Ken Assender went south on the Thala Dan as a young Pilot Officer with the RAAF Antarctic Flight in 1959–60. Stationed at Mawson as Third Pilot for the year, he participated in wide-ranging exploration programmes in the DC3/Dakota aircraft. As a co-pilot, he made extensive forays into the Prince Charles Mountains and Enderby Land to undertake topographical and geological surveys. Ken also flew between Mawson and Davis stations. Ken’s skill as a navigator was later employed in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
Ken’s strong interest in Australia’s Antarctic programme led him to work part-time in the Antarctic Division’s Multimedia Unit during the 1990s. Ken was also the mainstay, for many years, of the Tasmanian Branch of the ANARE Club, of which he became President in 1998.