Ben Cropp

Benjamin 'Ben' Cropp AM (born 19 January 1936) is an Australian documentary filmmaker, conservationist and a former Open Australian spearfishing champion.[1][2] Formerly a shark hunter, Cropp retired from that trade in 1962 to pursue oceanic documentary filmmaking (having produced some 150 wildlife documentaries) and conservation efforts. One of his efforts for The Disney Channel, The Young Adventurers, was nominated for an Emmy award.

Ben Cropp
Born (1936-01-19) January 19, 1936
ResidencePort Douglas, Queensland, Australia
Known fordocumentary filmmaker, conservation and underwater sports champion (spearfishing)
AwardsMember of the Order of Australia (AM), 1999
International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, 2000

Personal life

Cropp was born on Buka Island near Bougainville Island on 19 January 1936.[1] His father was a Methodist missionary on the island. He lived in various places such as Casino, Ballina and Bellingen as his father moved to different parishes. He grew up at Lennox head in New South Wales. Cropp had a very religious upbringing, but when he was 18 "broke totally away from that".[1] His first marriage was to Van Laman, which "didn't last very long".[1] His second wife was Eva Papp, to whom Cropp was married for eight years. His third marriage was to Canadian Lynn Patterson. This marriage lasted 18 years and the Cropp's had two sons Dean and Adam.[1] who are both making their names as cameramen, following in their father's footsteps.

As of 2007, Cropp was residing in Port Douglas, Queensland, where for twenty years he ran a shipwreck museum.[1] Since then, Cropp has resided on his vessel Freedom 1V, mostly in the Trinity Park marina area, when not at sea diving, boating, fishing, and searching for uncharted shipwrecks. His "bucket list" includes finding a shipwreck that pre-dates Cook's 1770 arrival in Australia, as he believes one exists.


Cropp became a conservationist after an experience off Montague Island in 1964 where he filmed diver George Meyer riding on the back of a whale shark.[1]

He was Ron Taylor's partner in the making of The Shark Hunters, a 60-minute black and white documentary sold for television screenings in 1961.[1]

In 1977, he discovered the wreck of HMS Pandora, almost concurrently with another film maker John Heyer and a boat owner Steve Domm. At that time, John Heyer had done extensive research to establish the predicted area the Pandora wreck was in and launched a discovery expedition with the help of Steve Domm. Ben Cropp also did extensive research on the wreck and planned his own search jointly at the same time as Steve Domm's arrival because of a pre-arranged date with a RAAF plane doing a magnetometer search for both of them. In this way Ben Cropp found the Pandora wreck on the Great Barrier Reef just before John Heyer did. Cropp also lays claim to over 100 other shipwreck discoveries.[1]


In 1970, Cropp became an accredited ACS member of the Australian Cinematographers Society and given a Life Membership in 2014. This was due to his winning numerous film awards, including the World Underwater Photographer Award in 1964, and his still photography was published in top magazines around the world, including National Geographic and the cover of Time.

In 1999, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia.[3]

In 2000, he was part of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame's inaugural induction.[4]


  1. Thompson, Peter (4 September 2007). "Talking Heads - Ben Cropp (transcript)". ABC Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 5 November 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  2. 'Australian Spearfishing Championship results 1953-2012', , retrieved 30/09/2012
  3. "CROPP, Benjamin". It's an honour. Government of Australia. 26 January 1999. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  4. "Ben Cropp". International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
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