VALE - Ray Martin
- Written by Tony Head
- Category: News
- Created: 27 April 2017
Ray Martin - a Life in Aquatics
Ray Martin started his connection with the Aquatic Industry in 1929 when he joined the local swimming club in Pascoe Vale Victoria as a six year old. As he moved into his teens his interest was fostered by the Pool Manager of the time who allowed him to clean the filters and get involved in the operation of the plant and equipment. It was a natural progression for Ray to move into a Lifeguarding role when he was old enough.
Ray was encouraged to join Royal Life Saving as a teenager in 1939 and eventually became an instructor, examiner and coach. He not only was involved with Royal Life Saving, but also had an interest in a fledgling organisation called Surf Life Saving.
Ray started work at the railways after leaving school and started what we would now call a boiler makers apprenticeship. But after having to work in all the asbestos in the old steam engine boilers he decided to become a baker instead. He did his apprenticeship in Melbourne as a baker whilst still helping out at Pascoe Vale Pool. He moved to Barham in NSW after he got his qualifications and took over the local bakery and mail delivery business.
This was in the days of it being a real outback town and Ray has many stories about being bogged in the mud whilst delivering the bread and mail. Of course being close to the Murray River it was also where he taught his children to swim! He eventually decided that being a baker was not for him and went back to Melbourne where he was successful in gaining employment as the Camberwell Swimming Centre Manager.
As he progressed through the industry Ray and Joyce moved to Western Australia where Ray took on the role as the first manager of Beatty Park. At Beatty Park he instigated the delivery of the first training courses for both Pool Managers and prospective life guards. The need for training developed as more and pools where opened in the Wheat Belt and the South West and many individuals where trained in plant operations and water management at Beatty Park.
Ray's Lifeguard training courses were legendary especially as he made participants enter the balance tank at Beatty Park which was underground and then rescue someone who had fallen in to simulate an emergency. He also made the participants jump of the top tower and rescue someone on the bottom of the diving pool. Times and workplace issues and safety have certainly changed in the past 40 years!
He not only developed the skills of prospective pool managers but also taught the local Environmental Health Inspectors how to undertake the water testing of pools and interpret the results. Ray continued his relationship with Royal Life Saving in Western Australia where he became the Assistant Chief Instructor and Member of the Board. When the family moved to Dalwallinu Ray continued as a representative for that zone and conducted lifesaving competitions in the area.
Over the year's Ray has managed many facilities across Australia including:
• Morwell VIC
• Mansfield VIC
• Traralgon VIC
• Camberwell VIC
• Beatty Park WA
• Burnside Adelaide SA
• Adelaide Aquatic Centre Adelaide SA
• Dalwallinu WA
• Laverton WA
• Acting Manager of Tom Price WA
In his spare time Ray has also been involved with many aquatic organisations that had direct links to his industry roles and others that provided great community benefit. These included:
• President of the Swimming Teachers Association SA
• President of the International Federation Of Swimming Teachers Association of Australia.
• Invited to attend a forum to establish Austswim as an advisor. He is still a member of the advisory committee in SA.
• First State President of the ARI in SA and is a past National President and Life Member.
Of course none of this would have been possible without the support of his wonderful wife Joyce who like many "poolies" wives understand the long hours and days that are apart of our industry. Joyce would often accompany Ray on lectures, training courses and his other activities. She would assist with the paperwork and help with the afternoon and morning teas, marking the papers and many other tasks.
She also ran the kiosk at many of the pools Ray managed with the biggest being the Adelaide Aquatic Centre. Joyce would arrive home at midnight after working all day and then put on the washing. Joyce traveled the country with Ray for his work and his volunteering with Royal Life Saving. Anyone who has ever met Joyce will know of her love of life, her kids and of course Ray.
Ray does not seem to know the words "Have a Rest" and recently competed in the Surf Life Saving Masters Championship in South Australia and won 5 medals for the 70's and over. This included a silver medal in the 1 kilometer beach run, what a legend.
Ray and Joyce Martin have made an incredible impression on the aquatic industry across Australia and Ray was most suitably honored when presented with and The Order of Australia Medal for his services to the industry.
They have also left a family of Pool Mangers that carry on the Martin name with both Ray Jnr and John managing pools in Western Australia. The Aquatic Industry in Australia owes a great deal to Ray Martin who can clearly be seen as a leader in our emerging industry, a person who has made Australia a better place.
May he rest in peace.