Head Down Bum Up seems like a fitting name for a book that pieces together 22 years of the evolution of the abalone industry in Mallacoota.
Heidi Ledwell, daughter of pioneer Mallacoota abalone diver Freddy Ledwell, grew up in the days when the town was struck by abalone gold fever. In the early sixties divers came from all over "chasing the abalone" and pretty soon Mallacoota was considered to be just like a wild west frontier town.
"One would be forgiven for thinking the abalone industry was formed with ease" begins the introduction to the 130-page book.
"The abalone lifestyle did not come without risks: There were huge commitments and sacrifices made by partners and families - there was always the risk a diver would not come home at the end of the day."
As the industry boomed divers had to go further out to sea for abalone. With diving deeper the risk of the bends (decompression sickness) increased.
"It was pretty rudimentary back in those days," Heidi said.
"You had men in small boats in harsh and rugged conditions competing with the elements. When diving, sharks were always in the back of their minds, but the main risk they contended with was getting the bends. They all got the bends - some at least four or five times."
It also wasn't before long before the beds began to be depleted and the risk of not having abalone for the future became a reality.
"Many divers moved on to find their fortune elsewhere. But those who stayed put their heads together and came up with the idea of restrictions, size limits and zoned areas," Heidi said.
"That is what this book is about - the birth of the industry and how it was managed and saved from depletion. The divers did an amazing job to salvage what was left and turn it into the industry that it is today."
Heidi said the idea for the book came from her dad, Fred, who when standing round a bar one night reeling of stories of his diving days was told he should write a book.
"When he told me I thought it was a great idea. No-one had really put the stories and histories together in one place. So I told him I would write it and together we have collected the history."
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The father and daughter team spent more than two years interviewing and collecting stories from as many old divers as they could.
"We spent a huge amount of time in the houses of old divers poring through personal scrap books, photo albums and reading through articles. There are so many individual stories and we pieced them all together."
"The book is a timeline, chronologically covering 22 years of the industry. The same amount of time that I lived in Mallacoota," Heidi said.
"The book begins in 1963 and ends in 1985 - when the millionth can came off the canning process line. That seemed like a significant point in which to end the book."
The story-telling book launch of Head Down, Bum-Up will be held on Friday, April 12, at 5pm at the Mallacoota Golf Club. The launch will kick off the inaugural Wild Harvest Seafood Festival.
The three-day festival includes free and ticketed events including a wild harvest seafood market with guest appearance from renowned Melbourne chef Alejandro Saravia of Pastuso, Saturday sippers and seafood, outdoor cinema, fishing clinic, tour of the local Abalone processing factory AFCOL, Indigenous foods talk and workshop with Noel Butler and Mallacoota lake boat tour with an Indigenous host.
Find out more on Facebook and Instagram @wildharvestseafoodfestival #wildharvest or visit the website: www.wildharvestseafoodfestival.com