Martin Newey 

1972 - 1973


Martin Newey. 68.

Point Samson (Sam’s Creek) base station, North West Cape, Western Australia 1972 -73.

Bill Cooper (ONI Bass Strait operations, Victoria) in 1971 wanted to buy our house in Frankston as his home. The attraction was our large garage for storage and repairs. Our house was 120 miles - a two hour plus drive to Sale, Gippsland, Bill’s base with Esso/Exxon. Bill did buy our house; we were moving near our drive-in cinema at Dromana, and Rosebud Cinema, on the Mornington Peninsula. I was at a loose end having left my job as an electronics tech with Philips Industries, South Melbourne, to travel overseas at some stage. USA was on my list and I had obtained a 6 month US visa but not a Green Card. After conversations with Bill, and with my work experience he saw me as a prospective employee. He had a need for a base station operator in Western Australia, I thought, … "why not, might get to visit New Orleans, ha!" All this at the tender age of 22 years.

Flew to Adelaide, joined another employee, then on to Perth, after meeting with the guys from Perth office. Perth to Paraburdoo by small plane. Paraburdoo to Roebourne and Sam’s Creek, a six-hour drive - could never understand not flying to Port Hedland.

Met up with Jack Jachimczak and he schooled me in use of two-way radio operation, of Shoran and manipulating yagis, and dealing with scorpions, centipedes, spike seeds and so on. His wife/partner was living on the Gold Coast, Queensland, and his Australian visa was running out. He wanted ‘out’ and was giving Perth office drama over it.

Sam’s Creek base station was just south of Point Samson on a sand hill, west of Wickham and just north of Cliffs Robe River Iron Ore Assoc./Cape Lambert iron ore loading terminal – where desert meets the sea. Iron ore dust was a problem on occasions, clouding out transmission. Jack left after a week, I took him to Roebourne in the old Land Rover we had.

Sourcing water was a problem. Bristow Helicopters reluctantly allowed me to fill up our water tanks from their supply. From memory, I think they said at the time, "Don’t come back". Bristow’s job was to ferry people to Barrow Island and Burmah Oil Exmouth/Rankin rigs. Provisions were sourced from the small Roebourne supermarket. Temperatures during this November/December period were around 40 degrees centigrade every day. During this period, I rebuilt the Briggs and Stratton with a ‘short block’ from a crate, and constructed a rudimentary roof for the engine with the materials at hand. During this solitary period, a cyclone came through, no rain but so fierce the only place of refuge was the Land Rover, and it was difficult to see through the windscreen because of airborne sand. Credit to tent installers, it remained intact although Shoran and pantry were loaded with sand.

Some weeks later Peter Coe turned up and started contacting Perth office requesting a larger, better tent, and we then set to rearranging the station. Peter was a character, working slowly but methodically in blazing sun, not your average Englishman. He did talk about Mike Hoare, and from what I gathered I think he was in his troop for a time in Africa. Would like to catch up with Peter – e-mail or whatever.

The Land Rover which I had relied on so much for water and provisions was taken from us, some ‘political’ decision, and I thought it was about time I moved on. I eventually left Peter on his own. He seemed happy enough.

Back to Victoria, worked as a car hop at our drive-in, film pickup from distributors in Melbourne, among other things, and took off to the UK shortly after. Married in Dundee, Scotland, then back to Melbourne with STC Cannon, BWD Electronics, before moving to Brisbane with wife and two children. My last job in 2013 was with Danfoss Aust. (a Danish company) selling and commissioning variable speed drives to the resource/mining and water industries in Queensland and Northern NSW.

As a postscript, Bill Cooper in 1973 studied acupuncture, I met up with him in Frankston and from memory this was to be his vocation after ONI. After searching for Bill on Google, I came up with a funeral notice for a William Alfred ‘Bill’ Cooper who died October 29, 2015. Funeral to be held at Mt Martha, a nice spot between Frankston and Rosebud. It could be him as I knew he liked this area.


Pilbara map

Sam's Creek

Sam's Creek site

Generator shack

Water run

Peter Coe

Shoran site

Prized Land Rover


At Balmoral castle


Restored Velocette Venom

Packing the VW