafy Sea Dragon.

An environmental and underwater photographic display (supported by MLSSA) at the Yankalilla Bay Visitor Information Centre.

Other activities include skateboarding demonstrations, a skateboard decorating competition, a quilting exhibition, a national short story competition (with a first prize of $1,000), kite decorating and flying demonstrations, a photographic exhibition at Second Valley, an art trail linking all the venues across the district, story telling, poetry readings and a best-dressed business competition.

The first three days of the festival coincide with National Youth Week and the last 3 days of the school term, enabling schools of the district to incorporate curriculum-based learning with the Leafy Seadragon Festival. It then continues through the first week of the school holidays with a number of activities to encourage participation of young people and families, making this an event for all ages.


Michelle Hales, Economic Development/Tourism Officer,

District Council of Yankalilla.

Ph: 8558 2999, Email: .










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