Andrew Jary

My wife and I, along with our 18 month old son, came out to Australia in 1965 as “10 pound Poms!”.

I worked for ABC TV in Sydney for about 18 months, during which I answered ads for staff to work at both Woomera Rocket Range with WRE and Tid. I had been interested in space and rockets for years and remember seeing the Echo balloon satellite as well as the first transatlantic broadcasts using Telstar.

The offer to work at Tid came before WRE answered so that’s where I ended up, in January 1967.

The Surveyor missions had just got underway and back then all the work was done on site as there were no HSD [High Speed Data] lines then. I remember we took hundreds of Polaroid black and white photos during a pass, many of which I still have, as well as recording them on video tape. We got very good at taking photos!

One evening something that sounded like Morse came out of the walls, which set us all wondering. One guy could read Morse and had a look at it but it didn’t make sense except that one part seemed to be repeated. We eventually twigged that it was the Surveyor telemetry, which was somehow being detected!

A mosaic of the Moon had a cow’s skull, photographed in the desert, carefully inserted! Obviously the one in the nursery rhyme!

From there we progressed to backing up Apollo and I remember chugging up and down between the station and the Coll Tower in a chopper one day, pretending to be an Apollo(!), while pointing a dish back to DSS 42.

In 1970, I was offered a stint at Woomera for 2 years, so I got there after all! We tracked Mariners mostly.

Andy Jary

Andy Jary at Tidbinbilla, early 1970s.


I returned to Tid in 1972 and helped track Pioneers, Voyagers and Vikings. I remember one night we lost the signal from Pioneer 10, I think, and acting on a hunch went outside. There was the Moon in the way!

I stayed at Tid until I resigned and turned slightly Hippie and self-sufficient in 1979, buying a small acreage at Coraki, near Casino. In 1984 I moved from there to Lismore and worked at many things on and off. In 1998 I moved to Woolgoolga, near Coffs Harbour and my wife and I have been very happy here since. Costa del Paradiso! Our son works in Sydney for a LAN/WAN company and our daughter is in NZ working for Maritime NZ on problems to do with pollution of oceans. I still have an interest in all things space!

Andy Jary.


Here are some photos/scans from Andy’s collection –

Andy Jary

Operations area at Tidbinbilla.

Andy Jary

A note of appreciation for all involved in Surveyor III.

Andy Jary

An Apollo Achievement Award.

Andy Jary

This Mariner Mars 71 (i.e. Mariner 9) cartoon came from JPL.

Andy Jary

Another letter of thanks to all who supported Mariner Mars 71.

Andy Jary

A JPL Status Bulletin (no.6) on Mariner 10, 13 November 1973.

Andy Jary

A note of thanks for supporting the initial phase of Voyagers 1 and 2.

Andy Jary

Voyager 2 launch vehicle.

Andy Jary

Voyager 2 launch, August 20, 1977.

Andy Jary

A note of appreciation for all involved in Viking.

Viking Scientists statement

The Viking Scientists thank all the members the mission team – on the day of the Viking I soft landing on Mars.


The 64metre DSS-43, “Ballima”, at Tidbinbilla.

Les Whaley - Analog console Bob Cudmore – Instrumentation Section Leader Jack Rothwell – Antenna Engineer Peter Papps – Magnetic recording John Heath – Microwave Engineer Bob Leslie – Station Director Neil McVicar – Receiver Technician Paddy Johnstone – Ops Controller Dave Watts – Antenna Technician Mal Glenn – JPL Rep