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Welcome to XNATMAP
A site for preserving NATMAP's (The Division of National Mapping) history and
maintaining contact with the people who were part of that history.
As the Australian Landsat Station (ALS), later the Australian Centre for Remote
Sensing (ACRES) was part of the Division its history also forms part of this site.
The XNATMAP site is being preserved as part of the PANDORA archive.
Information on map reading and interpretation, specifically for Natmap medium scale topographic maps, can be found in
Natmapís Topographic Maps : a guide to map reading and Notes on Map Reading by Reg Ford and Bob Goldsworthy.
As of 1 January 2019
- Rosalinda Mottus (1924-2006)
Linda Mottus worked tirelessly as a draftswoman with Nat Map for some 39 years and made a significant contribution to the mapping of Australia. Linda joined Nat Map's Melbourne office in 1950 and retired in 1989. She was one of the longest serving of the Melbourne Nat Mappers. Born in rural Estonia Linda became a displaced person during World War II and came to Australia as a refugee in 1948. Before leaving Europe Linda spent a few years as a displaced person in Germany where she attended the remarkable Baltic University in Exile at Hamburg. In this article Laurie McLean provides a short biography of Linda Mottus. This link is to a three minute promotional video for Helga Merits' 2015 film The Story of the Baltic University. The video gives viewers some appreciation the circumstances under which Linda lived in Hamburg in the mid-1940s.
- The track that later became known as the Gunbarrel Highway was established to provide access for Natmap's geodetic field parties to extend the geodetic control from near the Northern Territory - South Australia - Western Australia border's junction to the Carnarvon Range, north of Wiluna, in Western Australia. Following a joint Natmap - Weapons Research Establishment (WRE) aerial reconnaissance, Natmap's Supervising Surveyor, Geodetic, HA Bill Johnson led a Natmap - WRE ground reconnaissance in May 1958, to select suitable survey stations and inspect the route for a possible graded track as a supply line. As WRE's track-maker, Len Beadell was one of the four WRE personnel who accompanied Johnson. Johnson's little known report of this work may be read via this link.
More on Natmap's reconnaissance and track making is contained in this paper Reconnaissance and Track Making for Desert Access for the Geodetic Survey of Australia.
- Had it been considered important a Victorian newspaper headline on Friday 4 July 1873 may have read :
Geodetic Survey of Victoria :
"It will be done when completed and cost what it costs" Ellery tells Victorian Government
Robert Lewis John Ellery (after whom Natmap's Dandenong premises was named) as Superintendent of the Geodetic Survey was responding to a request by the then Honourable James Joseph Casey MP, Minister of Lands and Agriculture. Ellery's report was tabled in the Victorian Legislative Assembly on the night of Thursday 3 July 1873. On Monday 7 July 1873 the Argus newspaper published Ellery's response on page 6! This example of the Victorian government's intransigence to the surveying and mapping of its colony, followed a similar occurrence in the earlier colony of New South Wales. Both governments wanted organised settlement but neither wanted to pay for it to occur. Seems this became a recurring theme when Australian governments considered the surveying and mapping of their administrations!
- Ian Dunbar Fretz Claessen (1922-2001)
Ian Claessen worked as a clerk and finance officer in Nat Map's Melbourne Administrative Section for some 25 years. Ian commenced at the Rialto Building in 1961 and retired from Ellery House in 1985. Over the years Ian endeared himself to Nat Map managers and staff with his old fashioned courtesy and shrewd, often witty observations on daily life. Sadly Ian Claessen passed away in 2001 at age 79 years; survived by his wife Dorothy and by their children Sandra and Ion. In this article Laurie McLean has prepared a biographical sketch of Ian Claessen in consultation with some of the Nat mappers who worked with Ian.
- Edward John Rollo (1944-1997)
Ted Rollo had a 30 year career with Nat Map between 1967 and 1996. During that time Ted made a significant personal contribution to the topographic mapping of Australia. Affectionately known as The Bear, Ted was a mild-mannered person and diligent worker who was greatly respected by all Nat Mappers who knew him. In this article Laurie McLean provides a short biography of Ted Rollo.
- During the Geodetic Survey of Australia a trigonometrical station was established on then Ayers Rock in 1958, as described by Ford (1979). To erect its standard cairn and beacon Natmap had received special permission from the Northern Territory Reserves Board. By the late 1960s the carefully constructed rock cairn and beacon had collapsed and a replacement monument was devised and installed in 1970. This article describes the events behind the 1970 remonumenting of the Ayers Rock Trigonmetrical Station.
- Natmap's supervising surveyor Bill Johnson arrived at Billiluna Homestead in October 1962, having just completed the reconnaissance of the Canning Stock Route (CSR), from Wells 35 to 51, of the Well 35 to Halls Creek traverse section of the national geodetic survey. For the geodetic survey parties to later access the northern CSR to carry out the survey, Johnson arranged a contract for Mr Bill Moyle of Carranya Station to undertake the scraping of the new track to Well 51 and to then continue with further track work southwards to Well 45. The unofficially named Moyle's Track ran from the vicinity of Old Billiluna to Well 45, bypassing Wells 47 and 46 to the east. Topographic maps of the era also show a location named Old Billiluna (ruins). Historically Billiluna took its name from a large water hole recorded as Billiluna Pool by Alfred Wernam Canning around 1910 and which is some distance from the other locations named Billiluna. This article The Historical Locations of Billiluna Homestead in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia by Paul Wise, details the history, people and land tenure behind these sites of Billiluna Homestead, providing an approximate timeline and sequence of occupation.
Previously in What's New
Go to ...
- Available National Mapping Technical Reports and Special Publications.
- The National Mapping Council of Australia (NMC) and the Division of National Mapping (Natmap).
- Bibliography of the History of Australia's National Topographic Mapping Agencies by Dorothy Prescott, 2003.
- Training Notes for National Mapping Field Survey Staff were compiled by Reginald Arthur Ford, Senior Technical Officer, while he was the Training Officer for the Melbourne Office. After many years of field experience, Reg documented most of the Nat Map Melbourne's accepted field survey procedures and methodologies covered by these notes. As such this document represents the consistent standard provided to and expected from all involved in field survey work during the late 1960s and 1970s. These notes were never published but just photocopied as required. This web version was derived from the personal copies provided by a number of Natmappers and their cooperation is appreciated. While every effort has been made to ensure correct conversion, users may find minor inconsistencies in the text and tables.
- All editions of the NATMAP News.
- Collected articles and papers about the USAF Southwest Pacific Survey, Project AF60-13 and its use of HIRAN.
A 25 minute (75MB download, MP4 file) 1961 USAF film on geodesy by Hiran can be viewed via this link. The film also has some interesting glimpses of various supporting technologies.
- Editions of the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette or Government Gazette can now be searched via this link. For each year from 1901 to 1973 a comprehensive annual index was produced and is also accessible from the above link. However, after December 1973 the Public Service section of the Gazette was released as a separate volume. From 1974 onwards these Public Service Gazettes have not been digitised. Thus ready online access to staffing information for 1974 onwards is not available. Also from 1975 onwards comprehensive annual indexing of Gazette entries for all years ceased and for some years only quarterly indexing was provided.
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