UniDive Life Members

Several members within UniDive have contributed significantly to UniDive over time and were awarded Life Membership.

Current life members are - in alphabetical order (see below how they contributed): Robin Aurish, Trevor Barrenger, Phill Best, John Curtin, Donna Easton, Jeremy Ford, John Holmes, Diana Kleine, Bruce McLean, Melanie Oey, Chris Roelfsema, Mark Stenhouse, Douglas Stetner, Maggie Watts .

UniDive Rules describes Life Membership as: “Candidates can be nominated as life members by any ordinary member of the Association for outstanding service to the Association. To become a life member the candidate must then be elected by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Association present at a general meeting in their absolute discretion. Life members are not required to pay Association fees, but are bound by the constitution of UQ Sport. There shall be no limit on the number of life members. “

As you can see, there are no specific rules as to what qualifies someone for Life Membership, they just have to have demonstrated a dedicated commitment to the club and its values over a relatively long period of time - enough to convince two thirds of the club that they deserve it. You can see from looking through the descriptions of the existing life members that this generally means they have: been on the committee for many years in a row; consistently organised lots of trips or took the boat out regularly to ensure trips kept happening; contributed to something significant; consistently mentored newer and less experienced members; and been a long term member. Most clubs consider someone has to be a member and contribute above and beyond the role they have been elected into for a period of at least 7 years. In our experience this is generally 5 years of distinguished service; described as either an 'active member' of the executive committee for 5 years; or an office bearer in a minor role who has 'gone above and beyond' in that position.

If you think someone not listed below deserves to be nominated, let the committee know ahead of the AGM (which is usually around March/April each year). If you want to keep it secret from the particular person and they're on the committee, feel free to just email the Secretary with your nomination.

UniDive members with Life Membership:

John Curtin

Joined UniDive in 19?? And was awarded life membership in 19??

Phill Best (since 1998)

Joined UniDive in 19?? And was awarded life membership in 1998.

Robin Aurisch (since 2005)

Joined UniDive in 1997 and was awarded Life Membership in 2005.

Robin, a real kiwi, moved from Perth to Brisbane and as an enthusiastic diver he attended many club dives and actively organised several trips, where Wolf Rock and Byron are the most well known. In this role he gained heaps of experience driving boats and took up the role of boating officer. In this role he organised, together with Tamsin Terry, the design and purchase of the new boat “Cool Change”. Together with other members he set up procedures to have the UniDive boat handlers take the boat out on all the different trips. Next to that, Robin has been active in the management and safety committee over the years and helped out by offering his wisdom on several of the challenging decisions these committees had to make. Currently Robin provides the boating officer, boat handler and safety committee with his advise on crucial decisions and is a source of historical information for the club activities. Together with Chris Perry and Bruce Mclean he was an important driver in the design and purchase of the new boat “Down Under” in 2009.


Diana Kleine (since 2009)

Joined UniDive in 1998 and was awarded Life Membership in 2009.

Diana Kleine started diving in Holland (no visibility and not much to see compared to Australia) and got her instructors there next to her job as a graphic designer. Before coming to Australia, she had been working as an instructor in dive shops in Jamaica and Malaysia. With UniDive she quickly became active, participating on many dive trips and organising them as well. Next to that Diana helped out with several dive courses where she assisted and taught with Open Water, Advanced, Rescue and Dive master courses and took many unexperienced divers underwater. Diana also used her graphic design skill to create several UniDive publication products: the news letter Wobbie Gossip, UniDive T-shirt, Coast care T-shirt, Grey Nurse Shark T-shirt, several handouts, and posters for the Coastcare and Grey Nurse Shark projects.

John Holmes (since 2009)

Joined UniDive in 1999 and was awarded Life Membership in 2009.

John is the grey bearded and young at heart club member who has always been willing to go diving, organise trips, drive his car full of people, drive the boat, and pick 18 tanks from the dive shop to get them filled. John was first active in the management committee for four years as secretary where he had to minute and organise lots of monthly meetings and heaps of other admin most of the members don’t know is needed to run the club. After this job, John used his dive and trip organising experience to be dive officer for another four years. As dive officer, he set the dive calendar, motivated new members to organise trips, and answered all their questions. While some experienced divers are burned out about going on a full trips and taking care of new members, especially beginning open water divers, John would be there and take good care of them.

Chris Roelfsema (since 2009)

Joined UniDive in 1998 and was awarded Life Membership in 2009.

Chris 'Dr Dutchie' Roelfsema started diving in Holland in 1981 and the thrill of seeing a (as in one!) shrimp, or a fish on a dive got him hooked on diving! He progressed in his diving career up to staff instructor level in Holland before traveling the world running dive shops in Jamaica and Malaysia. He seems to have picked up a liking for reggae in Jamaica. Many are envious of his day job in remote sensing, as he always seems to be flying out to some exotic reef to do 'Research' (we think it is all just an excuse to go diving!). Somehow, between family, work and teaching many dive courses, he has also managed to complete a PhD in remote sensing at U.Q.

Chris organised the Grey Nurse Shark project and the Coastcare project. He has put a large amount of work into the club as the Training officer for the past 10 years, organising as well as teaching Advanced, Rescue, Dive Master, Boat Handling and O2 courses.

He is the comic mind behind a lot of the yearly 'Christmas' party (recently Octoberfests) festivities and awards that have taken place in the past years. Chris is pictured below with his partner in crime, Doug Stetner, at one such event.









Douglas Stetner (since 2009)

Joined UniDive in 2003 and was awarded Life Membership in 2009.

Douglas is a Canadian who started diving in Canada (too cold!) and then got his instructors while living in Wollongong. He moved to Brisbane and after a while he joined UniDive. His skills and experience were of good use when he came and joined the Grey Nurse Shark Project, where he assisted on several of the volunteer research dives. Over the years he not only took divers on guided dives and helped the less experienced, he also drove the UniDive boats to many diving destinations. Douglas also organised, assisted and taught open water, advanced, rescue, dive master and O2 provider courses; and assisted with the boat handling training and trip organiser meetings. He is a fanatic in taking care everything is done by the book and that we follow the rules we set as a club, which makes him a great chair of the safety committee.

Maggie Watts (since 2009)

Joined UniDive in 2003 and was awarded Life Membership in 2009.

Maggie has been diving around the beautiful dives sites of Brisbane for many years and has been helping out as a dive master at various dive shops next to her work as a swimming teacher and running swimming pools. Maggie joined UniDive with the start of the UniDive Grey Nurse project and directly helped out with getting food and beverage going for big groups of hungry divers. This is what made her well known as a valuable organiser for many big club trips to Straddie, Moreton, Byron Bay, Noosa, Pimpernel Rock and Wolf Rock. Maggie took care of keeping the club fridge filled with soft drinks and getting several major bbq events organised. Maggie has been active in mentoring many new divers on dives, helping them with organising trips, assisting as boat handler, and helping out with the Thursday night pool training. Next to her food and beverage organisational skills, she was maintenance officer for four years, helped out setting up a maintenance plan for all the UniDive dive gear, and took care of new purchases.

Bruce McLean (since 2013)

Joined UniDive in 2007 and was awarded Life Membership in 2013.

Bruce was treasurer almost from the start, and he only left that position one year to be vice president. Finance is the part most members do not enjoy; Bruce on the other hand seems to love playing with money, and he did a great job. Every receipt that is paid by UniDive was going through his hands, for o-rings, stickers, hockey sticks, BCD’s, fridge, to the new boat. Every month he reported on finance, he took care of the annual report, and the Queensland flood required him to chase the insurance with success. Diving-wise, Bruce went from Advanced to Dive Master and gained heaps of experience, which he happily shared with any new or old member by buddying up with them and guiding them around. He assisted instructors with the courses, and he took care of refreshers. He organised many trips, drove the boat, and brought members safely back. His mighty Landrover went on many Straddie, Byron Bay and Wolf Rock trips, towing trailers and carrying other members. He did not mind making a fool of himself during talent shows or other club events. His wisdom, motivation, and input is of great importance for making UniDive a successful club, and he is therefore a great example for any other member.

Jeremy Ford (since 2013)

Joined UniDive in 2003 and was awarded Life Membership in 2013.

Jeremy has been around UniDive for quite a while and has provided some great input as member, ancillary and boating officer, and safety committee member. As boating officer he kept the boat shining and ensured he or others took it out as much as possible. In the safety committee he formed a calm and wise opinion and was happy to share that with other members. Jeremy started as Advanced in the club, but Rescue followed to Dive Master, and he is now an active technical diver who loves to poke his head in caves and wrecks. He has organised many, many dive trips to all places around Queensland, and drove the boat and the passengers to exciting new sites he has explored. In the club he was always there for some fun and entertainment, and was willing to have a temporary sex change to drive the boat for the girls-only dive trip.

Donna Easton (since 2018)

Joined UniDive in 2010 and was awarded Life Membership in 2018.

Donna Has been around UniDive for a long time, and has been executive committee member since 2014 (secretary 2014-2015,president 2015-2018). As president she took a position where she formed the thorough basis of the committee and was always ready to chase jobs of others or take over jobs when they were not done. In that role she took care for clear consistent communication to the members and always open for other views or new activities (e.g. free pool training, promoting underwater rugby) and before that since she arrived she helped out in the loans team. Next to that she has been since the start of her membership an active member on whom the committees and members could count on when organizing activities (e.g. dive trips) or when help was needed (e.g. clean up after the 2011 flood). She helped organise many dive trip and has assisted with training as well (e.g. swimming techniques, or buoyancy and trim). With the Point Lookout Ecological Assessment and the Flinders Reef Ecological Assessment project she took on several task next to conducting surveys (e.g. grant writing, ING crowed sourcing). Next to that she is and always has been a active and reliable buddy for many members.

Melanie Oey (since 2021)

Joined UniDive in 2011 and was awarded Life Membership in 2021.

Mel didn’t start diving until she moved to Australia, at which point her first instructor scared her so much during her open water course that she stopped again pretty much straight away. But Mel, as we all know, does not let anything beat her. So while on holiday she tried again and found that with a good instructor, diving is actually a pretty great sport. After returning to Brisbane she joined Unidive and the rest, as they say, is history.

Mel first joined the Unidive committee in 2013 when she took on the Dive Officer role and made it her own. She was still a pretty new diver at this point, but took the advice of the people around her, added her endless enthusiasm, and over the next few years helped so many dive trips happen that at one stage we had 7 events on the same weekend! People were fighting over spots in the calendar! But that wasn’t enough for her – she then talked instructors into running skill development workshops, and eventually became a workshop leader herself and then took on the Training Officer role in which she encouraged others to follow her lead. She’s also contributed to applying for grants on behalf of the club and organisation of club conservation projects, including many clean-up dives.

Mel has served on the Management Committee eight times and the Safety Committee at least six times. Those who’ve served on those committees with her know that Mel cannot do anything by halves – if she’s on the committee, she’s actively contributing and making everyone think. Over this time, she’s embodied the adage that you “get out what you put in” when it comes to clubs. She’s gone from newbie diver to experienced technical and cave diver, from wide-eyed protégé to instructor. She’s become a mentor to many who want to learn how to be safer and more skilful divers, and inspired many to pursue further training.

Every club needs people like Mel to encourage, educate and inspire other members to contribute to the club.

Trevor Barrenger (since 2021)

Joined UniDive in 1980's and was awarded Life Membership in 2021.

Trevor first joined Unidive before most of our current members were born, back in the 80s when dive computers didn’t exist so they’d go all the way out to Cherub’s for one dive. This gives you an idea about the amount of experience and commitment Trevor brings to the club. After taking some time away to be a grown up, and raise a bunch of second generation divers (including a Unidive Committee Member), Trevor came back to us in 2014 and has been taking us out on Down Under regularly ever since. While he’s only served on the Management Committee four times, he was there in the background providing expert advice for several years before he first became Boat Officer in 2017 and has been a key Primary Boathandler for seven years. Over the last few years, he has also served on the Safety Committee and played a key role in the Management Committee, being the voice of reason and lending his years of experience to making sure good decisions are made – and not just about the boat. He played an integral role in an extremely significant re-write of the club By-Laws, and revamped the Boating sections to modernise them and remove previously controversial ambiguities. He brought in the idea of the Senior Boathandlers assessing new Boathandlers, ensuring we have a clearer and more robust system for ensuring competency and simplifying the process at the same time. Amazing!

Trevor has mentored countless new Boathandlers, divers and committee members. He was a key player in the success of the FREA project, volunteers more time than he can really spare to keeping Down Under and its trailer in working condition, and organised the major overhaul of the boat trailer and replacement pontoons that will keep Down Under going for another 10 years. Trevor is great role model for all members and we can all aspire to have such wisdom and energy in our futures!

Mark Stenhouse (since 2024)

Joined UniDive in 2014 and was awarded Life Membership in 2024.

Mark has been a member since early 2014, when he joined the club because he wanted to participate in the PLEA project and contribute to this valuable citizen science initiative, which he did with great enthusiasm and to the greatest extent possible for a true citizen scientist - i.e. someone who doesn't do marine biology or any other type of science as their day job. He also joined the Management Committee the same year and has contributed as a hugely valuable committee member and source of knowledge and calm for the committee ever since. In addition to his 10 years service on the Management Committee, he has been a significant contributor to important (but ultimately frustrating and boring) jobs like rewriting the by-laws in a sane way, and documenting key processes such as how to use the compressor correctly and safely. Despite contributing huge amounts of time and effort to these management tasks, he is also always the first to step up to help with lots of other things like making sure the Welcome Dive goes ahead smoothly each semester doing whichever job is needed, running refresher workshops in the pool, feeding us on weekend trips, training people to use the compressor, leading shed cleanups, saving the loans gear from flooding, proof-reading grant applications and trying to get funding for various projects, and supporting all of the citizen science projects since PLEA. And somehow he still has time to be a regular boat handler and help out new members! 

Mark is the archetype volunteer and demonstrates what leading by example means. Clubs can't run without people like Mark and we are hugely privileged to have him!