Historical information

Des Martin lived all his life in Wodonga, except for his years of service during World War Two. He was raised on the family property Aherlo in the Huon Creek Valley. In 1937 he joined the 8th Light Horse Regiment but in May 1940 led his Wodonga Troop into the 2/2nd Australian Pioneer Battalion, which saw service in Syria, Java, New Guinea and Borneo.

After the war, Des returned to Aherlo and his horses. He was granted permission by the Victorian Racing Club to participate as an amateur “gentleman” rider. He was a founder of the Victorian Amateur Riders Association and also the Murray Valley Hunt Club, for which he was Master for 21 years.

He was a prolific writer, cartoonist, photographer and poet, contributing to The Border Morning Mail, The Age, and the Herald and Weekly Times amongst other publications.

Des Martin’s other literary works included Australia Astride (1959), A Tale of Twin Cities, Part One (1981) and Backing up the Boys (1998).

In 1976, Des wrote an historical novel, “Many a Mile”, based on a fictional region which highly resembled the Albury-Wodonga and Upper Murray area of Victoria. It was set in the last 10 years leading up to Federation. Throughout this period tensions (caused by fluctuating border duties, including an infamous impost on cattle and horses) occasioned the intermittent posting of heavily armed police detachments along the River Murray.

Des also wrote eight 50-minute scripts from “Many a Mile” as a television series and were presented to Michael Pate, one of Australia’s leading actors and producers. Also, funding was sought through the Australian Broadcasting Commission ... unfortunately the series never came to fruition.

This album is a pictorial precis, including photos and scene descriptions, created to promote the concept of the series and have it produced locally in North Eastern Victoria featuring local settings, skilled horsemen and actors. It was to be called “Ringer’s River” ... Ringer being the title accorded to either a top cattle hand, or the fastest shearer in the wool shed.

Des Martin died on 12th April 1995.

Significance

These albums and images are significant because they document literature written by a prominent member of the Wodonga community. The presentation of this precis was supported by several significant district families and individuals.

Physical description

Documents written to introduce the concept of "Ringer's River" to gain interest for the development of a television series