Jim Martin, 91, was laid to rest last week after a colourful life.
Jim Martin, 91, was laid to rest last week after a colourful life. Submitted

Character who ignored the rules

AN eccentric flying enthusiast who got his love of planes from a joyflight with Bert Hinkler was laid to rest by friends and family last week, after a long, colourful life lived across the region.

Jim Martin, 91, who lived in Dalysford, Wallaville and Bundaberg throughout his life, was well known for his unorthodox flying antics, according to Councillor Wayne Honor, who gave his eulogy.

After a ride in Bert Hinkler's plane as a child, Mr Martin was hooked on flight — later going on to buy his own Piper Cherokee.

“He set about establishing airstrips all over the place on (family) properties ... so he could fly in and visit,” Mr Honor said.

“He paid scant attention to the rules and wasn't past landing on roads, buzzing cars, buzzing the Mt Perry show ring full of horses, or any other event in progress.

“If he recognised a vehicle, he would do a crop duster run over it to say g'day.”

Planes were nearly his undoing, however. After selling his Cherokee, he became interested in experimental aircraft, especially ultralights.

One day, Mr Martin took off in an ultralight and, soon after he had taken flight, a cat that had been in the fuselage tried to escape — fouling the prop and bringing the plane down, causing him serious injuries. He was hospitalised and spent some time at his sister Thea's to recuperate.

Mr Martin also took his flying skills to World War II, enlisting in the RAAF in 1942 and flying Halifax aircraft until he had clocked up the maximum allowed hours.

He was born to Marie and William Martin on July 13, 1919, one of six children. Despite leaving school at 14 to help on the family cane farm, he showed exceptional talents as a student.

Mr Martin met Barbara Brennan, who had come from England to Australia to visit her brother, and had two children, David and John, from a previous marriage. The couple married and had two more children of their own, Robert and Lawrie, but the marriage later failed.

Mr Honor said while Mr Martin loved planes, motorbikes and his family, fashion was something to which he paid little attention.

“He often wore the same clothing for days at a time. Most of his pants were held up with haystring,” he said.

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