Australian Office

Martin Walsh

This week, ‘40 years, 40 stories’ brings you Martin Walsh, who served two separate terms at the Australian Office –  first in 1989 and then as Senior Trade Commissioner from 2012 to 2015. Martin previously came to Taiwan to study Chinese in 1977 when he was a university student. He shares a story about his first visit:


Looking back at the time-line of my 37 years of engagement with Taiwan, I would say my strongest memory is the generosity and sincerity of the Taiwanese people.  There are many examples I could list but one that sticks in my mind happened on the very first day that I arrived in Taipei in 1977.  I landed at Songshan airport and found my way to a cheap hotel near the Taipei Railway Station called the White Horse hotel.  After checking into my room I went to the front desk and asked how I could catch a bus to the night markets.  The lady at the desk explained how the bus system worked - it was complex.  But to make it easier for me, she went to her handbag and gave me her bus ticket voucher with about 20 trips still on it.  Wow, how generous was that!  That was the beginning of my experience of Taiwanese hospitality and friendship which extended many years into the future.