Ingham Daily Press

Keeping People Connected

‘Digger’ Martin’s great grandson, Hayden Martin

Hayden Martin (13)

Who: Hayden Martin (13)

From: Long Pocket, Abergowrie

School: Gilroy Santa Maria College

Club: Crushers’ Rugby League under-13s

Fish: Barramundi

Size: 74 cm

How caught: Handline

Bait: Live stripey

Where: Herbert River

What did you do with it: My mum crumbed it and it gave us all a good feed

Best thing about Abergowrie: Freedom

Family history: Hayden’s great great grandfather, Windy Martin, came to Australia from England in the 1880s. He set up a farm on the river at John Row Bridge, north of Ingham, before moving to Long Pocket in the 1920s.

Windy’s son George ‘Digger’ Martin was immortalised in a Dan Sheahan poem, ‘The Death of Digger Martin’ (1944).

The Long Pocket farmers were great friends and had both served in France and Belgium in World War One.

Digger continued active service after being shot through the jaw. He survived the horrors of that conflict, but tragically died in his late 40s after contracting scrub typhus, which is spread through the bites of infected larval mites, while cutting timber for a shed. Today this would be treated with antibiotics.

The great Abergowrie bush balladist, Dan Sheahan, was devastated by the loss of his mate, and laments in the poem that the pair would never again see the black bream biting together at Broadwater Creek.

Below is an extract, published with the permission of the Sheahan family:

‘And we’ll saddle the ponies and solitude seek
Where the black bream were biting on Broadwater creek –
And there well away from the mad world’s strife
We’d smoke and we’d talk on the problems of life.

But you’re gone, Digger, gone – all your problems are o’er
And the shades of Broadwater will know you no more –
May the soft winds of Ingham blow over your rest
In peace and in war, you were one of the best’.

Dan Sheahan, 1944.

Thank you for sending in your photo Hayden – and for sharing your rich family history.

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