Life begins at Halcyon

Kevin’s role in mankind’s giant leap

16 December 2019 | by Vision by Halcyon

Mementos of that iconic July 20, 1969 event adorn the walls and line the shelves of the converted
“man shed” in Kevin’s Vision by Halcyon home.

A young radio technician at Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station just outside Canberra, the-then 27-year-old was among the team maintaining communication links with astronaut Neil Armstrong 
as he became the first man to  walk on the moon.

The moon landing images that Kevin’s team transmitted were watched by 600 million people across the world. He started working at Honeysuckle Creek in early 1968 after a nine-year stint as a radio technician in the Royal Australian Navy.

NASA set up the tracking station, along with others in California andSpain, to support the Apollo 11 mission lunar phases.

“They said it was a manned space flight but I didn’t really know what that entailed,” Kevin laughed.
“I just wanted a job and this was in the field that I was interested in.  But it was an exciting time.”

He was part of a team of young guns, with the average age of NASA’s Apollo 11 support crew just 28, but all were well-prepared when the big day rolled around.

“We knew this stuff backwards, I thought we were going to wear the equipment out testing it,”  Kevin joked. A series of unexpected events on the day saw Honeysuckle Creek play a larger role than originally planned.

A technical problem at California’s Goldstone tracking station, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin emerging from the Eagle earlier  than expected, and the restriction  of the Parkes Radio Telescope in  NSW to tilt to the horizon at the necessary time put Honeysuckle in the hot seat.

“There was a lot of luck involved really; all the things lined up and that was it,” Kevin said.
Well-drilled for the event, Kevin took the momentous occasion in his stride.

“I thought ‘Oh, there he goes’, I didn’t think much about it, I was just making sure everything was ‘cooking’ well in my area.” he said. “I just carried on; it was business as usual.”

Kevin’s mementos of that incredible shift in the winter of 1969 had long sat packed away in a box.
They finally came to light during Kevin and wife Jill’s move to Vision by Halcyon earlier this year.

Their three children discovered the box of goodies and, realising their significance, insisted Kevin put them on display with his naval memorabilia in a room affectionately known as the ‘man shed’.

Kevin and Jill previously lived on Bribie Island before deciding that Vision was a better fit for Jill, who enjoys socialising and getting involved in the community. “We looked for somewhere to go for a long, long time and checked everything, and we liked Vision because it was a smaller community and closer to the family” Jill said.

“We like to be within reach of water and I feel comfortable when I’m near the water.”

And so, while Kevin gets stuck into penning his autobiography, ‘the never ending story’, and tries to maintain some level of fitness, Jill is often busy taking an aqua aerobics class, getting creative with the craft group or joining fellow home owners for a drink at the weekly Happy Hour gathering.
Life’s good.
 

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