Kay and Rodney with Rodney's International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame
award at the Cayman Islands.
Great White Shark attack victim, film maker and expedition leader, Rodney Fox, was born in South Australia on 9th November 1940. He is happily married to Kay and they have three children Andrew, Lenore, Darren and 7 grandchildren.
The Fox family opened The Rodney Fox Shark Experience a Shark Museum and Nautical Gift Shop. This museum featured Rodneys private collection of displays and items from a life time film making and research with sharks. The displays featured Great White Shark models, cages from the film Jaws, giant fossil teeth plus photos and video highlights from many films that he has been involved in.
Rodney's boat "Faile' has caried out hundreds of Great White Shark dive adventures in the waters of South Australia. While Rodney now concentrates more on other parts of his business, his son Andrew is in charge of running all the trips.
( photo: Carl Roessler)
When he is not talking to groups of people about sharks, Rodneys time is spent consulting and coordinating film crews and arranging and guiding tourist adventure trips and expeditions specializing in Great White Sharks, Whale Sharks, crocodiles and other marine creatures.
Rodney Fox was attacked by a Great White Shark and badly bitten around the chest and arm in December 1963. His story of the attack and escape has been published many times. He is regarded as a miracle survivor of one of the worlds worst shark attacks.
( Photo: Carl Roessler)
Rodney went on to build the first under water observation cage to dive the Great White Shark and has now led hundreds of major expeditions to film and study his attacker. He is regarded as a world authority on the Great White Shark and has a great reputation as an expedition leader and producer of sharks. It is estimated that Rodney has been involved in some way with 90% of all prominent White Shark images taken world wide, in the 20th Century.
Certainly the only place I would want to see a Great White Shark, is from the safety of a cage. ( Photo: Carl Roessler)
Since Rodneys attack by a Great White in 1963 his involvement with the giant sharks include consultant, guide, expedition leader, hunter, film producer, photographer, coordinator, actor, diver, cage designer protector and more. He also spent much of his early career as a professional abalone diver. This wide variety of experiences gives Rodney a huge repertoire to talk on as a much sought after public speaker.
Rodneys talks inspire his audiences to overcome fears they may have in life, and through a process of understanding and education he hopes anyone can begin to appreciate and respect that which they were formally afraid of, to enjoy a better life.
Myself with Kay and Rodney at Cayman Islands.
1963 was the year I had made myself a promise to take up scuba diving to face my fear of sharks.
Certainly, with Rodney getting bitten in the same year, it had a huge affect on my "faith of purpose" promise to myself and gave me little encouragement as to how I was going to deal with my inherrant fears.
However, regardless of my fears and anxiety over many thousands of dives, most of the sharks I met ….went the other way!
In 2007 Rodney was invited into the International Scuba Divers Hall of Fame held in the Cayman Islands. At the same time, Carl Roessler, Neville Coleman, Paul Humann and Ralph Erickson were also innaugrated.
At DEMA in 2007 Rodney received the prestigious Wyland Icon Award
In the attack, Rodneys abdomen was fully exposed and all ribs were broken on his left side. His diaphragm was punctured, lung ripped open, scapula was pierced, spleen was uncovered, the main artery from his heart was exposed. The tendons, fingers and thumb in his right hand were all cut, and to this day he still has part of a Great White tooth embedded in his wrist. He was minutes away from his veins collapsing due to the loss of large amounts of blood. Over 360 stitches were required to sew him up.
Rodney thanks the wonderful work of his surgeon Dr. Justin Miller for the wonderful job in fitting all the pieces back together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Although limited live footage actually made it to the final Jaws cut, some of the excitement, humour and comradary on location here shaped some of the structure of Peter Benchleys and Steven Spielbergs classic movie, and actually changed the script!
Within the safety of Rodney's purpose – built shark cage, thousands of divers have managed to obtain excellent shots of Great White Sharks.
(Photo: Carl Roessler)
Rodney was an associate producer and also starred in a major 70mm IMAX production Search for the Great Sharks which created records in the world IMAX theatre circuit. His shark attack and views of Great Whites is featured in a prominent interview with Jean-Michael Cousteau on board the Alcyone in the Television documentary The Great White Shark, Lonely Lord of the Sea.
Rodney discovered and led the first expeditions to film Whale Sharks off Exmouth Gulf in north Western Australia using a spotter aeroplane and radios to guide the dive boat to the sharks. Rodney logged over 500 dives with these gentle monsters, during the first seasons.
The National Geographic television film special featuring Rodney entitled The Fox and the Shark shows regularly on television throughout the world. This film features Rodneys activities on 3 major expeditions during the last two years with Great Whites, Whale Sharks and Reef and Silky Sharks in the Bahamas as well as highlighted history from the past 30 years of his diving and shark adventures.
Great White Sharks are the ultimate predator and through the years they have certainly eaten a number of Australian divers and snorkelers, as they return year after year to known locations of food on their nomadic migrations.
However, like all creatures in nature humans must learn to live with the facts. Motor cars "eat" more Australians in a single weekend than Great White Sharks do in a decade.
Killing all the motor cars, makes just as much sense as killing all of anything, just because it has the potential to harm us.
Rodneys talks and films on the Great White Shark have educated swimmers and divers to the realistic potential of shark attack. He delivers a firm message that sharks are not all that bad, we have very few confrontations with them and we should look after all our fishes especially the Great White . He positions the Great White as an important keystone predator directly controlling the diversity and abundance of other species in the great web of life. It does not seem an unreasonable claim that Rodney has been largely responsible for exposing much of the world to this great and spectacular leviathan. His message;
We must learn to live with and understand all sharks including the Great White Sharks and not kill them
simply out of fear.