East Corrimal surfing David Milnes Hodaddy vintage surfing

East Corrimal 1964 by Dave Milnes.

David Milnes has some of the finest Australian surfing photographs from the 1960s era. His unique location, south of Sydney, enabled him to capture some truly unique images of these wonderful locations and lesser know surfers. His photos of Kevin Parkinson, Midget Farrelly and Bobby Brown are some of Hodaddy's favourites. 

In his own words below;

I’ve been a keen photographer since about the age of eight when I messed around with my parents’ Kodak Brownie box camera. I started surfing in 1957 on the old ‘toothpick’ surf club boards until mals appeared on the market. The first mal I rode belonged to one of the ‘clubbies’ and was a hollow ply mal made by Barry Bennett. We now call these okanui boards. Then came balsa and the new foam boards.

In 1959 I was 17 and started taking photos in the water. I bought a Mako Shark underwater camera. Basically it was a waterproof version of a Brownie box camera – fixed aperture and a 60th of a second shutter speed and 620 film. Needless to say the shots I took were pretty crappy as waves and surfers were usually blurred. I still have the camera and several strips of negatives from that time.

David Milnes with camera surfing photography Hodaddy vintage surfing imagery 35mm film

In 1963 my brother was interested in using a telephoto lens to take wildlife photos and he put a Tamron 400 mm fixed telephoto lens on layby, then I finished paying it off and bought a Praktica IVB SLR camera. After trials and some practice I was getting good action shots and was doing my own processing and enlargements. Towards the end of 1963 Bob Evans of Surfing World ran a photo competition. I submitted a few photos and was awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ prize and my photo was published. Bob Evans then asked me to submit photos and stories from my area and I became his South Coast Correspondent. Around the same time I bumped into Jack Eden at Port Kembla. Jack had started Surfabout magazine and was interested in my work and as a result asked me to submit articles to Surfabout. So I was South Coast Correspondent to two magazines at the one time.

I had stories published until 1968 and then to Canada where I worked in ski resorts. I came back to Australia in the 1970s and was informed that longboards were gone and would never come back, as the newer short boards that had come out while I was away had taken over. I tried these silly little short things and gave them up as a dead loss. I did surf my longboards a few times but was heckled every time. Eventually I started sailing – 16 ft Skiffs, Lazy E, Maricats, sailboards, Trailer Sailers and offshore yachts.

30 years later I was bit bored with sailing and one of the local (Port Kembla) surfers wrote a story on surfing in the sixties for Pacific Longboarder magazine but had no photos to go with it. He was put in touch with me and it resulted in an eight-page spread in that magazine. I started taking surf photos again, as well as surfing, as there were now longboard clubs appearing up and down the coast. I specialised in longboard events and began covering the major events nearer to my area. I had further articles published in Australian Longboard magazine. I also contributed to Murray Walding’s book titled Blue Heaven and Andrew Crockett's 'SwitchFoot' books.