Kel Martin

1968 - 1971

After time in both the Australian Army and the RAAF, I was working fixing TV's in central western NSW and bored stupid. In the employment section of a newspaper, there appeared a tiny add and I remember the wording exactly.

"Wanted, electronics technician. Must be prepared to work in remote places". So I rang and Rich Longton took me on.

Worked around Victoria and Tasmania, until about Feb 1969, then went to Thailand to do a job there. Unfortunately, my wife was prepared for me to work in remote places within Australia, but not for me to go gallivanting around the world. Also I don't think she was prepared for the length of absence from home, so I had to quit and return. There wasn’t much work around where we were living and I finished up working in a rubber factory. Wife knew that I was desperately unhappy and around Dec. 1970, she said 'for Gods sake, go back to Offshore' She didn't have to say it twice. Phone call to Rich and I started again in Jan.1970.

Over the next 2 years, I did three trips to West Africa, covering just about every country between Ghana and Congo, with a few hairy moments. Up to northern Canada and two trips to West Irian, Arafura Sea Areas. Unfortunately again, with 3 young children on her own, she’d had enough. In Dec. 1971, on station in Gabon, I received a telegram over the radio which said 'Be home by Xmas or I quit'

I had a hell of a time trying to settle back into the mundane life, but eventually I found a place in technical sales and then in management, which gave me some travel, variety and challenge. I retired in 1998, to a small seaside town called Tin Can Bay, which bills itself as a quaint fishing village with a drinking problem.


My first station, Between Portland & Warnambool, Vic, Aust, 1968

Deal Island on the Bass Strait coast, Stn was on the highest point, of course.

Mt William, Tasmania, Dec 1968

Crew to set Mt William. Kel Martin 2nd from left, Ian Easterbrook & Ivor Smith at right. Who else?

Walter Beinz on station, somewhere


Mount Ko Ra, Ko Phangan Is, Gulf of Thailand. Used 120 helpers to carry the gear up.

Stn Ko Ra, Feb 1970

Walter Beinz deep in thought. Cape Jaffa, South Aus.

Five star accommodation

Stn Aru, Arafura Sea, Indonesia 1970


Fatagar, Indonesia


Welcoming party at Fatagar

Peter Barrett in control

Land approach to Stn Fatagar Indonesia


Pertimina guards were armed

The fishing was incredible

It's a tough old life

Cape Fatagar Stn marker

Jeff Jal, a pimple in the Ceram Sea, Indonesia 1971

Stn site at Jef Jal

MV Eastern Worker with supplies for Jef Jal

WWII aircraft wreckage at Jef Jal

Demobing Jef Jal

Peter Barrett at West Irian airport style bar - any bar for Peter!

MV Eastern Supplier of Sarong, West Irian

Caption says Bangkok 1970, Harry Bridges on right - I think not!

Lisbon 1971, Wolf Engleman in centre. Others look familiar

Miss Freeport alongside in Port Gentil. Gene Talmadge in shirt

Congo River mouth

Crossing into Cabinda - bandit country

Stn Banana, Congo 1970. Stn in tower antenna on top

Point Esterious, Gabon - Jack Jachimczak & Andy?

P384 Landing at Cabot San Juan, Rio Muni 1970

Tower at Cabot San Juan

Heading for Inuvik - probably Al Devoe on right

DEWline station

Main Street, Inuvik, when it's busy 

PC - left - John Cummings, Al Devoe

Sachs Harbour - Banks Island top centre

P460 Blue Fox Bay, Banks Island

Unloading the chopper

Only place we carried  arms, protection from Polar Bears

After the storm

Does not make for good propagation

Frozen Yaggis

Midsummer, probably 2 degrees C

Crew change

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