News

From Air Force a family legacy is born

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Laurence John Martin’s initiation to the transport industry during World War II started a love of the industry that would pass through his family.

Mr Martin, most commonly known as Curly, was involved in transport until his death is 1995.

His legacy lives on with his sons and grandsons who work in the industry today.

Born in 1927 at Kyogle in New South Wales, during World War II Mr Martin was based in Tocumwal after joining the Air Force at the age of 16.

He served in the Transport Infantry, which was his ticket to the community which would become his home.

Upon being discharge from the Air Force, Mr Martin stayed in Tocumwal and so began the next chapter of his life.

It included meeting and marrying Dorothy O’Brien and the birth of five children — Ron, Margaret, Kenny and twins Robert and Anthony.

Out of the Air Force Mr Martin got his start in trucks by driving for Bill Power, who then sold him his first truck.

This was the beginning of the business U + DM Martin Livestock.

‘‘Curly went on to expand the business by buying several more trucks, and employing his brothers and sons Ron and Kenny,’’ Mr Martin’s nomination read.

‘‘He also employed Finley locals Scottie Thaw and Ginger Sibraa, just to name a couple.

‘‘The business started out carting livestock from the Riverina to Melbourne and into western Queensland.

‘‘In later years Curly subbied for Intermodal and Vaughan’s on the interstate, and it was at this time that he was joined by either Robert or Anthony to help keep the wheels rolling.

‘‘Ahead of his time, Curly converted a three deck sheep crate into a two deck cow crate. He also purchased the first tri-axle trailer that Loadmasters in Woodend, Victoria ever built.’’

Such was Mr Martin’s love of the transport industry, he was unable to give it up entirely following his retirement.

He traded trucks for the local school bus, but would occasionally get behind the wheel of a big rig if someone needed the help.

All of Mr Martin’s children were at the Deniliquin and District Transport Industry Wall of Fame dinner on Friday night to collect their father’s award.