The Story of Tom Reid, a Little Dish and Neil Armstrong’s First Step
By Andrew Tink
Published by Newsouth Books
RRP $34.99 in paperback • ISBN 9781742236087
In the Australian movie ‘The Dish’, the radio telescope based at Parkes Observatory was portrayed as the central player in covering the first moon landing walk by Neil Armstrong.
However, Andrew Tink reveals in this fascinating book, it was in fact the tracking station at Honeysuckle Creek situated near Canberra, one of three new stations built by NASA to track the Apollo program, that was instrumental in transmitting some of the most-watched images in human history. The movie, it seems, was great to watch but hardly accurate.
The success of the Honeysuckle Creek facility was largely due to Tom Reid, who had served in both the British and Australian navies. Reid was drafted in to head up the facility. He was a no-nonsense Scotsman who did not suffer fools yet he was admired and respected by his team.
But this book is more than just the personal history of one man.
It is a book about an event that inspired a generation and the pivotal role Honeysuckle Creek played in communications with Apollo 11 at the critical time of the moon walk in 1969. It is a story that deserves to be more widely known.