Contents

Foreword by Syd Kirkby, October 2015

 

Part 1-On Technical and Logistical Aspects

 

Chapter 1-The Context

Introduction

Nat Mapís Operational Requirement for Aerodist

Development of the Tellurometer

About Trevor Wadley (1920-1981)

 

Chapter 2-Some Aerodist Technical Aspects

Some of the History of the Aerodist System

The Start of Nat Mapís Aerodist Years

System Acceptance Testing and Preliminary Trials

System Modifications

Aerodist Measurements and ChartĖbased Recording

Aerodist Computations

Accuracy of Aerodist Survey Control Station Coordinates

Aerodist Operational Configuration

Aerodist Height Checks

Aerodist Ground Marking

Aerodist Photo Trilaterations 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1973

 

Chapter 3-About Aerodist Field Operations

Aerodist Field Operations

Radio Communications

About Alf Traeger (1895-1980) and the School of the Air

Aerodist Field Party Camping and Equipment

About Ivor Evans (1887-1960)

Measuring Aircraft Used

Helicopter Supported Remote Parties

Motor Vehicles Used

Centre Party Personnel Transport Vehicles

Remote Party and Helicopter Support Vehicles

Heavy Support Vehicles

 

Part 2-The People

 

Chapter 4-Nat Mapís Aerodist people

The Surveyors

The Electronics Technicians

The Technical Officers

Technical Assistants and Field Assistants

Chart Breaking Team

 

Part 3-The People at Work: Aerodist Field Seasons 1963 to 1974

 

Chapter 5-1963: The First Aerodist Field Season

1963 Aerodist Measuring and Related Activities in Block 6 in Queensland

Proposed Helicopter Azimuths

1963 Aerodist Marking and Measuring Party Members

 

Chapter 6-1964 Field Season: Success at Last

1964 Aerodist Marking and Related Activities in Block 5 and Block 6 (Extension) in Queensland and New South Wales

1964 Aerodist Measuring Activities in Block 5 and Block 6 (Extension) in Queensland and New South Wales

Helicopter Down

1964 Aerodist Marking and Measuring Party Members

 

Chapter 7-1965 Field Season

1965 Aerodist Measuring and Related Activities in Blocks 5 and 6 in Queensland and in Block 14 (later Block 39) in New South Wales

1965 Aerodist Party Members

 

Chapter 8-1966 Field Season

1966 Aerodist Measuring and Related Activities in Blocks 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 in Queensland and in Blocks 14, 34 and 35 (later Block 39) in New South Wales and Victoria

1966 Aerodist Photo Trilaterations

Offshore Survey in Block 8 (later Block 23)

Onshore Measuring Continued in Blocks 10 and 11

Death of Russell Tappy

1966 Aerodist Measuring Party Members

 

Chapter 9-1967 Field Season

1967 Aerodist and Related Activities in Blocks 11, 12, and 13 in Queensland and Northern Territory

Incidents and Accident in the Northern Territory

1967 Aerodist Measuring Activities in Block 39 New South Wales and Victoria

1967 Great Barrier Reef Survey Block 23

1967 Aerodist Measuring and Marking Party Members

 

Chapter 10-1968 Field Season

1968 Aerodist Measuring and Related Activities in Blocks 13, 15, 17 and 23 in New South Wales, Northern Territory, and Queensland

Historic Dinner at Limbunya

Helicopter Fuel Positioning in the Tanami Desert

Offshore Work on the Great Barrier Reef in Block 23

Close Calls over the Coral Sea

1968 Aerodist Measuring Party Members

 

Chapter 11-1969 Field Season

1969 Aerodist Measuring and Related Activities in Blocks 12, 15, 16, 20 and 23 in New South Wales, Northern Territory, and Queensland

Further Offshore Work in Block 23

1969 Aerodist Measuring Party Members

 

Chapter 12-1970 Field Season

1970 Aerodist Measuring in Block 39 in Southern New South Wales

1970 Aerodist Measuring Block 18, Queensland and Northern Territory

1970 Aerodist Measuring in Blocks 17, 22 and 31 in Northern Territory and Queensland

Tellurometer Connections from Tobermory

Aircraft Incident at Boulia

Emergency Landing at Alice Springs

Helicopter Support in 1970

1970 Aerodist Measuring in Block 15 Queensland and New South Wales

1970 Aerodist Measuring Party Members

 

Chapter 13-1971 Field Season

1971 Aerodist Measuring in Block 30 in Central New South Wales

1971 Aerodist Measuring in Blocks 17, 19, and 21 in Northern Territory and Western Australia

1971 Aerodist Ground Marking in Blocks 19 and 21

Vehicle Accident Bedford ZSU 311 Stuart Highway Northern Territory

1971 Aerodist Measuring in Block 18 in Northern Territory and Queensland

Damage to Helicopter VH-UHO

Connection to 1885 Survey on Queensland-Northern Territory Border

1971 Aerodist Measuring and Station Establishment in Block 23-Coral Sea Survey

Disaster Averted at Cairns

1971 Aerodist Measuring Party Members

 

Chapter 14-1972 Field Season

1972 Aerodist Ground Marking in Blocks 28 and 37 in Western Australia

Featherstonhaugh Reconnaissance

1972 Aerodist Measuring in Blocks 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 32, 33 and 37 in Western Australia

Helicopter Support in 1972

Field Repair to VH-EXZ

Broken Axle Camp

Vehicle Accident Land Rover ZSM 920 track from Broken Axle Camp

Operations from Carnegie Homestead

The Lonely Desert

Incidents at Balfour Downs

Move to Kidson Field

After Kidson Field

Flood at NM/F/644 Helicopter Camp

About Forrest Airport

Marking, Measuring and Spot Photography in Block 33

1972 Aerodist Measuring Party Members

 

Chapter 15-1973 Field Season

1973 Aerodist Ground Marking in Block 39 in New South Wales and Victoria

1973 Aerodist Marking Party in Block 39 Members

1973 Aerodist Measuring in Block 39 in New South Wales and Victoria

Back to the Horse and Buggy

Close Call at Wagga

Move to Western Australia

Conclusion of Block 39 Measuring

1973 Aerodist Measuring Party in Block 39 Members

1973 Aerodist Marking and Measuring in Block 36 Western Australia: Onslow offshore, Monte Bello and Barrow Islands; fixing offshore features by photo trilateration

Cray Fishing on Airlie Island

About Scruffy Blair (1929-1998)

Monte Bello Islands

1973 Aerodist Photo Trilaterations

1973 Aerodist Marking and Measuring Party Members for Block 36-

1973 Aerodist Marking and Measuring in Block 37 Western Australia: Archipelago of the Recherche

About Don MacKenzie (1915-2012)

Block 37 Survey

Finishing the Survey in the Archipelago of the Recherche

1973 Aerodist Marking and Measuring Party Members for Block 37

 

Chapter 16-1974: The Final Aerodist Field Season

1974 Aerodist Marking and Measuring in Block 38 Western Australia: The Kimberley

Fire on Aircraft VH-EXZ

1974 Measuring Operations

Nat Mapís Last Aerodist Line

1974 Helicopter Support

Testing of JMR Doppler Satellite Receiver and Tellurometer Connection

Crash of Helicopter VH-SFS

Vehicle Accident Bedford ZSU 311 Eyre Highway South Australia

1974 Aerodist Marking and Measuring Party Members for Block 38

 

Epilogue

 

Appendices

 

Appendix-A

Table A1: Aerodist Stations by Station Identifier

Table A2: Aerodist Stations by Block Area

Table A3: Total Aerodist Stations Coordinated in each Block Area

 

Appendix-B

The Aerodist Caravan 1966-1974

Electronics Test Equipment

 

Appendix-C

Vehicle Recovery of Helicopter Remote Parties in 1970 and 1971

Helicopter Load Constraints

Life for Remote Party Members

When Helicopters Became Unserviceable

 

Recovery of Remote Parties when Helicopter VH-BLN was Unserviceable at Docker River Northern Territory in October 1970

Recovery from NM/F/596

Recovery from NM/G/252

Recovery from NM/F/597

Emergency Air Drop at NM/G/301

Afterwards

Comment in 2015

 

Recovery of Remote Parties at NM/F/366 south of Christmas Creek Homestead in July-August 1971 when Helicopter VH-UHO was Unserviceable

First Unserviceability Event

Remote Party on NM/F/367

Second Unserviceability Event

Recovery from NM/F/211

Recovery from NM/F/365

The Helicopter Mender and the Baker

Recovery of Remote Parties at NM/B/245 near Lake Nash Homestead in September 1971 when Helicopter VH-UHO was Damaged

Recovery from NM/G/266

Replacement Helicopter

 

Appendix-D

Logistical Support in the Latter Part of 1972

Main Fuel Runs in Bedford ZSU 339 August-October 1972

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreword

When carried along by the engaging story of Laurie McLeanís comprehensive and excellently crafted account of the Aerodist Years it is easy to forget that the whole venture could so easily have died with a whimper in its infancy.† While Nat Map had been quick to adopt the transforming surveying technology of electronic distance measuring in the 1950s, Aerodist was something more than a mere extension of this and a large leap in operational complexity and cost and technical and computational requirements.† At its beginning it was a venture undertaken at the then frontiers of technology.† And its first two years showed a good deal more of the problems than the potential.

While Nat Map was committed to undertaking the national topographic mapping control survey how this should be done was hotly debated and the situation was compounded by a degree of pressure to involve the commercial surveying profession in the provision of the required control.† Aerodistís many early detractors were doubtful that it could provide control of the required accuracy and a strong lobby emerged to have the control provided by commercial survey companies by rapid traversing that is electronic distance measuring surveys from stations on the geodetic network to secondary control points at locations suitable for photogrammetric model control.† The critics were wrong about the accuracy attainable and I donít think anyone now would seriously argue that multitudinous commercial operators undertaking piecemeal surveys would, or even could, have achieved anything like suitable accuracy and homogeneity over the network.

Nonetheless, through the first year and a half of Aerodistís operation in Australia it took a degree of courage by Bruce Lambert, Director of National Mapping, to hold faith with it and resist the push for traversing.† At the operational level those involved with it chafed at the frustrations, gave unstintingly of themselves and always felt that success was just another tweak and another try away.† And they were right.† At last, in 1965, it began to sing, and never stopped, despite a couple of overly optimistic forays into the extension of its capabilities.† Remarkably a couple of those extensions which were thought at the time to be out at the edge of cloud cuckoo land were very successful.† Witness the long line offshore surveys.

While technological advances and better understanding of the technology were partly responsible for the emerging success of the project, much has to be attributed to the determination and preparedness to go the extra mile of those working at the operational level.† And what a diverse mob they were.†

Nat Map had long attracted people up for a bit of an adventure and doing something a bit different.† Especially in the early years there were along with the mapmakers, bootmakers and boilermakers, motor mechanics and classics scholars, carpenters and kangaroo shooters, working overseas visitors looking for the true Australia and knock about Aussie usefuls all learning new technologies and skills and leavening and enriching the skills and attitudes of the survey and mapping professionals.† A bit later there was about 25 per cent Vietnam veterans amongst the newer field people, perhaps looking for a lifestyle and employment which might better preserve the sense of purpose and the comradeship and mutual dependence and frisson of their war service.† Partly out of a perception of obligation to those who had served the country, regardless of how you view the circumstances of the service, and partly out of hard headed self interest in the qualities they were expected to bring to the project, Nat Map developed a deliberate policy of employing them whenever possible.† And it paid off many times over.

Somehow, this melting pot of people rubbed along almost frictionlessly and with exemplary commitment.† In all my time with the project I scarcely knew anyone not prepared to go far, far beyond the limits of normal perceptions of a fair thing to further the undertaking.† While operational in the field they generally worked long hours on 13 days out of each successive 14 day cycle.† And to do so was often seriously hard and seriously uncomfortable for long periods, and often with an element of risk.† They slept under the stars, ate Spartan rations, were often denied the opportunity to bathe for days on end, had scant water, and shared their locations with rich nature ranging from crocodiles through snakes and scorpions to the cutest lizards and kangaroos.† While in the field they were paid modestly more than many workers of the time, with a 37.5 per cent of salary additional allowance in lieu of payment for the overtime they worked on an as required basis.† And it always was required and regularly amounted to several tens of hours a week.† Their extra pay would, perhaps, be enough in these current times to cover a leisurely couple of extra hours in the afternoon, from time to time.† And more than nine out of ten of them would have had to ask someone what the word complain meant.

What they got in return, apart from the modestly extra pay while in the field, was a certain knowledge that they were engaged in a significant national endeavour and that they were critical to its success, and that they were doing it damned well.† They got, too, a life that was full of event and unpredictability, and enough comradeship to have ex Nat Mappers still maintaining friendships, still having reunions, still maintaining a website for contact 30 and more years after it was all over.†

At any given time, there would have been scarcely 40 of them engaged for the venture.† Individual project teams rarely numbered as much as twenty.† Nonetheless, they did carry a degree of cachet as they rolled into outback towns, trucks and a caravan and fixed and rotary wing aircraft, weeks of unspent pay jingling in their pockets, so it is probably good for all that they only rarely had the time or opportunity to seriously test the effects of their bright plumage on the local young women.†

In the 1970s Mr Panampalam, an Additional (or Deputy) Surveyor-General of Sri Lanka visited us at Nat Map in Melbourne and had a comprehensive tour of our activities.† Late in the day, obviously puzzled, he asked: Where were your laboratories?† Where are your workers who do the surveys and compile the maps?† On being told that he had seen pretty much all of them, he was disbelieving.† His staff engaged on the broadly equivalent task in Sri Lanka numbered in the many hundreds.

Forty or so people to establish an accurate network of survey control stations over most of Australia: Confidence?† Presumption?† Itís truly appropriate that Nat Mapís stories be told.† And itís quite as much a human story as it is a technological one.

While the surveys were going on, of course, another, little force, about the same size, was doing the computing of the survey results and breaking down the control to individual photogrammetric models and plotting the map detail.† Their story deserves to be told too.† I hope for a Laurie McLean equivalent to emerge from the drafting or photogrammetry ranks to do that.

Meanwhile, letís salute this lot.

Syd Kirkby

October 2015

 

 

 

 

Part 1-On Technical and Logistical Aspects

Chapter 1-The Context

 

Introduction

Between 1963 and 1974, the Aerodist airborne distance measuring system was used by the Commonwealth of Australia's Division of National Mapping to obtain horizontal control for 1:100,000 scale topographic mapping over more than 50 per cent of Australia's mainland area. The system essentially comprised master measuring units in an aircraft that interrogated microwave radio signals returned from remote transponders on the ground. The Aerodist system was used to measure some 3,020 lines that fixed the positions of some 485 survey control stations.

Some 473 survey stations were established by National Mapping for coordination by the Aerodist system. In addition to these stations, 2 existing State survey stations, 3 lighthouses, 4 stations established by the RAN's Hydrographic Service, 1 Royal Australian Survey Corps station and 2 stations established by MA Nicholas and Associates were coordinated during Aerodist measuring operations. Those 12 existing stations were included in the adjustment of the relevant Aerodist blocks to determine new coordinates. Including these 12, a total of 485 survey control stations were coordinated by Nat Map's Aerodist program (Wise 2014). Survey control stations coordinated under the Aerodist program are listed in Appendix A below.

Nat Map's Aerodist horizontal mapping control program was a once only element in the national effort to have a topographic mapping coverage to meet Australia's then present and future requirements. Thus Nat Map Aerodist program was part of Australia's national mapping history. The program commenced before there were remote sensing satellites and satellite-based position fixing systems were at a rudimentary stage. Indeed Nat Map had Aerodist operating in the field just nine years after the Geodimeter was first used in Australia. That pioneering electronic distance measuring instrument was first used in Australia in 1954. Before then, precise survey distances were being measured with the steel bands that replaced the earlier surveyors' chains. (However, in the late 1940s, Nat Map and others had unsuccessfully tested the long range SHORAN radar system.) By the time Nat Map's Aerodist program was complete in 1974 satellite position fixing systems were already in use.

The first Nat Map production Aerodist line was flown in 1963 with the master units mounted in helicopter VH-INM.† The measuring party operated in the Bowen Basin area in Central Queensland from late August 1963; senior surveyor Len Turner was the party leader.† The last Nat Map Aerodist line was flown with the master units mounted in fixed-wing aircraft VH-EXZ operating out of Derby in Western Australia on Saturday 2 November 1974; senior surveyor Peter Langhorne was the party leader.

Nat Mapís 12 years of Aerodist operations was a multi-million dollar program.† The measuring field party usually comprised around 15-20 personnel with motor vehicle and aircraft support including fixed-wing aeroplanes and at times helicopters.† A variety of vessels was employed during offshore operations.† There was also a substantial Aerodist office component for field party support, planning and preparation, and for data reduction and computation.

Organisationally, Nat Mapís Aerodist operations were conducted mainly out of its Melbourne office in the Rialto Building at 497 Collins Street.† After the creation of an assistant director position to head the Melbourne office around 1966, the Aerodist field and office component was known as the Airborne Horizontal Control Section within the then Topographic Survey Branch.† At that time the assistant director was John Dunstan (Joe) Lines (Nat Map 1948-1976).† Supervising surveyor Leonard George (Len) Turner (Nat Map 1961-1977) headed the branch.† Senior surveyor Sydney Lorrimar (Syd) Kirkby (Nat Map 1959-1984) headed the section.† Later senior surveyors to head the Airborne Horizontal Control Section were Con Veenstra (Nat Map 1965-1987) and Peter Langhorne (Nat Map 1966-1969 and 1972-1979).† From around 1971, Orest Jacovlavich (Bob) Bobroff (Nat Map 1958-1982) headed the then Control Survey Branch as supervising surveyor.†

The extent of National Mappingís Aerodist operations over mainland Australia between 1963 and 1974 can be seen in the final Aerodist block diagram in Figure 1 below.† Under coordination arrangements through the National Mapping Council, Nat Map used Aerodist to establish mapping survey control in areas where suitable control was not otherwise available.† As shown in Figure 1, Nat Map generally used Aerodist in less populated areas of the mainland.† State governments in Tasmania and South Australia established suitable mapping survey control in their jurisdictions; as did the Western Australian government; generally west of the 120 degrees east meridian.† The Royal Australian Survey Corps operated in parts of northern Australia.

Figure 1 Final Aerodist block areas (from McMaster 1980)

Nat Mapís Operational Requirement for Aerodist

Work on the production of the R 502 series 1:250,000 scale topographic map coverage of Australia was progressing routinely by the late 1950s.† The national geodetic survey was also advancing well.† Nat Mapís senior executives were then pondering the best means for intensifying horizontal survey ground control for the proposed future 1:100,000 scale national topographic mapping program.†

In 1960, systematic 1:80,000 scale block vertical monochrome aerial photography coverage commenced being flown across the whole of Australia.† This photographic work was done by a number of private sector contractor firms.† The contractors used new 230 mm format aerial survey cameras supplied by Nat Map.† These Swiss made Wild RC9 cameras had a 120 degree super wide angle lens with a focal length of 88 mm.† To correctly plot topographic detail from the photogrammetric models, many minor control points had to be established.†

The primary horizontal ground control method used for the R 502 map series was the determination of the latitude and longitude of limited photo reference points by astronomical observations.† It was realised that this astro-fix method would not be sufficient for the forthcoming 1:100,000 scale topographic map series.

A distance measuring instrument called a Tellurometer had been successfully deployed in the field by Nat Map since September 1957 to establish a precise point-to-point geodetic distance framework on the ground across Australia.† The Tellurometer system was invented and developed in the mid-1950s by Trevor Lloyd Wadley of the South African Council of Scientific and Industrial Researchís Telecommunications Research Laboratory.†

Development of the Tellurometer

Wadleyís Tellurometer employed microwave electronic distance measuring technology that needed line of sight along the line being measured on the ground between two survey points.† Dr Wadleyís invention used a lower frequency range in the electromagnetic spectrum than the light beam instrument that Swedish physicist Erik ÷sten Bergstrand (1904-1987) made to measure the speed of light in 1947.†

Dr Bergstrand subsequently developed the Geodimeter surveying instrument that compared the phase shift of an incoming light beam from a reflector with the outgoing light beam sent to the reflector.† From the comparison of the light beams, the distance between the two instruments could be determined.† In 1954, Nat Mapís NASM-1 model Geodimeter was the first precise electronic distance measuring survey instrument to be deployed on the ground in Australia.†

Colonel Harry Baumann, then Director of Surveys at the South African Trigonometrical Survey Office is credited with coming up with the initial specification for the instrument that was later called the Tellurometer. In 1954, Baumann advised the Telecommunications Research Laboratory that there was an operational requirement for a survey instrument that: would have an accuracy suitable for first order triangulation; was simple to operate by people unfamiliar with electronics; would achieve accuracies better than one part in 100,000 at over 30 miles with resolution of a few inches; and would be man-portable, light, rugged and versatile (Smith, 2009).

Apparently Colonel Baumann was familiar with radar and with the existing SHORAN and HIRAN long range distance measuring systems and needed something more accurate and suitable for shorter range field survey use.† Baumann may also have been familiar with the Geodimeter.† While timing is a little uncertain, the Union of South Africaís Trigonometrical Survey had used an early Geodimeter which was commercially available from 1953.†

Baumannís specification for an electronic distance measuring survey instrument implied he was aware of the early Geodimeterís operational difficulties.† The instrument weighed some 200 pounds and needed a strong table with adjustable legs for its base.† Thus it was not man-portable but could only be used at vehicle drive-on survey stations.† As it measured with a light beam, the early Geodimeter was best used at night. Baumannís specification was passed to Dr Frank Hewitt the director of the Telecommunications Research Laboratory.† Wadley had a prototype instrument to Baumannís specification operational in a fairly short time frame.† From his war time use of radar, Wadley was aware that the accuracy of normal radar was insufficient for shorter range surveying applications.† Instead he developed a means of superimposing a low frequency wave on the signal using a precise method of phase comparison on what was technically a secondary radar system; as the target amplified and re-transmitted rather than simply reflected the signal back to the source unit as was the case in primary radar systems (Morrison, 1968).

This comparison determined the time it took the signal to travel from the master unit to the distant (remote unit) instrument station and back to the master unit.† After adjustment for the refraction of the atmosphere, the slope distance between the two instrument stations could be accurately determined.

Wadley is said to have discussed his measuring instrument design plans with Dr Gordon Bertram Lauf who became professor of surveying at the University of the Witwatersrand.† Lauf was said to be initially sceptical that the required accuracy could be achieved.† Apparently, Lauf lost a wager with Wadley who proved to the contrary.† Professor Lauf (1914-1984) became renowned for his expertise in gyroscopic methods for determining azimuth and for his work on conformal transformations of coordinate systems.†

Wadley is said to have applied his high school Latin in the naming of the measuring instrument.† Tellus was a Latin word for earth, land, ground and country; hence Tellurometer for the measuring of land.†

For ease of explanation in lay terms, Wadleyís Tellurometer comprised three major electronics components, namely:

                 the klystron oscillator vacuum tube that initially set the carrier signal frequency that allowed voice communication between instruments and afterwards allowed the broadcast of the measuring pattern frequency signals

                 the triode power amplifier vacuum tube that amplified the carrier and measuring signals for transmission through the antenna system to the distant instrument

                 the ovens that housed the crystals that determined the pattern frequencies that were switched over the carrier frequency signal to give the measuring signals.

Of course there were many more electronics components in a Tellurometer than just the three outlined above.† Tellurometers operated on a wavelength of 10 centimetres.† Radio signals of this wavelength were said to be able to penetrate haze, mist, and smoke as well as light rain.

http://www.xnatmap.org/adnm/docs/2013/nasm_files/image006.jpg

Image 1: Tellurometer Model MRA1 (Nat Map image)

The first Tellurometer released to the market was the MRA1 model which is shown in Image 1 above.† On the MRA1 model there were four crystal ovens.† The 10 centimetre carrier wave was continuously radiated by the master instrument at a frequency of 3,000 megahertz.† In the measuring mode, the carrier wave was modulated by the four pattern frequencies.† The higher frequency (shorter wave length) 10 megahertz A crystal gave the shorter component of the distance.† The other crystals were of progressively lower frequency (longer wave length).† The 9.990 megahertz B crystal, the 9.900 megahertz C crystal, and the 9.000 megahertz D crystal gave the longer components of the distance.†

The modulated radio waves on these frequencies were retransmitted by the remote instrument back to the master instrument and were received out of phase at the master instrument.† The timing of the phase difference was proportional to distance between the two instruments (Clark and Glendinning, 1963).

On the early model Tellurometers direct distance read outs were not provided.† The distance between instruments was expressed in terms of the time it took the microwave signal to travel both ways between the instruments.† The time was expressed in separate components according to the crystal frequency that was switched manually by the operator.†

The measurement for each crystal was obtained by reading the value of the leading edge of a break in a circular ring displayed on a cathode ray tube.† The scale on the display was graduated in tenths and hundredths of a complete revolution.† The differences between the A crystal reading and the B, C, and D crystal readings gave the respective readings in terms of kilohertz as shown in Table 1 below.

Crystal reading

Frequency

Distance Component (feet)

A minus B

10 kilohertz

50,000

A minus C

100 kilohertz

5,000

A minus D

1,000 kilohertz

500

A alone

10 megahertz

50

Table 1 Tellurometer crystal frequencies
(from Ford, 1974)

As mentioned, the Tellurometer measured the time taken for a radio wave to travel from one survey station (location of the master instrument) to another survey station (location of the remote instrument) and back to the master instrument survey station.† The unit of time used in the Tellurometer measurement was a nanosecond (in the mid-1950s it was termed millimicrosecond) which is a thousandth of a millionth of a second.†

Each 50,000 feet in distance was equivalent to one complete revolution of the A pattern.† However, the cathode ray tube display had no means of measuring the number of revolutions of the A pattern.† Instead it was necessary for the master Tellurometer operator to have some knowledge of the approximate length of each line being measured if it was over 50,000 feet; which was usually the case.† For National Mappingís Tellurometer work the approximate lengths of lines were scaled from 1: 250,000 scale maps.

By way of further explanation, suppose the transit time between two Tellurometer instruments was 10 microseconds (that is ten millionths of a second).† A radio wave travels about 299,792 kilometres in one second (the speed of light in vacuo).† Thus in ten millionths of a second it would have travelled (299,792 / 1,000,000) X 10=2.998 kilometres.†

As this was the double path length (out and back), the single path distance between the two survey stations was 1.499 kilometres.† As the radio wave travelled along the path between the two instruments it would have encountered resistance from the atmosphere.† A correction would therefore be applied to the raw measurement to adjust for the refraction of the atmosphere and the adjusted length would be the slope distance between the two survey stations (Ford, 1974).

From the previous paragraphs it can be seen that the Tellurometer operated as a pair of instruments; one of which was positioned on the survey station at either end of the line to be measured.† In the initial MRA1 models only one of the instruments was that master unit that did the measuring.† The unit at the other end of the line was capable of operating only as a remote transponder to return the measuring signals back to the master unit.† (Thus it was similar in function to the later Aerodist remote units that simply returned the measuring signal to the master unit in the aircraft.)†

To complete the measurement of a line to survey standards using an MRA1 Tellurometer, the positions of the master and remote units had to be juxtaposed so the line could be separately measured from both ends.† The practical inconvenience of the necessary instrument movements was overcome with the MRA2 and later model Tellurometers that had the functional capability to operate as both master and remote units.†

In January 1957, the new Micro-Distancer MRA1 Tellurometer instrument was unveiled in the Cape Town suburb of Constantia, Union of South Africa.† The first order to purchase Tellurometer instruments came from Canada.† Mr WH Miller, then Director of the Survey and Mapping Branch of Canadaís Department of Mines and Technical Surveys had seen the prototype instrument on an earlier visit to Cape Town.† Miller immediately placed an order for the first six production instruments.† The Tellurometer was first used in Canada in 1957; the same year that Nat Map had its initial MRA1 instrument operating in the field in Australia.† The Tellurometer was also used in 1957 by the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey.† The United States Army ordered several hundred Tellurometer instruments.

The family of Tellurometers (MRA1 to MRA7 and other variants; including CA1000, CMW20, MA100, and MRD4) were the land based versions of the technology. From 1960 Tellurometer also developed MRB Hydrodist system instruments; Hydrodist was an acronym derived from Hydrographic Distance measurement (Werner, undated). Accordingly, these instruments were used for hydrographic survey applications such as a fixed land-based instrument and a ship-based mobile instrument. Around 1961, the United States Geological Survey developed an airborne control survey system that used a hovering helicopter with ground-based MRB2 (Hydrodist) master units and theodolites to establish survey control at points in difficult-to-access terrain (Sturman and Wright, 2008).

By the early 1960s, MRC Aerodist system instruments were developed for applications involving airborne master units and ground based remote units. Aerodist was an acronym derived from Aeroplane Distance measurement (Werner, undated). However, in later model systems the distinction between MRB for Hydrodist and MRC for Aerodist was not maintained. For example, the MRC12 was a Hydrodist system and the MRB3 was the model designation of the Royal Australian Survey Corps' new generation Aerodist system.

About Trevor Wadley (1920-1981)

Trevor Lloyd Wadley was an outstanding electrical engineer who was born in Durban, South Africa in 1920. He was one of the 10 children of a well-to-do family; his father served for a time as mayor of Durban. Wadley was said to be something of a loner with few close friends. Throughout his life he was said to have been a bit of a rebel but with some lack of self-esteem. He was also often wont to wager with his colleagues mainly on his work outcomes; and apparently he rarely lost.

Wadley attended Durban Boys' High School where his studies included Latin, mathematics and science. In 1936, Wadley commenced an electrical engineering course at the then Howard College in Durban; the college later became the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Apparently Wadley was a brilliant student who rarely needed to take lecture notes. His occasional use of a stubby pencil to jot a word or two in a little notebook sufficed. He was said to have distained the rote learning of formulae preferring instead to work from first principles.

During World War II Wadley and four other graduates formed the basis of the highly secret Special Signals Services within the South African Corps of Signals in Johannesburg that worked on the development of radar systems. This group of graduates also underwent specialised radar training in the United Kingdom. Here Wadley's knowledge was said to be ahead of that of the course instructors. He apparently soon became bored and also became somewhat unpopular by asking instructors questions of such technical complexity that they could not adequately respond.

After this course, Wadley was posted to an operating radar station in the Middle East as the officer-in-charge. Here he worked successfully on improving the performance of the station's equipment. Some of Wadley's war time activities were of a secret nature and included working on the staff of British General Harold Alexander during his command of the Fifteenth Army Group for the invasion of southern Europe. By the end of the war Wadley was a Staff Officer (Radar) attached to South Africa's Cape Command.

At the war's end, Dr Basil Schonland was the president of South Africa's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. Schonland had been the inaugural commanding officer of the Special Signals Service. (At the end of the war, Schonland held the rank of Brigadier; he was knighted in 1960). Schonland saw the need to put the skills of the five talented radar trained graduates to good use. Thus Schonland established the Telecommunications Research Laboratory with Dr Frank Hewitt as director. The Laboratory was initially located in the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of the Witwatersrand at Johannesburg. Wadley and Hungarian-born mathematician Jules Fejer were the first two staff members. Later the Laboratory was renamed the National Institute for Telecommunications Research.

In 1948, Wadley undertook an analytical study on the use of radio communications in underground mines (Austin, 1990). Wadley's first major electronics development was an ionosonde which was an apparatus for measuring the height of the layers of the atmosphere that are ionised by the Sun's radiation. These layers range from about 60 to 600 kilometres above the Earth's surface. As they are affected by the Sun's radiation, the heights of the layers in the ionosphere have diurnal and seasonal ranges. Amongst other things, the ionosphere has an important influence on the propagation of radio waves.

In Wadley's apparatus, ionospheric layers were used as sound to reflect radio waves within the band of frequencies between 100 kHz and 20 MHz. Wadley's apparatus did a full scan of these frequencies in under a minute. This was achieved using a novel heterodyne method of covering the radio spectrum in a single sweep. By using a 16 mm movie camera, Wadley's apparatus recorded the resultant contours which were compressed to display as a single photograph frame. The longer sequences could be viewed with a projector to better understand ionospheric storms or other disturbances. This apparatus was used to provide a frequency prediction service for the South African Broadcasting Corporation, the Post Office radio section, military authorities and other short-wave radio users.

In 1954, Wadley invented an all-wave radio receiver that maintained virtually perfect frequency stability using a single 1 megahertz crystal oscillator. The principle of the Wadley Loop was patented by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

The Wadley Loop receiver was later built and distributed by the British firm Racal; users included the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. Later it was produced in revised forms for many years including as the Barlow-Wadley short wave receiver.

From 1955, Wadley also worked on the design and development of the Tellurometer and the related families of electronic distance measuring survey instruments as discussed in the previous section. As a salaried researcher, Wadley is said to have had no great personal financial gain from the Tellurometer instruments he invented. Patents for the Tellurometer were issued to Wadley but assigned to his employer the South African Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. At least 20,000 Tellurometer units were later sold.

Although he understood it very well, Wadley was not particularly keen on mathematics; instead he turned to his friend Jules Fejer. The Hungarian-born mathematician was also extremely gifted. The combined skills of Wadley and Fejer made them a formidable team in the fields of science, engineering and mathematics. From early in their friendship, Fejer would set out to prove each of Wadley's concepts mathematically and apparently he always found the proof.

In 1959 Trevor Wadley was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (Engineering) from the University of the Witwatersrand for his thesis on Heterodyne Techniques in Specialized Instrumentation. In 1960, he was awarded the gold medal from the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers.

In 1970, Wadley was awarded the Frank P Brown Medal from the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania; architect Frank Lloyd Wright was awarded that medal in 1969. In 1976, Wadley received the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa from the University of Cape Town. In 1979, the South African postal authorities issued a 15 cent stamp to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Tellurometer. During his life, Wadley received numerous other awards and acclaim.

In 1964 at the age of 44 years, Wadley retired from active business life. He moved to Warner Beach about 30 kilometres south of Durban on the coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Here he lived a comfortable and fairly quiet life. He continued to work as a consultant and as a technical advisor to some organisations. Sadly Trevor Wadley died of cancer in 1981; he was 61 years of age.

 

 

Chapter 2-Some Aerodist Technical Aspects

 

Some of the History of the Aerodist System

As mentioned earlier, Aerodist was developed as an airborne version of the Tellurometer microwave distance measuring technology.† Aerodist overcame the line of sight constraint of the ground based Tellurometer.† The ground based method necessarily reduced the lengths of lines measured and also impacted on survey control station site selection options.†

Aerodist was a product of Tellurometer Pty Ltd, a division of the Instrument Manufacturing Corporation Limited of IMC House, Plumstead, Cape Province, South Africa.† The system was originally developed to a 1958 specification laid down by the United States Army Engineer Research and Development Laboratories.† The topographic mapping function of these laboratories was later transferred to the Geodesy, Intelligence and Mapping Research and Development Agency that was still within the United States Corps of Engineers.

By the early 1960s, the Aerodist system was being tested in the United States under a development contract with the Geodesy, Intelligence and Mapping Research and Development Agency.† Testing was also carried out in the United Kingdom in conjunction with Fairey Air Surveys Ltd using Ministry of Supply trials aircraft with good results being reported.†

In 1964, the Instrument Manufacturing Corporation Limited was acquired by Plessey South Africa, a subsidiary of the Plessey Company that was founded in England in 1917.† During the 1970s and 1980s other mergers and acquisitions took place involving the South African insurer Sanlam, the General Electric Company, and Siemens.† In 1989, the South African subsidiary of Plessey became an autonomous company that listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.† In 1998, the Plessey Corporation was purchased by Dimensional Data Holdings and World-wide African Investment Holdings.† Also in 1998, the company delisted from the stock exchange and was renamed Tellumat (Pty) Ltd, a private company.† Tellumat continues to operate from the Cape Town suburb of Retreat.† Its products include air traffic management, communications, and defence applications; the company also manufactures electronics equipment.

The Aerodist master units required about 10 amperes of current at 28 volts. They operated with about 2 to 4 watts of radiated power using a carrier wavelength of about 25 centimetres generally in a radio frequency band of 1,215 to 1,400 Megahertz (Bomford, 1971). For measuring, the carrier wave was modulated. In Australia the frequencies were determined by the Post Master General's Department (the then radio spectrum regulation authority). In Nat Map's system, the operating frequency for each measuring channel (coded Red, Blue and White) was different within the range of 1,200 to 1,500 MHz. This frequency difference avoided interference between measuring channels.

Aerodist was deployed in Canada by the Topographical Survey Division of the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources from 1962. Between 1965 and 1973, Aerodist was used on extensive geodetic surveys in northern Canada. Australia and Canada were the only counties known to use the Aerodist system in major national surveying programs (Lines, 1992). Nevertheless, Aerodist was used on survey projects in several other countries, including: the United States, Guyana, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

In 1964, the Royal Australian Survey Corps took delivery of an Aerodist MRC2 system that was initially deployed in western Papua New Guinea. Subsequently RA Survey carried out Aerodist survey operations in Indonesia and in northern Australia including Cape York, Arnhem Land and the Kimberley. After the loss of its initial system in an aeroplane crash in November 1969, RA Survey updated its Aerodist system to the operationally more reliable computer assisted MRB3/201 equipment. The last field deployment of the Corps' Aerodist system was in 1975 on a major 1:100,000 and 1:50,000 scale mapping operation.

The Royal Australian Survey Corpsí Operation Sandy Hill ran for some six months during April to September 1975.† The operation covered an area from the Torres Strait down the west side of Cape York Peninsula and then around the Gulf of Carpentaria to Mornington Island.† It was a large scale operation involving some 120 Army personnel with fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft support.† As well as Aerodist work, Operation Sandy Hill involved Tellurometer traversing, airborne laser terrain profiling and survey station identification aerial photography using a Wild RC10 aerial survey camera.† Major RF (Bob) Skitch ran the operation from a base at Cooktown.† Major Skitch was the officer commanding RA Surveyís 1 Field Survey Squadron Group during Operation Sandy Hill; he retired from the Corps in 1981 with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel after more than 25 years of distinguished service.

The Start of Nat Mapís Aerodist Years

After a tour of Europe and the United Kingdom in 1960, Bruce Lambert reported he was impressed with the possibilities of Aerodist (Anonymous, 1961). Despite unsuccessful tests with the SHORAN long range radar system in the late 1940s, Lambert wasted little time in advancing his Aerodist impression. In October 1961, Nat Map received funding approval to purchase an Aerodist system. On 11 July 1962, Nat Map received its first set of MRC2 equipment from the Melbourne supplier EL Heymanson and Company Pty Ltd; the then Tellurometer distributor for Australia. Nat Map's initial Aerodist set comprised Red and White frequency master and remote units.

There was a brief but unsuccessful test of this equipment over a survey line between Geelong and Bacchus Marsh on 13 July 1962.† On 16 July 1962, Nat Mapís initial Aerodist set failed bench acceptance tests at its Rialto Building Melbourne office.† Here it was found that it was impossible to tune any remote unit and cross modulation was evident.† The Aerodist equipment was returned to the service agency; then the National Instrument Company Pty Ltd at Essendon on 17 July 1962.† It was subsequently returned to the manufacturer.†

On 11 January 1963, a second set of Aerodist MRC2 equipment was delivered to Nat Map and later accepted.† The acceptance followed from a series of ground-based and helicopter-borne tests conducted in an area to the west of Melbourne between April and early June 1963.† This second Aerodist set comprised a master control unit (Red frequency identification code) and an ancillary master unit (that had a separate Blue measuring frequency code).†

The Aerodist master units had related sub-systems to record distance measurement readings using a pen recorder that marked integrated analogue paper charts.† (Unlike the early Tellurometers, Aerodist used automatic switching between measuring frequencies to record the coarse distance measurement components on the chart.)† Meteorological information, aircraft height, and data on equipment performance were also recorded.†

Nat Mapís early Aerodist system included four ground-based remote units (Red 1, Red 2, Blue 1 and Blue 2).† One of these units would be operated from a survey station at either end of a line that was then measured by the aircraft flying between the two remote stations.† The need for measuring frequency separation meant that measurements on any single Aerodist line could not be made between the two Red remote units nor the two Blue remote units.†

Getting the rudimentary airborne electronic distance measuring paraphernalia to operate as a workable airborne surveying tool was far from a lay down misere.† In fact it was a daunting challenge with many frustrations and numerous dry gullies.† Lines (1992) indicated that Nat Map senior surveyor Len Turner did much of the work involved in making the Aerodist system into an efficient form of aerial surveying.† Len was more than ably supported by his second-in-charge and relief field party leader surveyor Syd Kirkby.

System Acceptance Testing and Preliminary Trials

The Aerodist master equipment was installed in a Bell 47J-2A Ranger helicopter VH-INM with the installation and subsequent inspection and approval occurring between 12 February and 2 April 1963.† The master equipment was then removed from the helicopter on 3 April 1963 to allow it to be truck-mounted for ground testing.† Field testing of the Aerodist equipment commenced at Albert Park on 9 April 1963.† Subsequently a series of ground-based line crossing simulation tests and helicopter-borne tests were undertaken until the equipment was accepted on 1 June 1963.† These tests were carried out to the west of Melbourne and included simulated or measured Aerodist line crossings from survey control stations at Geelong, Bacchus Marsh, the You Yangs, Mt Clay, Monmot Hill, Porndon, Shadwell, Balliang and Ceres.† During this testing the master units were set to operate on 28 volts (from the earlier 24 volts operation.)† There were various changes between truck mounted and helicopter-borne master unit operation during these tests.† During the testing, the lines varied between 58 and 203 kilometres in length.

During ground testing on 21 May 1963 the Red 1 remote unit was blown over by a freak gust of wind.† This occurred at the survey control station on Monmot Hill about six kilometres north of the village of Skipton in western Victoria.† While the remote unit itself was undamaged the dipole antenna cross arm had to be replaced and the centre tube of the dipole needed to be straightened.† The reflector dish was also beaten out to remove dents.† These repairs were carried out on 22 May 1963.† As a consequence of this incident Nat Map remote units were secured by three guy wires to ensure stability.† However, guy wires were generally dispensed with by the late 1960s.

Ground testing was completed on 31 May 1963 and the equipment was again helicopter mounted for further airborne testing.† The final airborne tests took place on 1 June 1963.† The Aerodist system was then accepted on the basis of that dayís successful testing.

After acceptance of the Aerodist system, extensive trials were conducted to develop operational procedures and to familiarise the master and remote operators with the system.† Various minor teething issues were rectified during the trials.† These trials extended over a five-week period and included some 50 hours of helicopter flying.† The trials were conducted over a test quad and longer lines to other survey control stations in western Victoria.† The Aerodist test area is depicted in the diagram in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2 Aerodist test area used in 1963 (adapted from Lines 1965)

 

System Modifications

During the earlier years of Aerodist operations, Nat Map expanded or modified various system components.† In 1964, cross-over coaxial switches were added to the Aerodist antennae system mounted externally on the helicopter.† That modification allowed each antenna to operate with either master station.† Previously, each antenna was directly connected to one master unit.†

Direct antenna connection had restricted the line crossing helicopter flights to one direction relative to the ground stations.† That restriction doubled the amount of flying time for each line crossing and also restricted Aerodist voice communications with remote unit operators.† Antenna switching permitted line crossing measurements to be made in rapid succession on forward and reciprocal aircraft courses relative to the ground remote stations.

To provide increased operational flexibility and to allow for the future use of photo trilateration techniques, an additional White frequency master unit was added in 1964.† An additional remote unit (White frequency) was also added for the 1964 field season.†

Another useful modification for the 1964 field season was the installation of a three-way intercom system in the helicopter.† This system allowed clear voice communications between the Aerodist master operator and the booker and with the aircraft pilot.† Previously such communications were constrained by the need to shout across the cabin to be heard over the aircraft engine and rotor noise.† A similar intercom system was installed in all measuring aircraft for the remaining years of the Aerodist program.

In 1967 some extra remote units were acquired.† This acquisition enabled two remote units to be modified to operate on two separate frequencies.† The modification was achieved by having two back sections for each dual frequency remote unit.† These double-back remote units had the cavities that housed the klystron oscillator and the triode power amplifier vacuum tubes as well as modified connecting cables mounted on the interchangeable back sections.† The two double-back dual frequency remote units were: White 2/Red 3 and Blue 2/White 3.† Thus the six Aerodist remote units Nat Map eventually deployed were the four single frequency remotes (Red 1, Red 2, Blue 1 and White 1) and the two dual frequency remote units.

In 1963, the airborne psychrometer arrangement used to take the readings needed to determine vapour pressure was rudimentary and a potential source of errors.† A hand-held Assman-Lambrecht psychrometer was held out the cabin window into the helicopter slipstream and later read in the cabin to obtain wet and dry bulb temperatures.†

For the 1964 field season, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisationís Division of Applied Physics developed a more suitable prototype thermocouple device linked through a direct current amplifier to a switched display readout meter.† The final fully engineered version of this airborne psychrometer was used in Nat Mapís chartered fixed-wing aircraft from 1965 onwards.† The psychrometer sensing head was installed in the forward starboard side cockpit window so that temperatures were sensed outside the aircraft.† The readout meter was mounted with the Aerodist master units.†

Images 2 and 3 below show the psychrometer sensing head mounted in the starboard cabin window of VH-EXY in 1965 (also note the pod antennae) together with the psychrometer readout meter (rectangular dial) and the Aerodist master units mounted in VH-EXZ circa 1966.

Image 2: Aero Commander VH-EXY in 1965 (Nat Map image)

 

Image 3: Aerodist master units in Grand Commander VH-EXZ circa 1966 (Nat Map image)

 

During the 1963 and 1964 field season high frequency radio communications between ground parties and the master operators in the helicopter were only possible by using a Traeger transceiver radio in the helicopter that operated on the Weapons Research Establishment frequencies of 5475 and 7465 megahertz.† For the 1965 and subsequent field seasons Nat Map had its own dedicated frequencies for field survey party radio communications traffic.† The Nat Map frequencies were 3164 and 6815 megahertz.† Executive Air Services provided an AWA radio transceiver with these frequencies in aircraft chartered by Nat Map (VH-EXY and VH-EXZ) from 1965 to 1974.

For the measuring of longer lines during the Block 23 offshore survey in late 1969, the centre antenna pods on the measuring aircraft (VH-EXZ) were replaced with high gain fixed parabolic antennae.† Unlike the motorised antenna systems within the earlier fibreglass antenna pods, the parabolic antennae could not be rotated to maximise the strength of the signals received from the ground remote units.† Instead with parabolic antennae the flight heading of the measuring aircraft had to be varied to obtain the best simultaneous remote signals.†

Surveyor John Manning conducted aircraft antenna testing to the west of Melbourne in early 1970.† John found the parabolic antennae easier to use than the pod system.† Being fixed in the measuring position, the parabolic antennae avoided the risk of inadvertently landing the aircraft with the pods locked in the measuring position rather than retracted for landing.†

John Manning considered calibration figures produced from test lines where the parabolic antennae had been deployed were more simple to derive and gave more dependable results.† The parabolic antennae gave greater measuring signal strength.† John also believed use of the parabolic antennae made subsequent measurement reductions easier.† Nevertheless the pod antenna system was again used during the 1970 field season.† Afterwards the pod system was only used for the trilaterations in Block 36 in 1973 as a parabolic antenna was not suitable to be mounted at the aircraftís forward antenna position.† Image 4 below shows VH-EXZ fitted with parabolic antennae at Caiguna Western Australia in 1972.

From the early 1970s, a Thommen metric altimeter was mounted in VH-EXZ to the right of the other master equipment and instruments as shown in Image 5 below.† This precise instrument was included to help ensure that gross errors were not made when recording aircraft height at each Aerodist line crossing point.† The Thommen metric altimeter was a product of the long-operating Swiss aircraft instrument and avionics manufacturer Revue Thommen of Waldenburg.† The Nat Map Thommen altimeter had been purchased for field use in Antarctica where heights exceeded the range of mechanism barometers.

http://www.xnatmap.org/adnm/people/aabout/LGT_files/image006.jpg

Image 4: Grand Commander VH-EXZ at Caiguna Western Australia in 1972 (Paul Wise image)

 

The criticality of aircraft height recording had been considered by surveyors Len Turner and Frank Leahy in the very early days of Aerodist measuring.† They were concerned with the precision in the aircraft height measurement needed so as not to significantly bias the computed ground distance of the Aerodist lines.† Frank Leahy recently noted that on a typical 100,000 metre long Aerodist line with an aircraft flying height of 5,000 feet any altimeter error had to be no more than 100 feet so that error in the computed ground distance would be less than 1 metre.† (Please also refer to the section Aerodist Height Checks for related details.)

After the Thommen altimeter was put into use, the standard Aerodist master booking routine required that: foot and metric altimeters should ideally be read simultaneously at the crossing point, and at least one set of readings should be compared by the feet to metres conversion graph as a gross error check (McMaster, 1980).

Image 5: Mick Skinner operating Aerodist master equipment in VH-EXZ in 1972, note the Thommen metric altimeter at far right and the imperial altimeter which is the lower circular dial in the centre of the instrumentation (Peter Langhorne image)

 

By the end of the 1972 Aerodist field season the silver plating on the klystron oscillator and the triode amplifier vacuum tube cavities had significantly deteriorated from age and general atmospheric exposure.† The deterioration was to such an extent that the ability to maintain consistent and reliable electrical contacts and to adjust both of these components was being impacted.† To overcome these deterioration impacts and to gain an attendant slight power increase the klystron and the triode vacuum tube cavities for all the master and the remote units were gold plated.† The clamps that held together the separate sections of these cavities were also refurbished with gold plating.

The gold plating was undertaken by the Weapons Research Establishment at Salisbury in South Australia in early 1973.† The refurbished klystron and triode vacuum tube cavities were used from the 1973 field season onwards with generally improved results in terms of reliability and signal strength.

Aerodist Measurements and ChartĖbased Recording

The Aerodist system allowed dynamic slope distances from two ground transponder (or remote) stations to be measured by the master equipment in an aircraft that would fly between the two ground stations.† By using these measured slope distances, as well as the known aircraft antenna separation distance, the height of the ground stations, the height of the remote instrument in relation to the ground station, the aircraft height at the line crossing point, and by taking meteorological observations to determine atmospheric refraction, a sea level distance between the two ground stations could be determined.†

During an Aerodist line measurement, the A pattern was the primary measuring wave and was recorded virtually continuously on an analogue paper chart.† The A pattern indicated the final two digits of the slope distance from the aircraft to the remote station on the ground; the ten and units of metres.† The A pattern was switched out for about 6 second intervals and the three remaining patterns B, C and D were each switched in for a fraction of a second.† The B, C and D patterns yielded the coarse distance components, namely the initial digits of the line measurement (the tens of thousands, thousands and hundreds of metres).†

Aerodist charts provided for up to three simultaneous measurement records.† However, the overwhelming majority of Aerodist measurements involved recording from only two ground stations.† The third recording channel was used briefly in 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1973 when photo trilaterations were being measured. †While each channel on the Aerodist chart had a nominal scale of 50 metres this scale was increased to 100 metres by use of an ambiguity pen system.† As depicted in Figure 3 below, the ambiguity pen recorded a trace below the measuring pattern frequencies to indicate the range in which the measuring traces were recorded.† When the ambiguity pen was up the measuring trace was in the range 0 to 50 metres; conversely when the ambiguity pen was down the measuring trace was in the range 50 to 100 metres.

In Figure 3, Syd Kirkby has kindly clarified some of the switchings of the intermittent B, C, and D pattern traces which were not otherwise visible on this reproduction of the Aerodist chart.† Thus in the worked example at the bottom of Figure 3 it can be seen that the distance measurement of 72,714 metres was derived by subtracting the values of the B, C and D traces from the relevant A trace values to obtain the course components of the distance, 72,700 metres, and the final fine value of 14 metres came directly from the A trace reading.

In the recorder, the Aerodist chart travelled from right to left; thus on the chart time elapsed from left to right as the measurement recording progressed.† In Figure 3 it can be seen that the distance to the remote station recorded at the top of the chart was decreasing (successive peaks at 78,500 and 78,400 metres).† It can also be seen that the distance to the remote station recorded at the bottom of the chart was increasing (peaks at 72, 600, 72,700 and 72,800 metres).† The rate of increase in the bottom station distance was greater than the rate of decrease in the top station distance.† Thus the section of chart shown in Figure 3 depicted part of the measurement when the aircraft had passed the actual line crossing point; Figure 7 below further depicts this situation.

In 1963, each Aerodist line was normally measured with five useable runs.† However, in 1964 and all subsequent field seasons, for each Aerodist line a minimum of seven good runs would usually be flown.† The integrity of the run was determined by the quality of the traces that recorded the measurements on to the chart (Lambert, 1965 and Lines, 1965).

As an in-the-field quality control check each chart was examined to verify it was useable prior to dispatch to the Melbourne office for full computation.

Figure 3: Sample Aerodist chart section (from Lines, 1965 with modifications by Syd Kirkby and Paul Wise in 2015)

 

Aerodist Computations

As mentioned in the previous section, Aerodist charts were checked in the field to ensure at least seven usable crossing runs had been obtained for each line measured between two ground stations.† Charts and associated field books were periodically air freighted to the Melbourne office.† Here a considerable office component was involved in measurement reductions and computing as well as field planning, preparation and general support.† Several staff worked on reducing data from the charts and field books.†

For a simple two station line crossing reduction (as was shown in Figure 3 above) the Aerodist chart was examined and pairs of distances from each of the ground stations were extracted and summed for the same number of observations on either side of the actual line crossing.† The sums of the distances measured on a line crossing run were then graphed as a parabola.†

Twenty-one sums, ten on either side of the adjusted minimum were usually graphed and then computed by the method of least squares to obtain the theoretical minimum line distance (Lines, 1965).† (In general, a least squares adjustment seeks to determine a curve of best fit over observed values in a series so that the sum of the squares of the residuals between observed values and the curve of best fit is minimised.)†

A typical Aerodist line crossing graph is shown in Figure 4 below; it is for one of the runs on the line between survey control stations NM/C/52 and NM/C/55 in Aerodist Block 6 to the north of Brewarrina in northern New South Wales.†

The primary Aerodist point-to-point distance reduction FORTRAN program (to compute the 21 points on the parabola) was written by Frank Leahy who started this task when he worked with Nat Map (1961-1965).† Frank continued working on this software under contract after he took up a post at The University of Melbourne.†

 

Figure 4: Graph of an Aerodist line crossing run (adapted from McMaster 1980 and modified by Paul Wise 2015)

 

A significant computing capacity was required to cope with the calculations to establish the latitude and longitude of the Aerodist ground stations from the measured network of braced quadrilaterals which were connected to the surrounding framework of geodetic ground control station loops.† In the early days of Aerodist this function involved FORTRAN programming, punched paper tapes and card reading computers.† The FORTRAN program Varycord for the least squares adjustment of horizontal control surveys (and described in Bomford, 1967) was used to calculate the Aerodist station coordinates from the reduced Aerodist distances.† Varycord was developed by Anthony Gerald (Tony) Bomford (1927-2003) who served with Nat Map from 1961 to 1982 and was Director of National Mapping from 1977 to 1982.†

A strip chart reader unit was developed by the CSIRO Division of Land Research and Regional Survey to automate the time consuming manual extraction and reduction of data from the charts.† It was purchased by Nat Map in 1966.† In the chart reader, the Aerodist chart trace was converted to a digital record on punched paper tape to allow direct input to the computer.† Field book and related survey station data were punched on to cards and software was written for the complete reduction from the breakout of the chart through to the final spheroidal distance.†

Carl McMaster recently recalled leading a team of manual chart breakers while surveyor Rom Vassil trialled the automated strip chart reader albeit with limited success.† The limitation was due to mechanical and electronic problems with the chart reader.† The automated chart reader was eventually discarded in favour of manual reductions.† Image 6 below shows the automated Aerodist chart reader in its early days.

Image 6: Rom Vassil with the Aerodist chart reader in the Rialto Building circa 1966 (XNatmap image)

 

Around 1964, Nat Mapís geodetic survey observations were being computed in Canberra by staff working under Tony Bomford.† These computation people were using the sophisticated Varycord least squares adjustment program mentioned above.† Aerodistís then senior surveyor Len Turner saw this adjustment method as suitable for deriving the Aerodist station coordinates from the network of calculated Aerodist distances and the Varycord program was adopted for this task.

Consequently, Aerodist data reduction staff became involved with CSIROís computing division.† At that time CSIRO was undertaking all of the computing requirements of Commonwealth government departments.† Carl McMaster recalled that Aerodist computations were processed on CSIROís Control Data Corporation 3200 computer at the David Rivett Laboratories at the Monash Universityís Clayton campus and, later, using a CDC 3600 computer at the CSIROís computing centre in East Melbourne.

Image 7: Manual breaking of Aerodist charts (Nat Map image)

 

As mentioned above, the line measuring process in the Aerodist aircraft resulted in slope distances between the two remote unit ground stations and the aircraft being recorded on the chart in the aircraft.† A number of corrections and computational steps were needed to derive the final spheroidal distance between survey stations.† It was the final spheroidal distances that were used to fix the coordinates of Aerodist control stations for later use in the mapping process.

The computation methodology and steps involved in getting from observed slope distances to final spheroidal values were well described in Section 6 of McMaster (1980).† This work is readily accessible from this link; accordingly, any further discussion here of that aspect of Aerodist activities would only be repetition.

Aerodist chart reduction and computation work naturally lagged behind the field measuring operations.† Thus while the final Aerodist line was measured on 2 November 1974, it was not until the 1976-1977 financial year that Aerodist computation work was completed.† In that year the coordinates for 14 Aerodist stations in Western Australia were computed.† Perhaps fittingly, Nat Mapís shift in Melbourne office location from the Rialto Building in the city centre to Ellery House at Dandenong in early 1977 also drew the curtain on Aerodist computational activities.

Accuracy of Aerodist Survey Control Station Coordinates

Throughout the Aerodist program, Nat Map strived to obtain horizontal control that was sufficiently accurate for 1:100,000 scale topographic mapping purposes. However, the need to maintain due regard to operational economy precluded Nat Map from seeking to obtain the highest possible accuracy that could be achieved from the Aerodist system (Lambert, 1967; Kirkby, 2015). In the early years of Nat Mapís Aerodist operations, the accuracy of a number the distances obtained was assessed against distances derived from geodetic survey stations.† This assessment compared 6 Aerodist lines measured during initial trials in western Victoria in 1963, 4 lines measured in the Bowen Basin later that year, and 11 lines measured in the Surat Basin in 1964.† The assessment indicated that Aerodist lines of 100 to 150 kilometres in length could be measured with a standard deviation of plus or minus 1 metre (Lines, 1965).

During operations, the Aerodist networks were occasionally strengthened by Tellurometer connections. Whenever feasible, a connection would be made between an Aerodist station and an intervisible geodetic survey station.† Such Tellurometer connections were usually undertaken during Aerodist ground marking operations. Also as a general rule, any higher order survey control stations that existed within an Aerodist block were incorporated into the Aerodist measuring scheme.† By incorporating such higher order stations the Aerodist networks were further strengthened.† This higher order station incorporation practise was used mainly in the early years of Aerodist measuring in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.† In later years as Aerodist operations moved further west into more remote areas in the Northern Territory and Western Australia there was a paucity or absence of higher order stations within the Aerodist blocks. As well as measuring the braced quads discussed above, from time-to-time comparison lines over known distances between geodetic survey stations surrounding Aerodist network blocks were routinely measured as the Aerodist surveys progressed.

The differences between the geodetic and Aerodist distances seldom exceeded five metres and were more often two metres or less (Lambert, 1965; Lines, 1965 and McMaster, 1980). Where differences exceeded five metres the reasons were usually because of poor quality A traces during the measurement due to marginal Aerodist equipment performance; very long lines being measured; steep outlooks at remote stations causing large ground swings (reflections); errors in eccentric station connections; inaccurate meteorological observations; or misreading of the aircraft altitude at the line crossing, which was later addressed by reading two altimeters: one imperial and the other metric (McMaster, 1980), as mentioned above in the section on System Modifications.

Investigations carried out by Nat Map during the initial four years of Aerodist operations indicated that blocks of Aerodist trilateration adjusted to perimeter control resulted in average coordinate position errors of about one-half the standard error of a line measurement and indicated the average correction to individual measurements was also about half of the standard error of the line measurements. It was found that these errors and corrections were directly affected by the residual inaccuracies of the primary network and the possible non-elimination of lines with large errors. Nat Map Aerodist field results up to 1966 indicated that in block adjustments with 6-9 good crossing runs on each line, the expected coordinate precision was approximately Ī 1 to 2 metres relative to the surround control (Lambert, 1967).

Results at the conclusion of Aerodist field operations in 1974 and later work yielded somewhat different outcomes. From all the Aerodist Varycord adjustments used to determine final coordinates of survey stations, the average difference between observed and adjusted distances was 1.49 metres for an average line length of about 100 kilometres.† For the thirty Aerodist blocks adjusted with the Varycord program, the average maximum residual was 6.3 metres (McMaster, 1980). Subsequent Tellurometer traverses and precise fixes by JMR Doppler satellite receivers at a number of Aerodist stations verified that the coordinates of Aerodist stations were usually accurate to better than 5 metres (McMaster, 1980).† From the mid-1970s and into the 1980s, Nat Map undertook a field program to obtain precise positions from observations on the United States Navy Navigation Satellite System (TRANSIT).† The observations were undertaken using JMR Doppler satellite receivers.† Some 33 of these precise satellite position fixes were made at Aerodist stations as highlighted in Figure 5 below.

Figure 5: Aerodist stations where later precise Doppler satellite fixes were made (Aerodist station annotations made by Paul Wise in October 2015)

 

Aerodist Operational Configuration

During Aerodist flying operations, Nat Map overwhelmingly undertook simple line crossing measurement flights between two remote stations.† Nevertheless, Aerodist flying operations were fairly complex.† Prior to undertaking an Aerodist measuring flight, at least four separate two-man ground parties with microwave remote transponder units would be positioned at survey control stations.† In a simplistic configuration the survey stations would be at the four corners of a quadrilateral that was one degree of longitude wide and one degree of latitude deep with each corner being close to the intersections of degree meridians and parallels.† The Aerodist quads were bounded by geodetic survey traverse loops such that the coordinated Aerodist survey stations would intensify the horizontal survey ground control needed for 1:100,000 scale topographic mapping. The horizontal control configuration had been determined after extensive testing by Nat Map in the Canberra area (Lambert, 1967).

Later in the 1960s, two further remote transponders were acquired.† These extra remote units were usually deployed on an ad hoc basis as necessary to extend operational measuring capacity.† Also a number of half degree Aerodist stations were subsequently established to densify the control networks.† A typical Aerodist measuring quadrilateral is depicted in the diagram at Figure 6 below.

Figure 6: A typical Aerodist one degree braced quadrilateral (adapted from Else 1972)

 

The nominal ground configuration depicted in the diagram above would yield six unknown distances or Aerodist lines to be measured, namely the four lines along the sides of the quad (each about 100 kilometres long) and the two diagonals that braced the quad (each about 130 kilometres long).†

The measuring aircraft usually had two Nat Map operators on board.† The pilot would fly the aircraft at an oblique angle through each line roughly at its centre.† Thus the line would then be measured by the on-board Aerodist master measuring equipment interrogating return signals from the ground transponders.†

As mentioned earlier, for each Aerodist line being measured there would need to be a minimum of seven good runs.† The utility of the measurement was determined by the quality of the traces on the automated recording chart.† Each good measuring run would start at about 1,000 metres on the approach side of the actual line crossing point and continue for a similar distance on the departure side of the crossing.†

The crossing point had to be clear from the range changes in the distances (from the two ground stations) that were recorded by the chart traces in the aircraft.† The sum of the two measurements from the remote stations decreased as the actual line crossing point was approached.† After passing the line crossing the sum of the measurements started to increase.† Please refer to the diagrams in Figure 7 below for depictions of an Aerodist line measurement showing the decreasing and increasing distances either side of the crossing point which is shown as a black line in both views.†

Figure 7: A typical Aerodist line measurement (adapted from McMaster 1980)

At the line crossing point, care had to be taken to correctly read and record aircraft height from the altimeters mounted near the Aerodist master units.† As previously mentioned, the altimeter readings were crucial for the later reductions of the measured sloped distances to ground level distances.† Psychrometer readings also had to be taken during each run so atmospheric corrections could later be applied to the measured distances.

(The speed of light in vacuo is the universal physical constant.† Since 1975 it has been determined to be 299,792,458 metres per second with a measurement uncertainty of 4 parts per billion ie Ī1.2 metres per second.† However, as with Tellurometer measurements discussed earlier, Aerodist measurements were made in the free atmosphere rather than in a vacuum, thus corrections to account for the density of the air were needed.)

After a measuring run was complete the aircraft would come around and start the next run on the reciprocal heading.† During each run the pilot had to strictly maintain aircraft height and heading to optimise the measurement.† Of course sometimes more than seven runs were needed to obtain the necessary good measurements.

Usually the first run across a line was the most difficult as the master operator may have to give height, heading and even aircraft positioning corrections to the pilot to obtain the best simultaneous return signals from the two ground station remote transponders.† Aircraft positioning corrections involved moving closer to one of the ground remote stations, for example where the signal from a station was too weak.

Generally the aircraft flying height was 5,000 feet above sea level.† However, if necessary due to weak signal strength such as on the longer lines in the Coral Sea surveys the aircraft would fly higher; even to 13,000 feet above sea level.† Conversely Aerodist lines were also measured at heights as low as 500 feet.† After completing a minimum of seven good measuring runs on an Aerodist line, the aircraft would ferry to the next line crossing point and start the measuring procedure again.†

It should be noted that operating the Aerodist master equipment in the various aircraft platforms used by Nat Map between 1963 and 1964 was a fairly exacting task.† Measuring Aerodist lines in the aircraft was rarely straightforward.† In helicopters VH-INM and VH-INZ (1963-1964) and Aero Commander VH-EXY (1965) master operators were considerably cramped for room.† Even when flying in VH-EXZ (1966-1974) the work environment was challenging and the operators still had to deal with various endemic measuring issues.† Not the least of these issues was dealing with air sickness.

Aerodist measuring issues included coping with remote units that from time-to-time had signal strengths that were too weak.† Such weakness could be caused by poor klystron oscillator or triode amplifier performance, by topographical conditions on the ground, or by a remote operator failing to keep his unitís battery fully charged.† Such situations would require various responses.† The remote operator may be instructed to re-tune his remote unit or to check the direction in which it was pointed (a routine called direction finding).† The aircraft may have to move closer along the line towards the weak remote unit and possibly to also change height.† However, care had to be taken not to lose signal from the remote unit at the other end of the line.† The use of parabolic rather than pod antennae on the measuring aircraft from 1969 helped to better cope with weak remote unit signals.† The parabolic antennae were generally able to bring in greater strength measuring signals.

Another measuring problem not infrequently encountered was that caused by reflected radio paths.† Such situations were generally due to remote station topography such as being sited near a cliff face or similar abrupt ground drop away.† As a consequence the measuring chart trace in the aircraft would tend to break-up or fluctuate wildly.† To minimise such reflections meticulous attention had to be given to the selection of aircraft measuring height and to the aircraft measuring position along the Aerodist line.

The airborne workplace had its own challenges with which the Nat Map master operators had to cope.† These challenges included being confined in the hot and stale air of the aircraft cabin for sometimes six, seven or more hours per flight.† Ensuring master and remote units were performing satisfactorily was a constant task before and during measuring runs.†

Monitoring of voice communication over the Aerodist channel and separately over the high frequency radio and the in-cabin intercom was required.† Thus the master operator and the booker who recorded operational parameters had to deal with having a separate communication channel in each ear.

At the line crossing point care need to be taken to correctly record aircraft height and atmospheric observations.† The potential to misread the altimeter was a constant concern.† All of this work had to be done in a workplace that was frequently turning and often getting bumped about by thermals.† Such bumping was mostly always present when measuring into the afternoons; especially when operating below 5,000 feet in order to maximise sub-optimal signal strength.†

Attention needed to be given to any new or inexperienced pilot to ensure he positioned the aircraft correctly at the line crossing point and strictly maintained aircraft height and heading during the measuring runs.† Fortunately such attention generally was required for only a short time as most pilots quickly learned the ropes.† Too frequently the aircraft would be stretched to the limits of its fuel endurance to complete measuring all necessary runs on a particular line and then ferry back to base.

Once an initial six measuring lines quad configuration (as in Figure 5 above) was complete the aircraft would return to base while the ground parties were repositioned for the next dayís measuring operations.† To some extent day-to-day Aerodist operations were like playing chess across Australiaís remote interior or offshore territories.† One of the chess pieces, namely an Aerodist remote party is shown in Image 8 below.

http://www.xnatmap.org/adnm/docs/recolls/nonoise_files/image012.jpg

Image 8: Terry Douglas (Nat Map 1960-1971) operating an Aerodist remote unit in central Queensland in 1963, note the guy wires (Carl McMaster image)

Aerodist Height Checks

As mentioned in the section above, obtaining an accurate height for the aircraft at each Aerodist line crossing point as a critical data element.† This height was used to reduce the slope distances measured in the aircraft between each of the two ground stations to the spheroidal distance between the ground stations that was used in further computations.†

As also mentioned in the Systems Modifications section above, on a typical 100,000 metre long Aerodist line with an aircraft flying height of 5,000 feet any altimeter error had to be no more than 100 feet so that error in the computed ground distance would be less than 1 metre.†

Accordingly, as a check against gross error in the aircraft altimeter, height checks were carried out from time-to-time during each annual Aerodist measuring program.† These height checks involved comparing the height of the aircraft as shown on the altimeter with the aircraft height obtained by Aerodist measurement.†

Height checks were undertaken at airstrips where the aircraft would make from 10 to 20 measuring runs over an Aerodist remote unit.† The remote unit would be mounted vertically on its tripod; that is the dipole antenna would be pointing to the sky.† The vertical distance between the remote unit and the aircraft would be recorded on the Aerodist chart in the aircraft and the altimeter reading noted as with normal line crossings.†

Height check measuring runs would be flown directly over the remote unit at differing heights typically between 2,000 and 7,000 feet.† For each such run the aircraft height would also be obtained by barometric heighting means using precision mechanism barometers on the ground and in the aircraft.† Air temperatures at the remote station and outside the aircraft would also be recorded during each run for use in the aircraft height computations.† Image 9 below shows an Aerodist remote unit being operated for height checks.

Image 9: Andrew Turk operating an Aerodist remote unit for height checks at Featherstonhaugh airstrip in 1972 with Ozcan Ertok booking (Peter Langhorne image)

 

Aerodist Ground Marking

The ground making of Aerodist control stations was a significant undertaking.† During helicopter-borne Aerodist master operations in 1963 and 1964, the marking was undertaken in conjunction with measuring activities.† Lines (1965) noted that in 1963 and 1964 Aerodist station reconnaissance, marking, air photo identification, and heighting absorbed something like 40 per cent of the manpower requirement in those field operations.

In 1965 the establishment of Aerodist control stations occurred semi-autonomously.† Surveyor Rom Vassil (Nat Map 1965-1987) recalled in 1965 his marking party worked around Mackay and on Manifold Island under Syd Kirkby's supervision.† In mid-1966, a block of stations between Charters Towers and Cloncurry was established by a dedicated ground marking party headed initially by Rom Vassil and later by John Madden and Ted Seton.†

Later in 1966 a further block of stations was established in the Northern Territory between the Barkly Highway, Borroloola and Katherine by a field survey party under Reg Ford and Peter Langhorne.† Some of the later 1966 Aerodist station establishment work was helicopter supported.†

Between 1967 and 1970 separate Aerodist station marking field programs were undertaken.† Between 1971 and 1974 various Aerodist marking arrangements were used as discussed for the relevant years later in this article.† A comprehensive overview of Aerodist survey control station establishment between 1963 and 1974 is given in Wise (2014).† In two separate papers, Jenny (2013 and 2013A) gives well detailed accounts of Aerodist station marking activities in 1968 and 1969.†

Aerodist Photo Trilaterations 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1973

In 1965, an initial attempt was made to use the Aerodist system in position-fixing mode; simultaneously measuring with three master and three remote units.† As described below, Aerodist position-fixing was a separate function from the usual 2-channel line measuring operations.† The 1965 attempt to obtain trilateration stations at 30 minute intersections and controlled photography at 15 minute intersections using aircraft VH-EXY did not give satisfactory results.† However, in July 1966, the photo trilateration method was again trialled to intensify photogrammetric control in a previously measured area of Queensland between Springsure, Tambo and Injune.† The positions of four new survey control points were to be fixed in previously identified areas, please refer to Figure 8 below for depictions of these areas.† The geographic coordinates of these new control points were to be determined without the need for station marking or other on the ground occupation.† By the successful use of this new method for establishing new control points it was intended that survey control intensification would proceed at a faster rate.

Firstly, Aerodist remote units were set up at three existing, coordinated stations.† These remote stations were selected so that area in which new control was required would be between all three remote stations.† As the Aerodist measuring aircraft flew over the predetermined new control area, distances to the three remote units were simultaneously acquired using all three Aerodist master units.† This measuring method provided a continuous fix of the aircraft's position.† However, the forward Aerodist antenna was mounted on the starboard side of the aircraft fuselage.† This antenna mounting position made it difficult to orient the aircraft to compensate for drift and still fly over the location of the proposed new control while simultaneously recording good distance traces from all three remotes.† To overcome this forward antenna problem different flight orientations and remote unit positions were adopted.†

Please refer to Table 2 below for a list of the 1966 measuring stations and Figure 8 for depictions of the lines flown.

Date

Remote Unit Positions

Colour in Figure 8

7 July 1966

NM/B/130-NM/B/131 and NM/B/134

Green cross

7 July 1966

NM/B/130-NM/B/125 and NM/B/134

Lime cross

8 July 1966

Staircase-NM/B/125 and NM/B/134

Cyan cross

8 July 1966

NM/B/134-NM/B/154 and Staircase

Magenta cross

14 July 1966

NM/B/215-NM/B/216 and NM/B/125

Blue cross

14 July 1966

NM/B/134-NM/B/215 and NM/B/125

Black cross

15 July 1966

NM/B/134-NM/B/215 and NM/B/125

Black cross

15 July 1966

NM/B/125-NM/B/126 and NM/B/215

Red cross

Table 2: 1966 Aerodist photo trilateration lines in Queensland
(from data in Aerodist Log Book)

66 trilat

Figure 8: 1966 Aerodist photo trilateration lines in Queensland (prepared by Paul Wise 2015)

 

During the distance measuring flights, near vertical photographs were acquired with a Vinten 70 mm camera at approximately 8 second intervals.† In addition to the Vinten photography, a Wild HC1 35 mm horizon camera simultaneously photographed the horizon to the fore, aft, port and starboard of the aircraft flight line.† The HC1 camera was installed in the larger Grand Commander measuring aircraft VH-EXZ that was used for the first time in 1966.† The intervalometer that controlled the timing of the Vinten camera caused an event mark to be automatically recorded on the Aerodist chart at the instant of each exposure.†

For each 70 mm Vinten photo frame the slope distance to each remote unit station could be calculated from the Aerodist measurements.† The 8 second intervalometer setting was selected to give a 60 percent forward overlap between consecutive Vinten photo frames to aid later stereoscopic transfer of control points.†

Vinten photo centres would thus occur every 400 metres across the area of interest or every 5 millimetres on the 1:80,000 scale block aerial photography used in the map compilation process.† About a dozen 70 mm photo frames were acquired during each aircraft measuring run.

Back in the Melbourne office, the computer program TRILAT was used to compute the aircraftís geographical position along each measuring run.† Please refer to McMaster (1980) for details of this program.† The aircraft positioning results were good.† The regular change in the aircraftís latitude and longitude at the instant of each 70 mm Vinten camera exposure could be observed on the computer output.

Some of the Vinten 70 mm frames were selected for each of the four predetermined areas where additional control was required.† This photo selection was based on two criteria, namely:

       that the selected Vinten frames contained detail that could be matched to the detail on the 1:80,000 scale mapping photography, and

       that the HC1 horizon camera images indicated the Vinten frames were close to vertical; that is aircraft tips and tilts were minimal.

The theory behind the process was that applicable HC1 horizon photographs would allow the calculation of actual aircraft tips and tilts at the instant of exposure of the selected 70 mm Vinten frames.† From these calculated angles, offsets from the vertical would be calculated and applied as adjustments to the aircraftís measured air coordinates.† The adjusted air coordinates would then give the ground coordinates of the new control points in any of the selected Vinten frames.† The control points from the most suitable frames would then be photogrammetrically transferred to the 1:80,000 scale mapping photography for subsequent use in the mapping process.

The calculations required precise measurements from the HC1 horizon camera photo frames.† For example, one degree of aircraft tip and tilt would project the photo control point some 38 metres away from its true position.† At the operational altitude of the measuring aircraft, the horizon was about 150 kilometres distant.† Thus a one degree aircraft tip and tilt showed the horizon to be 0.5 mm above or below the true horizontal position at scale of the HC1 photos.†

The precision of any measurements on the HC1 frames had to be within 1/10th (0.1) of a millimetre to ensure the accuracy in the final photo-control point coordinates were within 10 metres on the ground.

Unfortunately, the final ground coordinates could not be accurately derived.† The principal reasons for this unsatisfactory outcome of these photo trilateration trials were that:

       the horizon could not be satisfactorily located on the 35 mm HC1 photography to allow tip and tilt adjustments to be made to the 70 mm Vinten photography, and

       the poor metric quality of the Vinten photography constrained point identification.

In 1967, Nat Map flew five further photo trilaterations in the Charters Towers to Mount Isa area.† Apart from a demonstration at Swan Hill circa 1967 and some successful lower order operational use off the Western Australian coast during 1973, this method of control point position fixing was not used again by Nat Map.

(Around the late 1960s, Nat Map had extensive discussions with Mike Penny of the then Weapons Research Establishment on the feasibility of developing a camera platform that would overcome the inclination problem.† Dr Pennyís proposed solution was to only allow camera exposures when the platform was level and to inhibit camera exposures when the platform was in any way inclined.† Although Dr Penny worked on such an approach for some time the proposed solution did not come to fruition.† In the mid-1970s Nat Map was again involved in the development of an inertial camera attitude indicator using Ferranti inertial technology.† Although a prototype system was later developed it did not progress to operational use.)

During the 1973 Aerodist measuring operations in Block 36 off the north-west coast of Western Australia the positions of eight offshore points on rocks, shoals and islands were successfully determined by photo trilateration in situations were lower order control sufficed.† The Wild HC1 horizon camera was not used for these photo trilaterations.† Further information on the 1973 photo trilaterations is provided in the 1973 Aerodist Marking and Measuring in Block 36 section below.

 

 

Chapter 3-About Aerodist Field Operations

 

 

Aerodist Field Operations

During Aerodist measuring operations, field parties typically had the following organisational components:

The centre party that included the party leader (surveyor) and an electronics technician who usually operated the master measuring equipment in the aircraft.† The technician also kept the master equipment operating satisfactorily which at times involved considerable skill and effort.† Often there would also be a senior relief master operator.† Another surveyor and other staff were sometimes attached to the centre party.† The aircraft pilot was also part of this component.† Of necessity after the completion of helicopter-borne master operations in 1964 the centre party operated from airstrips that were sometimes in a town, at a station homestead, or at some other form of settlement.† However, as necessary the centre party also operated from remote airstrips in isolated areas out in the bush.†

A sixth remote unit would sometimes be deployed from the centre party.† The centre party was usually supported with a four-wheel drive station wagon, a mobile electronics workshop/office (from 1966) and a supply truck when operating away from towns.† For more details on the mobile electronics workshop/office or Aerodist caravan as it was called please refer to Appendix B.

There were four or more two-person remote sub-parties who operated Aerodist remote units on the ground at survey control stations.† When vehicle-based, the remote parties had access to reasonable camping equipment and tentage, as well as adequate food and water supplies.†

However, this was not the case when remote parties were positioned by helicopter.† The helicopters were contracted to carry an 800 pounds payload over 80 nautical miles and return to base without refuelling.

The necessary remote party technical equipment comprised: Aerodist remote unit, (and sometimes an extra back section if using a dual frequency remote), tripod, reflector dish, dipole antenna, mechanism barometer, psychrometer, Traeger HF transceiver with speaker, microphone and aerial, two 12-volt lead acid batteries (by the late 1960s Dunlop Marine Dynapak batteries were used exclusively by Aerodist parties), a petrol powered generator (usually a Honda ED250) with spare fuel and oil, and a small rucksack with remote unit power and generator leads, Aerodist communications headset, scheme diagram, field books, pen, measuring tape, plumb bobs, prismatic compass, binoculars, clinometer etc.†

After loading this equipment and a spade and an axe into the helicopter there was limited room and weight allowance for the two remote party members and their personal and camping equipment.† Remote parties lived for some days in the elements on rocky hills or in the valleys between sand hills without tentage or chairs.† Their home equipment was a tightly rolled swag and a low camp stretcher for each person as well a billy can, a metal bucket, a small saucepan, plastic wash bowls, some cutlery, Melamine plates and cups, a can opener, a small cardboard box of mainly tinned and dry food and a 20-litre container of water.†

With these little luxuries remote party members had to endure the sub-zero winter nights and mornings and day time temperatures that could exceed 40 degrees Celsius as well as the wind, the fortunately rare rain, and the flies.† This form of rough living would go on for some months. For example, the longest Aerodist helicopter contract was during the 1972 field season.† The contract started north of Rawlinna on 5 May 1972.† After working through the Great Victoria, Gibson, Little Sandy, and Great Sandy Deserts the contract finished at Forrest on the Nullarbor Plain on 11 November 1972.

As indicated above, when operating in the more remote areas of inland Australia after 1966, the positioning of remote parties was often done by helicopter.† In these cases there was a third organisational component in the Aerodist field party, namely helicopter support.† This component was usually a more senior staff member (typically an experienced technical officer or later a more junior surveyor) who selected a suitable site and then ran the helicopter camp.†

This support function mainly involved providing tentage and other camping equipment for the helicopter crews, arranging flight schedules with pilots, the Aerodist field party leader and remote party personnel, etc.† The helicopter support unit would usually be the base for the ground recovery of remote parties in the event a helicopter became unserviceable.† Early recovery of these personnel was necessary because of their limited food and water supply endurance as indicated above.† For more information on the ground recoveries of remote parties please refer to Appendix C below.†

As a standard operating procedure, a fifth remote party (usually just the one operator) was often deployed from the helicopter support camp.† At times this remote party was deployed on a helicopter stand-by basis after other remote parties had been positioned.† A helicopter overnight stand-by is shown in Image 10 below.† In these cases, the fifth remote would be flown to perhaps a more distant survey control station with extra helicopter fuel on board or to a station where only a few lines were to be measured.† The helicopter would stand-by and bring the remote operator back to camp on the same day or the next day.† At stand-by remote stations the more cooperative helicopter pilots would usually act as the booker and record the usual measuring parameters and associated meteorological data.

Image 10: An overnight helicopter stand-by at an Aerodist remote station in Western Australia in 1972 (Ted Graham image)

 

During the 1974 field season only, an electronics technician was attached to the helicopter support party.† This staff deployment arrangement allowed ready technician access to any remote unit that required servicing or repair.† This arrangement was possible in that year as more trained electronics technicians from a trainee technical officer scheme became available for field deployment.

A fuel truck usually travelled with the helicopter support party to carry supplies of aviation turbine kerosene for the helicopter as well as motor spirit and water.† Occasionally, the fuel truck operated independently to meet operational needs.† For more details of independent fuel truck operation in the 1972 field season please refer to Appendix D.

Radio Communications

Nat Mapís Aerodist field operations were conducted during a period before the invention of todayís satellite telephones and associated satellite-supported computer communications.† During the Aerodist era personal computers and mobile telephones did not exist.† Instead, high frequency double side band two-way radio transceivers were used extensively for inter-party communications as well as for communications with the outside world.†

The Nat Map Aerodist party used Traeger model TM2 and TM3 transceivers that were manufactured by the Adelaide-based Traeger Transceivers Pty Ltd.† These radio sets used separate plug in crystal boxes to change frequencies.† The separate reception and transmission crystal boxes were not interchangeable.† For inter-party communications the Nat Map allocated frequencies of 3164 and 6815 MHz were usually used.† Generally the higher frequency was best during the day but 3164 was sometimes better around evenings due to disturbance of the ionosphere when the sun angle was low.† The Traeger transceivers had external speaker boxes and separate microphones.†

Two types of transceiver antenna were used.† A 30-foot telescopic aerial or a simple length of 2 or 3 mm insulated wire.† The latter antenna was generally preferred by helicopter remote parties.† The former was more suitable when a vehicle was available with the necessary aerial base holder that was needed to support the antenna when extended.

Nat Map field party members were issued with individual call signs for use on the two radio networks on which Nat Map operated.† These networks were the public use network work regulated by the Post Master Generalís Department and a restricted network operated by the Weapons Research Establishment from Woomera.† WRE had kindly allowed Nat Map to use their allocated radio frequencies for field survey party radio traffic.† The centre party and the helicopter support party usually used the call signs 9JT (9-Juliet Tango) and 8SQC (8-Sierra Quebec Charlie) respectively on the PMG network regardless of the personnel in place from time-to-time.

Image 11 below shows Traeger model TM2 and TM3 high frequency transceivers as used in the Aerodist caravan during 1972.† A closer view of a Traeger model TM3 transceiver is shown in Image 12 below.

Image 11: Traeger TM2 (top) and TM3 transceivers in the Aerodist caravan at Featherstonhaugh in 1972 (Peter Langhorne image)

 

Image 12: Traeger TM3 transceiver (John Ely image)

 

Inter-party radio communications generally had two main functions.† Firstly, the radio communications provided a general safety net for travel movement and general operational status reporting.† Secondly, radio communications were used during Aerodist operations to advise remote parties of measuring progress during the day and particularly to warn remote parties to prepare for measuring.† A prepare for measuring warning would usually involve advising a remote party to warm-up a particular frequency remote (say Red 1) but have the unit pointing away from any lines currently being measured.† Afterwards the radio would be used to advise the remote operator to bring his unit on line.† Once voice contact was made over the Aerodist system, further measuring-related communications would be made through that system.

External communications were usually conducted by telegram messages relayed through the Royal Flying Doctor Service radio network.† In the Aerodist era, the then Post Master Generalís Department telegram service was part of everyday communications life for businesses and households.† External communications were also occasionally affected by telegrams sent through the Weapons Research Establishmentís base transmitter VL5BW at Woomera.†

Like most organisations in those days National Mapping had its own registered telegram address for both the Canberra and Melbourne offices.† For Aerodist field party traffic the telegraphic address was NATMAP Melbourne.

When operating in remote areas, the Aerodist field party used Flying Doctor bases at major centres such as Alice Springs, Kalgoorlie, Derby and Charleville for most of its telegram traffic.† Each of these bases operated on their own separate frequencies. †This Aerodist radio traffic included weekly reports on progress, requests for electronics or vehicle parts, notifications of impending personnel travel movements and such like.† Sometimes important personal messages such as a family illness were also carried as were communications between aircraft pilots or engineers and their companies.

There were also set frequency receiving crystals to pick up time signals broadcast from radio stations VNG at Lyndhurst, Victoria (Australian National Time Signal Service) or WWV at Fort Collins, Colorado and WWVH, Maui Hawaii (both United States Department of Commerceís American Bureau of Standards).† These crystals were mostly used by Nat Map for astronomical observations.† Accordingly they were little used by Aerodist field parties.

Nat Mapís Traeger transceivers also had available two receiving boxes with tuneable coils.† One coil box could be tuned to frequencies between wave lengths of 30 and 80 metres.† The other coil box could be tuned to frequencies between the wave lengths of 19 to 50 metres.† These music coils were important for receiving news and other radio broadcasts at night.† They were often the sole means of entertainment for Aerodist centre party, helicopter support party, and remote party members.† Usually the music coils could be tuned to pick up Radio Australia short wave broadcasts and sometimes domestic radio broadcast stations.† In a sadly short-sighted decision, Nat Map opted not to have such facility installed in the Codan single side band transceivers that replaced the Traeger radios in 1976.

About Alf Traeger (1895-1980) and the School of the Air

Alfred Hermann Traeger OBE (1895-1980) was a radio engineer renowned in Australian history as the inventor of the pedal wireless.† Although born in Victoria his application to serve during World War I was refused due to his German heritage.† From the mid-1920s Traeger worked with the Reverend John Flynn to develop a two-way wireless for use by isolated outback stations and communities.†

Initially the wireless communications were for contact with Flynnís Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service that was the forerunner for todayís Royal Flying Doctor Service.†

In 1929, Traegerís pedal powered generator and radio system was used in Queensland to send the first Morse code Flying Doctor radio message.† This development led to a vast change in outback communications.† Traeger later refined his wireless system to allow keyboard rather than Morse code inputs.† He subsequently introduced voice communications capability.† In the early 1920s with his brother and father, Traeger had formed Traeger Transceivers Pty Ltd.† This Adelaide-based company went on to develop and produce many radio communications products.†

In 1950, South Australian born educationalist and former schools inspector, Adelaide Laetitia Miethke OBE (1881-1962), used the then Flying Doctor Service radio communications network to conduct the first School of the Air session from Alice Springs.† The School of the Air for isolated outback children was possible due to the pioneering radio communications work of John Flynn and Alf Traeger.

Aerodist Field Party Camping and Equipment

By the standards of the 1960s and 1970s, Nat Mapís main field camps were fairly well equipped.† Of course now half a century or so on, standards and expectations have changed somewhat.† Nat Mapís field living and working conditions would still compare favourably with the better equipped and provisioned off-road four-wheel drive enthusiasts of today.† However, it is unlikely that Nat Mapís way of field work and camping life would receive a tick from a present day workplace health and safety auditor.† Simply, workplace requirements have evolved.

From the inception of Nat Map field survey operations in 1948, the organisation opted not to provide cooks for its field survey camps.† Owing to the dispersed nature of Aerodist and other Nat Map survey operations in the field, a centrally provided cook would only occasionally be able to provide for all field party members.† Instead each field party member was responsible for their own provisioning and cooking.

Generally Aerodist field party members carried immediate food provisions in the vehicles to which they were assigned.† In addition, field party members generally arranged to stow longer term personal food supplies on the centre party supply truck.†

Owing to the remoteness of many Aerodist field survey operations and the need for contingencies, party members would sometimes have provisions on hand for periods between four to eight weeks.† Of course some supplies especially bread, meat, fruit and vegetables would be topped up when passing through towns or by dedicated supply runs when camping for extended periods away from towns.† Also field parties often obtained fresh meat from cattle or sheep stations in operational areas; in those days generally free of charge.

Cooking arrangements usually varied with the size and structure of the survey camps.† Centre party members would often mess collectively; while each of the two-man remote parties generally cooked together even when in larger camps.

The camp fire, the galvanised iron bucket and the billy can were the fundamentals of all Nat Map field camps.† These items were often all remote parties had to cook and wash up with.† But even in the better equipped centre party camps the fires, buckets and billy cans remained central features.† The bucket was used to heat water for the various domestic purposes: to warm cans of food, to provide hot water for washing up dishes or for clothes laundering and to provide warm water for showers.†

However, in some centre party camps a hot water supply was sometimes available from an elaborate home-made system that heated a 44 gallon drum of water in the camp fire; see Image 29 in the section on 1972 Aerodist Measuring in Western Australia below; it was the creation of Mick Skinner.

In the bush camps, showers were generally only available once a week on the Sunday rest days.† At other times it was only a quick wash of essential body areas using a bowl of water and a sponge.† Showers were taken using a canvas shower bucket filled with a couple of gallons of warm water from the camp fire bucket.† The shower bucket was hung from a tree branch or the back of a heavy vehicle.† A rubber matting or similar base was usually used to keep feet out of the mud.† Drying off in a breeze could be a little bracing in the cooler months.

Camping toilet facilities were the most basic.† They usually comprised a spade and a toilet roll.† For privacy and hygiene reasons a longish walk from whatever the camp was also involved.

Individual camping items included a bedding swag, stretcher, and chair.† The swag comprised a canvas cover, thin wadded mattress, two blankets, zipper-side sleeping bag, pillow, pillow case, sleeping bag liner and a mosquito net.† The stretcher was a low canvas covered Restwell camp cot with a four-leg collapsible metal frame.† Most chairs were of the folding metal frame type with arm rests and canvas seat and back rest.† Each person also had their own Melamine mug and plates as well as cutlery.† Can openers were essential.

Cooking equipment, tentage and a small folding table were usually assigned to each vehicle.† Cooking equipment was fairly basic, namely a few saucepans, a frying pan, cooking spoon, fork and knife.† A cast iron camp oven was a fairly popular equipment option.† There were also a few plastic wash-up bowls and a 2.5 gallon galvanised iron bucket with heavy wire handle as well as a tinned or aluminium billy can of around 1 or 2 quarts capacity.† Tea towels and rudimentary dish washing materials were also carried as was a basic first aid kit.

The basic tent was a nominal two-person pyramid style canvas Kimberley tent.† It had floor dimensions of about 8 feet by 8 feet with an internal 3-piece wooden centre pole and four internal wooden spreader arms that ran from the centre pole to the tent corners.† Later models had a mosquito netted rear window with a storm flap, sewn-in polypropylene floor, a mosquito netted front entrance with storm flap and a canvas verandah awning.†

As well as pegging facilities around the floor perimeter there was provision for external guy ropes from the top of the centre pole and from the tent corners.† Unlike similar tents, the Kimberley was an exclusive product of the Melbourne canvas goods and flag makers Evan Evans Pty Ltd; please see below for more information on this firm.†

Each vehicle was also equipped with various hand and other tools.† Tools generally included, spade, long-handle shovel, pick, axe, crow bar, sledge hammer, Schrader spark plug tyre pump, hand operated tyre pump, tyre bead breaking slide hammer, sundry spanners, screwdrivers, sockets, files, hacksaw, pliers, multi-grips, tin snips, hammers, punches and drifts, feeler gauges, grease gun, inner tube vulcanising clamp, vehicle jacks and so on.† Vehicle also carried a few spare parts and lubricants.† Spares included oil filters, fan belts, radiator hoses, spark plugs, distributor points, U-bolts, shackle-pins, shackle-plates, centre-bolts, vulcanising patches, spare inner tubes and tyre sleeves as well as sundry nuts and bolts, screws and washers etc.†

Vehicles generally had various storage containers including metal boxes for food and equipment, and jerry cans for water and fuel.† Each vehicle was also fitted with a water tank and an additional fuel tank.† Remote party vehicles also carried a padded box for the delicate survey equipment.† Most vehicles also carried a canvas shower bucket and a single burner liquefied petroleum gas stove fitted to a 2-pound capacity liquid petroleum gas bottle.

Apart from the centre party, camp lighting was usually provided by an in-house made 12-volt 18 watts camp light that ran off vehicle or equipment batteries.

In addition to the above individual camping and vehicle equipment, the helicopter support vehicle also carried extra items for the helicopter pilots and engineer.† This equipment included extra swags, chairs and tables, tentage, cooking, crockery, cutlery and washing items etc.† The helicopter support vehicle usually carried a 115 litre LP gas refrigerator with a 100 pounds LP gas cylinder.† There were also a few extra single and double burner LP gas stoves.

In later years, the helicopter support vehicle also carried a full size Royal Flying Doctor Service first aid kit.† Ready access to such a first aid kit was required if it became necessary to seek patient care instructions over the Flying Doctor radio network in the event of serious injury or illness.† An instructing doctor would be able to prescribe treatment in the knowledge that the patient carer had access to the standard first aid items that were all number coded for ready identification in the kit.

The centre party general camping equipment was most comprehensive as it tended to be the least mobile field component; that is it usually operated from the same base for longer periods than other field party components.† The centre party plant also had to meet aircraft pilot accommodation standards provided for in the aircraft charter contracts.† In addition to the individual items listed above the centre party had two 18 feet by 18 feet auto tents.† These were typically used as cooking and mess tents.† However, owing to the generally dry weather operating conditions usually only a cooking tent was erected at field camps.†

Major cooking equipment items included a Cumberland LP gas cooking range with a four-burner top, grill and oven.† This stove was coupled to a 100-pound capacity LP gas cylinder.† There was also a 115 litre capacity LP gas refrigerator and an approximately 15 cubic feet capacity 240-volt deep freeze chest.†

The centre party kitchen also had a comprehensive range of cooking utensils and pots and pans.† The cast iron camp oven, the galvanised iron bucket and the billy can remained integral parts of the centre party cooking plant.

In the centre party, 240 volt power was provided by a 4.5 kilowatts Davey-Dunlite petrol-engine generator which also provided power to the electronics workshop caravan and its testing equipment.†

There was also a back-up Honda E1500 petrol engine generator with a capacity of 1.5 kilowatts.† The generator also powered the camp lighting that comprised 240-volt globes in festoon cable fittings.† A Nat Map employee (Mick Skinner) generously donated a small 240-volt clothes washing machine.

The centre party supply vehicle carried a number of 44 gallon drums of water and some spare LP gas cylinders.† It also carried a 100-pound capacity decanting gas cylinder that was used for filling the smaller gas bottles on the single and double burner stoves.† This vehicle also carried a comprehensive set of hand tools and spare parts similar to that mentioned above.† Heavy support vehicles usually carried a high lift mechanical Trawalla jack.†

Usually a few vehicles would also carry petrol-engine chain saws and accessories in case heavy clearing of previously unscheduled survey stations became necessary.

The Aerodist party would usually carry a pair of Tellurometers, a Wild T2 theodolite and related survey equipment as a contingency in case of unplanned work arose during the field season.† For the same reason at least one set of station marking equipment was usually carried by the Aerodist field party; i.e. station block mould, concreting mould lettering dies, concreting hand tools, paint brushes etc.

About Ivor Evans (1887-1960)

Earlier in this section it was mentioned that the two-man Kimberley tent used by National Mapping was a product exclusive to the Melbourne canvas goods and flag makers Evan Evans Pty Ltd.† This company was founded by Welsh-born tent maker Evan Evans who established his business in 1877 in premises at 680 Elizabeth Street Melbourne.

Evansí third son Ivor William Evans was born at Carlton in 1887.† As a thirteen year old student at Princes Hill State School in 1901, Ivor submitted an entry to Prime Minister Edmund Bartonís competition to design the flag for the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia.† Over 32,000 entries were received.† On 3 September 1901 a flag made to the winning design was unfurled above Melbourneís Exhibition Building which was then the seat of the federal parliament.†

Ivor Evans and four other people shared the £200 prize money as they submitted nearly identical designs for the flag.† (In terms of 2015 money values the prize was worth about $28,500.)† The joint prize winners were:

       Annie Dorrington, Artist, Perth (1866-1926)

       Ivor Evans, Student, Melbourne (1887-1960)

       Leslie Hawkins, Student, Leichhardt† (1883-1966)

       Egbert Nuttall, Architect, Prahran (1866-1963)

       William Stevens, Steamship Officer, Auckland (1866-1928).

The design of the flag was never debated in federal parliament but simply sent to London for Imperial approval; it was formally gazetted in 1903.† The design was subsequently changed in minor ways on three occasions.† However, it had no legal status as the national flag until the passing of the Flags Act 1953.† This legislation was passed by the Menzies government in 1954.

Ivor Evans later joined his fatherís business as did at least some of his brothers.† Ivor Evans died at his Beaumaris home in 1960.† The Evan Evans family business was still supplying canvas goods to Nat Map in the mid-1970s.† Today it continues to trade as a flag maker.

 

Measuring Aircraft Used

During Nat Mapís Aerodist field operations from 1963 to 1974 several different aircraft were used for two separate applications.† Firstly, rotary and later fixed-wing aircraft were used as the platform for the Aerodist master measuring equipment.† Secondly, from 1967 helicopters were used to position Aerodist remote sub-parties on to survey control stations in the more remote areas of Australia.†

The aircraft used during Nat Mapís Aerodist field operations were all chartered from private sector aviation contractors.† The contractors were responsible for the provision of the aircraft and pilots and for aircraft maintenance.† Generally the contractors were also responsible for the advance positioning of aircraft fuel at locations determined by Nat Map to meet its annual measuring program needs.†

Nat Mapís field use of the airborne Aerodist system commenced April 1963 with helicopter-borne acceptance testing measurements using a Bell 47J-2A Ranger (VH-INM) chartered from the Helicopter Division of Ansett-ANA.† Helicopter-borne field measuring operations commenced in the second half of 1963.† In February 1964, helicopter VH-INM was damaged beyond repair in a crash on take-off near Maydena west of Hobart.† There were no injuries to the three persons on board.† At the time the aircraft was engaged on survey work for Tasmaniaís Hydro-Electric Commission.† For the 1964 field season Nat Mapís Aerodist master equipment was mounted in a Bell 47J-2 Ranger helicopter (VH-INZ) that was also chartered from the Helicopter Division of Ansett-ANA.† The two helicopters are shown in Images 13 and 14 below.

As Nat Mapís Aerodist measuring operations became routine, the helicopterís slower speed and limited endurance became a constraint.† Also it was extremely limited in terms of operator and equipment space; as can be seen in Image 15 below.† A better Aerodist platform was needed.† Thus for the 1965 measuring field season the master units were mounted in a high-wing twin engine Rockwell Aero Commander 680E fixed-wing aircraft (VH-EXY) chartered from Executive Air Services Pty Ltd based at Melbourneís Essendon airport; see Image 2 above.†

Image 13: Nat Mapís first Aerodist master platform helicopter VH-INM in Victoria in 1963, note starboard pod antenna (Nat Map image)

 

Image 14: Nat Mapís second Aerodist master platform helicopter VH-INZ in 1964 (Nat Map image)

 

Image 15: Len Turner with the initial two-channel Aerodist master configuration in helicopter VH-INM in 1963 (Nat Map image)

 

However, space in VH-EXY was still fairly limited.† Cabin space was such that the Aerodist master and ancillary equipment was installed on the bulkhead that separated the aircraft cabin from the cargo compartment.† This meant the master operators had to face backwards opposite the direction of flight.† Some operators found that working with such orientation was difficult.† Also any system repairs involving cable changes had to be done while lying backwards in the hot, poorly ventilated and dark cargo compartment.† In other words, VH-EXY was still not the ideal Aerodist platform; a larger aircraft was needed.

Thus between 1966 and 1974, a larger Rockwell Grand Commander 680FL aircraft (VH-EXZ) was used; it is shown in Image 4 above.† This aircraft was also chartered from Executive Air Services.† The larger 680FL overcame space limitations with the smaller 680E aircraft used in 1965.† Executive Airlines Pty Ltd owned aircraft VH-EXZ from 22 March 1965 to 18 October 1979.† In its later Aerodist years VH-EXZ was configured with an endurance of over seven hours; thus the working day could be quite demanding for the pilot and for the Nat Map on-board operators.†

VH-EXZ pilots in the 1960s included: Kandar (Ken) Singh, Neville Cribb, Ken Wootton, Ian Bell, Greg Searle, Lyall Copley, Peter Bini, and Alan Walker.† VH-EXZ pilots in the 1970s included: Peter Berbakov (1970), Trevor Haynes (1970), George Rickey (1970-71), Arthur Johnson (1970-71); Graham Galliott (1971-73), Ken Stewart (1972), John South (1972-74), Trevor Merton (1972-73) and John Harvey (1973-74).† Executive Air Services engineers included: Ron Smith, Ray Landers and Bill OíMeara.

The Aerodist measuring aircraft (both fixed and rotary wing) would also be used to take spot photography of the survey control marks.† This photography was carried out either in conjunction with line crossing flights or on dedicated spot photography flights.†

In the helicopter-borne master unit days of 1963 and 1964, spot photography was done with hand-held cameras.† Cameras used in those years included a Williamson and a 35 mm Nikon.† The fixed-wing measuring aircraft (VH-EXY and VH-EXZ) were both equipped with a motorised Vinten 70 mm format reconnaissance camera for this purpose.† Each survey mark would be photographed from several different heights, namely: 500; 1,500; and 3,000 feet above the terrain to facilitate the later transfer of the survey mark position on to 1:80,000 scale aerial photography used in the map preparation process.

Helicopter Supported Remote Parties

Between 1967 and 1974 Nat Map chartered light turbine helicopters to position Aerodist remote unit sub-parties on to survey control stations.† Exceptions were in the 1969 and 1973 field seasons when helicopters were not used for onshore Aerodist operations.†† The use of helicopter support was to help ensure that the annual Aerodist measuring programs were not constrained by problematic vehicle access to survey control stations on the ground.† Such access considerations became a factor as the Aerodist field survey parties moved progressively westwards into more remote areas after the 1966 field season.

For the 1967 and 1968 Aerodist onshore field work a Fairchild Hiller FH-1100 helicopter (VH-UTZ) was chartered from the Sydney based Helicopter Utilities Pty Ltd that was part of the Airfast Group of aviation companies.† This helicopter was powered by an Allison 250 series turbine engine.† Pilots included George Treatt, Bill Mayo, Jack Palmer and Frank Hillier.† Engineers included Graham Tadgell and Roy Rayner.

During late October and the early part of November 1968, another Fairchild Hiller FH-1100 helicopter (VH-UHE) was used to support offshore Aerodist operations in the Great Barrier Reef.† This aircraft was chartered on a casual as required basis from the Helicopter Utilities Pty Ltd Heron Island tourist transfer operation that was based at Gladstone in central Queensland.† The helicopter pilot was Harvey Else.† The aircraft positioned Aerodist remote parties on to survey control stations at High Peak Island, Sandy Cape and North Reef Island.

For the 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1974 Aerodist field seasons Hughes 500 369HS helicopters were chartered.† These helicopters were VH-BLN, VH-BLO, VH-UHO and VH-SFS and were also powered by Allison 250 series turbine engines.† Except for the 1971 field season the Hughes 500 helicopters were chartered from Jayrow Helicopters Pty Ltd based at Melbourneís Moorabbin airport.† Over these years Jayrow Aerodist pilots included: Vic Barkell, chief pilot Peter Clemence, Cliff Dohle, Lloyd Knight, Howard Bosse, Terry Ellis, Phil Cooke and Gerry Leatham.† Jayrow engineers included: chief engineer, Peter Smart, Dave King, Terry Gadsen, Jim Marsh and Eckhart Schneider.†

For the 1971 field season, a Hughes 500 369HS helicopter (VH-UHO) was chartered from the Sydney-based Helicopter Utilities Pty Ltd that became part of the Airfast Group of aviation companies. †In 1971 the pilots were Harvey Else and Brian Harriss and the engineers were Jack Fackrell, Frank Summers and John More.

In October 1971, a Bell 47J2-A piston engine helicopter (VH-THH) positioned the Aerodist remote sub-party on to survey control stations on Cape York during Block 23 Coral Sea measuring operations.† The helicopter was supplied by Adelaide based Australian Helicopters; the pilot was Keith McKenzie and the engineer was Roy Rayner

Motor Vehicles Used

A variety of motor vehicles were used for several field applications during the 12 years of National Mappingís Aerodist field operations from 1963 to 1974.† Brief details of known vehicles are provided below.† Of course, throughout the period of Aerodist field operations Nat Map vehicles all had manual transmissions and were devoid of present day comforts such as air conditioning and power steering.†

With the exception of centre party personnel transport vehicles, all Nat Map field vehicles were equipped with extra fuel tanks and built-in water tanks.† The capacities of these extra tanks varied depending on the type of vehicle.

Centre Party Personnel Transport Vehicles

In the early days of Aerodist field work the centre party personnel transport was a Commer FC series Corvair light bus; registration (ZSK 434). The Commer was affectionately (or otherwise) known as the blue bus.† Apparently it was widely believed amongst field party members at the time that the modest power of the bus precluded any risk of high speed accidents.† This British Rootes Group vehicle was powered by a 4-cylinder petrol engine of some 1.6 litres capacity.† It was a low ground clearance 2-wheel drive vehicle that had a 4-speed manual transmission.†

From around 1967, the centre party personnel transport vehicle was a 4-cylinder Land Rover Series IIA 4-wheel drive station wagon.† This vehicle was powered by 2.25 litre capacity 4-cylinder petrol engine that had an overhead valve configuration.† The engine produced 55 kilowatts of power at 4,200 rpm and 160 Newton-metres of torque at 2,000 rpm.† The transmission was by a 4-speed gearbox with a 2-speed (high and low range) transfer case.† This vehicle was fitted with 7.50 x 16 tyres on well-based rims.†

From about 1970, the centre party personnel transport vehicle was a 6-cylinder Land Rover Series IIA 4-wheel drive station wagon; registration ZSM 866.† This vehicle had an engine capacity of 2.6 litres.† The petrol engine had an F-head configuration (inlet valve over the exhaust valve) and produced 67 kilowatts of power at 4,500 rpm and 178 Newton-metres of torque at 1,500 rpm.† The transmission was by a 4-speed gearbox with a 2-speed (high and low range) transfer case.† This vehicle was fitted with 7.50 x 16 tyres on well-based rims.

For the 1973 and 1974 field seasons the centre party personnel transport was a 6-cylinder 4-wheel drive Toyota Land Cruiser FJ55 series station wagon.† The petrol engine had a capacity of 3.9 litres.† It produced 112 kilowatts of power (150 horsepower) at 4,000 rpm and 290 Newton-metres (214 foot-pounds) of torque at 3,000 rpm.† This vehicle had a 4-speed manual transmission with a 2-speed (high and low range) transfer case.† It was fitted with 7.60 x 15 tyres on wheels that had removable side bands (split-rims). †

Remote Party and Helicopter Support Vehicles

For the 1963 to 1967 field seasons Aerodist remote parties mainly used International AA-120, AB-120, AB-130 and C1300 series four-wheel drive utilities.† Some Nat Map AB-130 series International utility vehicles are shown in Image 16 below.†

The C1300 series was introduced in 1967.† That series was fitted with a 6-281 International petrol engine of 282 cubic inches (4.6 litres) displacement.† The engine produced 142 brake horse power (106 kilowatts) at 3,800rpm and 241 foot-pounds (327 Newton-metres) of torque at 1,800 rpm.† The transmission in these vehicles was by a 4-speed gearbox with a 2-speed (high and low range) transfer case.† Size 8.25 x 16 tyres with 10 ply rating were fitted to C1300 Internationals.† The wheels on these vehicles had removable side bands (split-rims).† These vehicles were made in Australia by the International Harvester Company at its assembly plant in Dandenong, Victoria.

The International C1300s had metal cabins and metal utility style bodies with canvas canopies.† These vehicles had a manufacturerís gross vehicle weight rating of 8,700 pounds and a tare weight of around 5,200 pounds.† Thus they had a payload of about 3,500 pounds (1,500 kilograms).† In many ways the International C1300 was the ideal Aerodist remote vehicle; certainly in the open desert country.† This was due to the power and torque of the engine and the load carrying capacity of the vehicle.†

Image 16: Nat Map AB-130 series International Aerodist remote vehicles in central Queensland 1964 (Des Young image)

 

Also the standard Nat Map fit out provided two 14 gallon capacity fuel tanks (one under each cabin door), a 60 gallon capacity auxiliary fuel tank and a 40 gallon capacity water tank.† There was an auxiliary trip meter on the passenger side of the cabin that was used for navigation purposes.† However, their overall length and width could be an issue with Internationals in tight scrub country.† From 1966, International C1300s were also used for helicopter support and caravan towing work.

For the 1967 to 1969 field seasons most of the Aerodist remote parties were supplied with Forward Control model Land Rovers with metal cabins and tray bodies that had canvas canopies.† Some International C1300s were retained in the field party as the caravan towing vehicle and for helicopter support work.† In general the Forward Control Land Rover proved to be a disastrous vehicle.† While seemingly excellent in concept, they were poorly designed, badly built and totally unsuited to Nat Mapís application or for the conditions and terrain in which Nat Map operated.† A Nat Map Forward Control Land Rover is shown in Image 17 below.

 

Image 17: Nat Map Forward Control Land Rover Aerodist remote party vehicle in the Lawn Hill area of western Queensland in 1969 (Ian Ogilvie image)

 

Forward Control Land Rovers had 6-cylinder petrol engines with a capacity of 2.6 litres.† These engines had an F-head configuration (inlet valve over the exhaust valve) and produced 67 kilowatts of power at 4,500 rpm and 178 Newton-metres of torque at 1,500 rpm.† The transmission was by a 4-speed gearbox with a 2-speed (high and low range) transfer case.† The brakes were vacuum assisted.† These vehicles were fitted with 9.00 x 16 tyres on well-based rims.†

The early Forward Control Land Rovers used by National Mapping were the 109 inch wheelbase Series IIA; later models used were the 110 inch wheelbase Series IIB.† The later models were marginally more reliable than the Series IIA but still unsatisfactory.† The problems Nat Map encountered with the Forward Control Land Rovers included the front hub and constant velocity joint assemblies breaking away from the front axle housing.† This problem was more prevalent with the Series IIA.†

Other problems included rear axle assembly breakage, and fan drive-shaft pillow block bearing assembly failures.† The bracket holding the brake vacuum booster to the chassis rail was known to sometimes suffer failure from metal fatigue that left the booster suspended on the metal brake lines.† The design of the panels at the rear of the cabin and over the engine on some vehicles was woefully deficient.† In wet weather, water was channelled to fall over the distributor cap and would short-out the ignition system.† It seemed to most Nat Mappers who had anything to do with Forward Control Land Rovers that these vehicles had not been sufficiently developed and tested for Australian outback conditions.

For the 1970 to 1972 field seasons, Aerodist remote parties mainly used Land Rover Series IIA (bonnet control) 109 inch wheel base panel vans.† (In Land Rover parlance they were utilities with integrated metal canopies.)† These vehicles were powered by 2.25 litre capacity 4-cylinder petrol engines that had an overhead valve configuration.† These engines produced 55 kilowatts of power at 4,200 rpm and 160 Newton-metres of torque at 2,000 rpm.† The transmission was by a 4-speed gearbox with a 2-speed (high and low range) transfer case.† These vehicles were fitted with 7.50 x 16 tyres on well-based rims.† A Nat Map Series IIA bonnet control Land Rover is shown in Image 18 below.

 

Image 18: A 1970 Nat Map remote party vehicle, a Series IIA Land Rover 109 inch wheelbase at Bedourie, western Queensland (Ian Ogilvie image)

 

At least two International C1300s were assigned for caravan towing, helicopter support and other work during 1970 to 1971 and for helicopter support and other work in 1972.

For the 1973 and 1974 field seasons, Aerodist remote parties mainly used Land Rover Series III (bonnet control) 109 inch wheel base panel vans.† The engine, transmission and tyre specifications were similar to the earlier Series IIA Land Rovers.† One exception was that the Series III vehicles had all synchromesh 4-speed gearboxes; dashboards were also updated.† At least two International C1300s were assigned to helicopter support or other work in 1974.

Heavy Support Vehicles

Throughout National Mappingís Aerodist program from 1963 to 1974, four-wheel drive Bedford RLCH trucks were used as heavy support vehicles.† RL series Bedfords were manufactured in England from the early 1950s to the late 1960s by Vauxhall Motors Limited a division of the General Motors Corporation.†

The RLCH models of these cab-over-engine trucks were operated by National Mapping between 1960 and 1974.† (The RLCH stood for R series, long wheelbase version, cab-chassis configuration, heavy duty.)† This model had a carrying capacity of over 4 tons (about 4 tons 10 hundredweight tare and 8 tons 14 hundredweight gross vehicle weight).

These Bedfords were used as heavy support vehicles for mapping survey parties working in remote areas.† The 4X4 RLCHs used by Nat Map were powered by a 4.9 litres (300 cubic inches) capacity 6-cylinder overhead valve Bedford petrol engines that developed 110 brake horse power (82 kilowatts).† Transmission was via a 4 speed gearbox and a 2 speed transfer case that gave a 2:1 reduction in low range.† Four-wheel drive was only available in low range.† The brakes were assisted by a Clayton-Dewandre vacuum servo system.† Tyres of the size 11.00 x 20 were fitted to Nat Map Bedfords.† The wheels on these vehicles had removable side bands (split-rims).† Most of Nat Mapís Bedfords had a small air compressor for inflating tyres.† The compressor was driven by a power take-off from the vehicle gearbox.

During Aerodist field seasons, one Bedford would carry the centre party camping equipment, stores and provisions for party members generally.† Also as necessary this vehicle would carry station marking equipment and related consumables such as cement and steel posts etc.† This vehicle would normally travel with and be located with the Aerodist centre party.

From the 1967 field season onwards where helicopter remote work was involved a second Bedford was often used as fuel transport vehicle.† This fuel vehicle would usually travel with the helicopter support party but as necessary would operate independently, for more details of some independent operation please refer to Appendix D.

From part way through the 1971 field season to the end of Aerodist measuring operations in 1974, an International C1600 series four-wheel drive truck carried the Aerodist mobile office and electronics workshop.† This vehicle was known as the Aerodist caravan and would normally travel with and be located with the Aerodist centre party.†

As with the International C1300s, the C1600 was fitted with a 6-281 International petrol engine of 282 cubic inches (4.6 litres) displacement.† The engine produced 142 brake horse power (106 kilowatts) at 3,800rpm and 241 foot-pounds (327 Newton-metres) of torque at 1,800 rpm.† The transmission in these vehicles was by a 4-speed gearbox with a 2-speed (high and low range) transfer case.† Size 10.00 x 20 tyres with 12 ply rating were fitted to the C1600 International.† The wheels on these vehicles had removable side bands (split-rims).† The brakes were vacuum assisted.† For more details on the Aerodist caravan please refer to Appendix B.

All Nat Map heavy support vehicles used on Aerodist field operations had single wheel configurations.† That is, none of these vehicles had dual rear wheels.† This wheel configuration greatly assisted traction in heavy sand going by allowing front and rear wheels to track together.† However, this configuration seemed to make these vehicles more vulnerable to rear tyre failure on sealed road running with heavy loads.† Such tyre failures may have been due to the tyres been weakened from staking by sticks, roots etc during off-road use or to under inflation of the rear tyres.

 

Part 2-The People

 

Chapter 4-Nat Mapís Aerodist people

 

The Surveyors

 

Len Turner (1932-2002)

Len was involved with Nat Mapís Aerodist program prior to the decision to purchase this equipment in 1961.† He was the senior surveyor responsible for the purchase, acceptance and testing of the system during 1962 and early 1963.† Len then ran trials of the system in mid-1963 to develop operating procedures.† Later in 1963, Len was the inaugural field party leader on the first operational field deployment of the Aerodist system in Queenslandís Bowen Basin.† Len remained involved with Aerodist operations as senior surveyor of the Airborne Horizontal Control Section and later as supervising surveyor until moving to Canberra in 1971.

Leonard George Turner was born in New Zealand in 1932 where he qualified as a licensed surveyor in 1953 after he had served articles with Charles Foster who had a rural survey practise based at the North Island town of Levin.† Len joined Nat Map in 1961 after gaining considerable survey experience in the New Hebrides, Northern Territory, New Zealand, Dutch New Guinea (now the Indonesian province of Western New Guinea) and Nigeria.† He became a senior surveyor soon after joining Nat Map and in 1966 became the supervising surveyor of Nat Mapís Topographic Survey Branch.†

During 1971 Len transferred to Nat Mapís Canberra office to create and head the Bathymetric Survey Branch.† Len left Nat Map as an assistant director in 1977 to further his career in the wider Commonwealth public service.† He was to spend over ten years on policy development work mainly with Nat Mapís parent organisation.† Len retired from the then Department of Resources and Energy in 1988.† After spending a few years living in Queensland, Len and his wife Kath retired to Merimbula on the New South Wales far south coast in 1994.† Sadly Len Turner died at the Bega Hospital in June 2002; he was 70 years of age.

 

 

Syd Kirkby, MBE

Syd was directly involved with Nat Mapís Aerodist program from its inception in the early 1960s until the end of 1970.† During this period Syd was variously the Aerodist field party leader, the senior surveyor in charge of the program and later the Branch supervising surveyor.† During 1963 and 1964 Syd led the early helicopter-borne Aerodist measuring field operations in the Bowen Basin of central Queensland and the Surat Basin in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales.† Between 1965 and 1969 Syd continued to lead Aerodist measuring field operations in New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.† From 1966 to 1969, Syd also led Aerodist measuring operations over the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea off Queensland.

Sydney Lorrimar Kirkby was born in Perth in 1933 and grew up in Western Australia where he qualified as a surveyor in 1955.† In 1954, Syd was engaged as a surveyor-astronomer on the joint Commonwealth-State Great Sandy Desert Expedition that undertook mapping and geology work over an area that included the Canning Stock Route.†

Syd joined National Mapping in August 1959 after wintering at Mawson base with an Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition in 1956-57.† During the summer of 1956-57, Syd and his companions Bill Bewsher (1924-2012) and Peter Crohn (1925-2000) were the first people ever to see the full extent of the Prince Charles Mountains.† These major mountains extend in an arc over 380 kilometres in Mac Robertson Land well to the south of Mawson base and were named in 1956 after HRH Prince Charles.† Syd and his two companions were the first people to penetrate the Prince Charles Mountains when they undertook their one thousand mile or so dog sledging journey that extended over a period of some three months.† Syd again wintered in Antarctica in 1960.† Syd participated in further Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions during the summer seasons of 1961-62, 1962-63 and 1964-65.†

Initially engaged by Nat Map solely as an Antarctic surveyor, Syd became progressively involved in Australian mapping activities from 1961.† During 1962, Syd Kirkby formally became a member of Nat Mapís Australian operations.† From the initial field days of the Aerodist program Syd more than adequately assisted the then senior surveyor Len Turner and relieved Len as field party leader on several occasions.† In 1966, Syd became the senior surveyor in charge of Nat Mapís Airborne Horizontal Control Section and continued to spend much time running Aerodist field operations.†

Around the end of 1969, Syd was promoted to supervising surveyor in charge of the newly created Control Survey Branch that included Aerodist marking and measuring operations as well as the laser airborne terrain profiler operations and other mapping control survey activities.† Around early 1971 following Len Turnerís move to Canberra, Syd became the supervising surveyor in charge of the recently restructured Topographic Survey Branch that then included most other Melbourne office activities, namely: photogrammetry and the then emerging digital photogrammetry, orthophotomapping, and digital terrain modelling as well as map completion activities, Antarctic mapping activities, and survey and map records. †In 1976, Syd became an assistant director responsible for the running of all Nat Mapís Victorian office operations.† Syd again wintered in Antarctica as the officer in charge at the Mawson station in 1980.†

For his service in Antarctica Syd was awarded a Polar Medal in March 1958 and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in January 1966.† In 1997, Syd was awarded the Gold Medal of the Australian Geographic Society.† In 1999, Syd was nominated by The Australian newspaper as one of the ten greatest Australian adventurers of the 20th century.† In 2002, Syd was awarded the John Park Thomson (Founderís) medal by the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia Queensland Branch.†

Syd retired from National Mapping in October 1984 and now lives at Flaxton in Queenslandís Sunshine Coast hinterland.

 

Ted Seton (1920-1997)

Ted was apparently never involved directly as a member of the Aerodist measuring party.† However, from 1963 to 1966 Ted was a surveyor in Nat Mapís then Topographic Survey Branch and worked in the field on the ground marking of and levelling to Aerodist survey control stations.† He was also involved in undertaking Tellurometer connections in the early Aerodist blocks in central Queensland.

Edmond Francis Norman Seton was born at Glen Innes in the New England region of New South Wales on 19 September 1920.† Ted was the first of four children born to Edmond Addington Seton (1895-1974) and his wife Agnes Mary nee King (1898-1975).† Tedís ancestors had a rich and aristocratic history that can be traced back over a millennium on his paternal grandfatherís side.† His grandfather Leonard Miles Cariston Seton (1847-1934) purchased Wellingrove station in the Glen Innes district in the late 1800s.†

Tedís paternal grandmother Eleanor Nellie Seton (1862-1920) was the granddaughter of George Wyndham (1801-1870) and his wife Margaret nee Jay (1803-1870).† The Wyndhams established a vineyard and other farming activities at Dalwood in the Hunter Valley in the late 1820s and later took up further holdings in the Inverell district.† Members of both the Seton and Wyndham families gave notable military service from at least early in the 19th century and up until World War II.† Tedís great-great grandfather Colonel William Carden Seton (1775-1842) commanded the 88th Regiment of Foot, the Connaught Rangers, during some of the major battles of the Peninsular War (in Spain) against the forces of Emperor Napoleon I of France in 1812.† Tedís father served in World War I and Ted saw active service as a machine gunner in New Guinea during World War II.† Many of Tedís other relatives also served during war time.

After serving articles with Frank Burcher and later with Clem Harlen, Ted was registered as an authorised surveyor by the Surveyors Board of Queensland in October 1953.† While under articles Ted was employed by the Survey office of the Queensland Lands Department.† Later he worked as surveyor with the Queensland Main Road Department.†

Around 1955, a year or so after the accidental death of Edna his first wife, Ted went to Scotland.† Here he spent a couple of years on tunnel surveys in the Grampian region with the then North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board.† In the late 1950s Ted returned to Australia.† Afterwards he joined Nat Mapís Melbourne office as a topographic surveyor.† In the late 1950s and early 1960s Ted worked in the field on astronomical determinations for mapping control and on barometric heighting projects.† He also undertook gravimetric surveys in conjunction with staff from the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics and worked on Nat Map spot photography projects.† Later Ted worked on Tellurometer traverse and levelling surveys.

Ted became the senior surveyor in charge of vertical field control for topographic mapping.† Here he supervised contractors that acquired vertical mapping control using an airborne radar-based terrain profiler.† Ted also led the operational implementation of the Johnson Ground Elevation Meter to obtain vertical control from 1964.† Ted also undertook helicopter supported barometric surveys.† Towards the end of his time with Nat Map Ted was also involved with the development of Nat Mapís WREMAPS 1 airborne laser terrain profiler system.

Ted left Nat Map in 1970 and he and his second wife Beryl moved to Brisbane.† Here Ted took up a senior surveyor position with the then Survey Branch of the Department of Interior; later to become the Australian Survey Office.† Ted Seton retired in 1986 and he and Beryl continued to live at Moorooka in inner suburban Brisbane.† Sadly, Ted Seton died in Brisbane from a chronic blood disorder on 7 February 1997.

 

Frank Leahy

Frank was involved with Aerodist from the commencement of field operations in 1963 until he left Nat Nap in 1965 to take up a post at The University of Melbourne.† During his Aerodist field work days Frank was engaged in the ground marking of survey stations in the Bowen Basin of central Queensland and in the Surat Basin of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales and in Aerodist remote station operations.† Back in the Rialto office, Frank was engaged in Aerodist measurement reductions.† He developed the primary Aerodist point-to-point distance reduction software and continued working on the development of this software after he left Nat Map.†

Francis Joseph Leahy was born at Shepparton in the Goulburn Valley of central Victoria in 1938.† In 1956, after completing his secondary education at Marist Brothers Assumption College Kilmore, Frank enrolled in a Bachelor of Surveying degree course in the Faculty of Engineering at The University of Melbourne.†

After graduation Frank spent two years on land title surveys with the Victorian Lands Department.† He was registered as a licensed surveyor by the then Surveyors Board of Victoria in August 1961.† After commencing with Nat Map in 1961, Frank worked in the field on astronomical determinations for position fixing, Tellurometer traversing and barometric heighting and gravimetric observations as well as Aerodist marking and measuring activities and later on heighting projects with the Johnson Ground Elevation Meter.†

After moving to The University of Melbourne in 1965, Frank was engaged in teaching duties and research activities.† Frank was renowned as an outstanding University teacher who had an unfailing ability to demystify the subject matter for his students.† Frank was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree for his work on computer algorithms for geodetic computations.† Professor Leahy went on to become Head of the Department of Surveying from 1980 to 1986 and later became Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.† Frank retired from the University in 2005 and presently lives with his wife Judy in the eastern Melbourne suburb of Mount Waverley.† One of Frankís retirement pursuits has been to further his life-long interest in the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition of 1860-61.

 

Rom Vassil

Rom worked with the Aerodist program in the field between 1965 and 1969.† During the first few years he worked on both measuring and ground marking activities in New South Wales and Queensland.† Back in the Rialto office Rom was engaged in Aerodist data reductions including the ultimately unsuccessful automated chart reading system.† From 1967 Romís Aerodist field work was mainly with helicopter supported ground marking operations in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.†

Romulus Anthony Vassil was born in Sydney in 1930.† Rom was registered as a licensed surveyor by the Surveyors Board of New South Wales in September 1955 and was also registered as a New South Wales mining surveyor.† He was registered as a licensed surveyor by the Surveyors Board of Victoria in August 1974.† Prior to and after his New South Wales registration Rom undertook survey work in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and southern New South Wales.†

In 1956 Rom moved to Ottawa to take up a surveyor position.† For the next decade he worked in Canada as a land surveyor.† In 1956 he was a land surveyor in the Province of Alberta.† In 1960 he became a dominion land surveyor working mainly on the dominion land survey in the Provinces of Alberta and Manitoba and the Yukon Territory.† The dominion land survey was a massive undertaking that commenced in 1871 to subdivide many of the Prairie Provinces into one square mile lots for agriculture and initially to assert sovereignty over the land.† Rom was also a Manitoba land surveyor in 1960 and in 1961 was a land surveyor in the then British Honduras (now Belize).† Rom returned from Canada to take up a surveyor position with Nat Map in late June 1965.†

As well as Aerodist surveys, during 1966 and 1967 Rom was also involved in spot photography operations.† During 1967 and 1968 he was engaged in vertical control field survey work with the Johnson Ground Elevation Meter.† From 1970 Rom was the senior surveyor who commenced field survey operations with the WREMAPS 1 airborne laser terrain profiler which continued in operation until 1979.† During the summer of 1974-75 Rom was a member of an Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition and undertook aerial photography operations over Enderby Land from a base at Knuckey Peaks.† In 1977 he was involved in coastal photography operations and in 1979 undertook map inspection and supplementary photography field work.†

In the late 1970s Rom became the senior surveyor responsible for planning and staff development in Nat Mapís Dandenong office.† During 1980-81 Rom was seconded to the joint Commonwealth/State committee of inquiry into electricity generation and the sharing of power resources in south-east Australia.† The inquiry was headed by Sir David Zeidler and Rom was a senior executive officer (Class 10) in the inquiry secretariat.†

In 1977 Rom commenced a course of study in economics at Monash University and was awarded a Bachelor of Economics degree in 1983 with a major sequence in history and a minor sequence in economic history.† Also in 1983 Rom undertook a major review of the operations of the Division of National Mapping.† Later Rom undertook further post graduate study and was awarded a Graduate Diploma in International Law from the Law School of the Australian National University and a Diploma of Education from Monash University.†

In March 1984, Rom was seconded to Nat Mapís Canberra office where he was appointed supervising surveyor of the then Offshore Boundaries and General Branch.† During his time in Canberra Rom restructured his branch to better focus on its core activities and as a consequence it was renamed the Maritime Boundaries and Scientific Liaison Branch.† Rom retired from Nat Map in February 1987 and returned to Melbourne where he lived at Mount Eliza.† Rom then took up teaching posts over the following decade.† Between 1987 and 1996 Rom was a part-time economics and business studies teacher at the prestigious St Margaretís School at Berwick.† Also from 1987 to 1991 Rom was a part-time senior tutor in economics at The University of Melbourne.† He eventually retired in 1997 and continues to enjoy his retirement living in the south-eastern Melbourne bayside village of Mount Eliza.

 

Con Veenstra

Con commenced working with Aerodist as a field surveyor at Emerald in central Queensland in August 1965 immediately after he joined Nat Map and continued with Aerodist until the end of the 1971 field season.† He was the relieving Aerodist field party leader until 1970 when he became the senior surveyor in charge of Aerodist operations.† During his Aerodist field work Con operated in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.† He worked on the various Queensland offshore surveys and led the major Aerodist Coral Sea survey in October 1971.

Con Veenstra was born in 1930 at Leeuwarden, the capital of The Netherlandsí Friesland province located about 110 kilometres north-east of Amsterdam.† He migrated to Australia with his parents in 1950.† After early employment as a merchant seaman in both Holland and Australia, Con later worked as a draftsman in Victoria.† He was registered as a licensed surveyor by the Surveyors Board of Victoria in June 1962 and spent the next three years as a hydrographic surveyor with the Victorian Public Works Department and the South Australian Department of Harbours and Marine immediately prior to joining Nat Map in August 1965.

After the end of 1971 Aerodist field season Con was seconded to Nat Mapís Canberra office where he worked with Len Turner on establishing and managing the Bathymetric Mapping Branch.† Con was promoted to supervising surveyor in 1973 and became an assistant director in 1976 after Len Turner left Nat Map.†

In early 1980 Con led a Nat Map expedition to the sub-Antarctic Heard Island and McDonald Islands in the Department of Transportís MV Cape Pillar under the command of Captain Gordon Maxwell.† This expedition carried out a bathymetric survey of the Heard-Kerguelen plateau which was essential to establish the international boundary between Australia (Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands) and France (Iles Kerguelen).† The expedition took the opportunity to establish survey and mapping control on Heard Island and the McDonald Islands and also carried out scientific and geological studies.

In October 1981 Con assumed the duties of Director of National Mapping and Chairman of the National Mapping Council and was subsequently appointed to both positions.† As Director, Con was an active member of several national and international bodies, including: Chairman of the Australian Liaison Committee on Remote Sensing by Satellite; departmental representative on the Australian Space Board; President of the Sub-commission for Asia and the Pacific of the International Association of Geodesyís Commission 10 on Continental Networks; and Leader of the Australian Delegation to a United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific.† Con also served for a number of years as an officer with the Royal Australian Navy Reserve.† Here he held the rank of Lieutenant-Commander.

Con left Nat Map and the Commonwealth public service in the latter part of 1987 after Nat Map joined with the Australian Survey Office to form the Surveying and Land Information Group (later renamed AUSLIG).† Con and his wife (now of some 62 years) Anne later moved to Brisbane where Con worked for a while as Director of Strategic Planning with the Queensland Department of Geographic Information.† Con eventually retired in 1991 and a couple of years later he and Anne moved back to Victoria where they settled at the coastal village of Clifton Springs on the Bellarine Peninsula to the south-west of Melbourne.† Here they both continue to enjoy their retirement.

 

 

John Madden (1936-2011)

John Madden was involved with Aerodist operations between 1966 and 1969.† Although mainly engaged in Aerodist ground marking activities during this period, John was occasionally a member of the Aerodist measuring party such as during Queensland offshore operations in 1968 and 1969.†

John Douglas Madden was born on 10 February 1936.† He was registered as a licensed surveyor in 1962 and had worked with the Victorian Lands Department prior to joining Nat Map as a surveyor in September 1964.† During his time with Nat Map John was involved with other topographic mapping activities including the Johnson Ground Elevation Meter.† From the early 1970s John became involved in map examination and later with map compilation.†

Later John was involved in planning and staff development at Nat Mapís Dandenong office.† Between 1977 and 1989 John served as a councillor on the Nunawading City Council in eastern Melbourne; including a term as mayor of the City in 1979-1980.†

From October 1983 John spent a year on secondment with the Victorian Department of Agriculture.† Also during the 1980s, John had several extended periods of leave away from Nat Map to contest State and Federal elections as an Australian Labor Party candidate albeit without success.† During Australiaís bicentennial celebrations in 1988, John was the coordinator of the bonfire beacons that were lit across the country.† John retired from Nat Map as a senior surveyor in 1989 and settled at Palmwoods in Queenslandís Sunshine Coast hinterland.† Sadly John Madden died on the Sunshine Coast on 20 April 2011.† He was 75 years of age.

 

John Manning, PSM

John first worked as a Nat Map field party leader with the Aerodist ground marking party in the Western Australian deserts during the winter months of 1969.† Later that year John worked with the Aerodist measuring party in north-western Queensland and on the Great Barrier Reef.† During 1970 and 1971 John was field party leader for extensive periods during Aerodist measuring operations in the Simpson and Tanami Deserts; in the south-west of the Northern Territory; and in the northern Gibson and Great Sandy Deserts of Western Australia.

John Manning was born in Sydney New South Wales in 1937.† After extensive bushwalking and climbing in his home State, John went to Tasmania in the winter of 1958 to climb the then inaccessible Mount Anne (4,669 feet) under snow in the rugged south-west region.† He stayed on in Tasmania and was articled to Surveyor-General Frank Miles.† After successfully completing the Board of Surveyors examinations, John qualified as a licensed surveyor in 1965 after seven years of service with the Lands Department in Tasmania.†

John joined Nat Map in October 1966 as a surveyor for temporary Antarctic placement for the year 1967.† Instead of returning to Tasmania in 1968 John decided to stay with Nat Map.† For the next decade he undertook extensive mapping field surveys in Antarctica and Australia.† As a member of various Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions, John wintered at Mawson Base in Antarctica during 1967 and undertook aircraft-supported surveys in the summers of 1966-67, 1967-68, 1968-69, 1970-71, 1971-72, 1972-73, 1973-74 and 1975-76.†

During several voyages when returning from Antarctica, John began work on Tellurometer-supported geodetic surveys during stopovers at Macquarie Island.† In the summer of 1974-75, John travelled to Macquarie Island on the station change-over relief voyage.† During the few days he was on Macquarie Island, John extended the survey work onto the high plateau using a Wild T2 theodolite and CA1000 Tellurometers.† He also operated a JMR Doppler satellite receiver to capture the first accurate position of the new geodetic survey at the Macquarie Island base.

In early 1980, John was the senior surveyor on a Nat Map expedition to the sub-Antarctic Australian Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands in the MV Cape Pillar.† Here John worked on surveys with Tellurometers and JMR satellite equipment to obtain mapping control as the basis for a subsequent offshore boundary determination with French Territory of Iles Kerguelen to the north.† He led a shore party that camped for a week during the first ever occupation of McDonald Island, to the north of Heard Island.† Here he undertook ground control surveys for mapping and aerial photography from a helicopter.† John returned to Heard Island for further survey operations with an Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition in 1984 on the MV Ice Bird and undertook further precise global satellite positioning system observations at both ends of the island.† In late 1985, John flew from New Zealand in a Hercules transport aircraft to undertake survey work with United States Antarctic survey team personnel using fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter support in the Trans Antarctic Mountains at the edge of the Australian Antarctic Territory.†

John headed Nat Mapís Antarctic Mapping Section from 1972 to 1977 and held other senior appointments including assistant director in charge of Nat Mapís Dandenong-based topographic mapping activities from 1985 to 1987.† Later he became the Manager of the Geodesy Program initially within the Australian Surveying and Land Information Group and afterwards with Geoscience Australia.† John was chair of the National Geodesy Committee of the Intergovernmental Committee for Surveying and Mapping for 12 years.† Through that committee John was instrumental in deciding and executing the moving of the geodetic datum some 200 metres so that coordinates would be directly compatible with positions obtained from global positioning satellites.†

John was extensively involved as the convenor of international geodesy programs in both Antarctica and the Asia Pacific region.† For his outstanding contribution to global geodesy John was recognised with the award of a Fellow of the prestigious International Association of Geodesy.† He is also a Fellow of the Mapping Sciences Institute of Australia.

John retired in 2004 as the Group Leader of the Earth Monitoring Program at Geoscience Australia.† During his time with Nat Map John took up academic studies and was awarded the degrees of Master of Environmental Science and Master of Business Administration from Monash University.† After retirement he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy also from Monash University.† John was awarded the Polar Medal for his service as the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions surveyor at Mawson base in 1967.† He was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2001 for outstanding public service in the field of Australian geodesy.† Since retiring, John and his wife Beth have lived at Newcastle where Johnís interests include researching and writing on mapping and Antarctica related topics.

 

OJ (Bob) Bobroff (1922-2013)

Bob became the supervising surveyor of the Aerodist program in 1971 when he was promoted to head the recently re-named Control Survey Branch based at Nat Mapís Rialto Building office in Melbourne.† Within the branch at that time Con Veenstra was the senior surveyor of the Airborne Horizontal Control Section (the formal organisational title of the Aerodist program) and Rom Vassil was the senior surveyor of the Laser Terrain Profiler Section that acquired vertical mapping control.† Bob continued as supervising surveyor for nearly a decade after completion of Aerodist field operations in 1974.† Despite spending many years as a field surveyor in private practise and with Nat Mapís Geodetic Survey Branch, Bobís role as supervisor was essentially an office-based administrative one.† However, he managed occasional field visits; to inspect operations.

Orest Jacovlavich Bobroff was born in far south-eastern Russia in 1922.† The village Bob was born in was founded as Nikolskoye in 1866; it was renamed Nikolsk-Ussuriysk in the 1920s, Voroshilov in 1935, and Ussuriysk in 1957.† It is located at a rail junction on the Trans-Siberian Railroad about 80 kilometres north of the sea port of Vladivostok.† Bobís birth certificate was issued by the Saint Sergei Church in Nikolsk-Ussuriysk.† Bobís parents were fleeing the Communist revolution as Bobís father, a Ural Cossack, had been an officer in the Russian Army as well as a forestry surveyor.† Of course, by right of birth Bob too was a Ural Cossack.† The Bobroff family came to Australia in 1925 and settled in Brisbane.† Bob became a naturalised British subject (Australian citizen) in 1930.

Bob served with the 5th Australian Field Survey Company during World War II and was discharged in April 1946 with the rank of Warrant Officer Class II.† As well as working in Queensland Bob saw active service with the Australian 9th Division in Borneo, on Labuan and at Muara.† Prior to joining the Army, Bob was articled to Torlief Hein who was then a staff surveyor with the Queensland Lands Department at Tully; Hein went on to become Queensland Surveyor-General.† After the war Bob tried a year of the Bachelor of Surveying course at the University of Queensland before completing articles with surveyor Allan George James.†

Bob was registered by the Surveyors Board of Queensland as a licensed surveyor in March 1952.† He then practised in Cairns until joining Nat Map in August 1959 as a surveyor grade II within the Geodetic Survey Branch.† In 1960, Bob took over the Geodetic Tellurometer party and went on to become the geodetic Tellurometer man.† He was promoted to senior surveyor in 1962 and carried out extensive geodetic and other precise field surveys until the end of the 1969 field season.† Bob retired from Nat Map as supervising surveyor in 1982.† In 1984 he married his long-time partner Sadie Edmonds and they moved to Buderim in the hinterland of Queenslandís Sunshine Coast.† Despite indifferent health in his later years, Bob and Sadie enjoyed nearly 30 years in retirement.† Sadly, Bob passed away at Buderim in December 2013 at the age of 91 years.

 

Frank Johnston

Frank was an Aerodist measuring field party leader from 1971 to 1973.† He started his Nat Map Aerodist field work in Dubbo in May 1971 under Con Veenstra.† Afterwards Frank worked with Aerodist under Con and John Manning from the Rabbit Flat roadhouse on the Tanami track in the Northern Territory.† Later in 1971 Frank relieved John Manning as the Aerodist field party leader at Christmas Creek in Western Australia.† Afterwards Frank led Aerodist operations from Halls Creek, Balgo Mission and Camooweal in western Queensland.† Later that year, Frank was involved in Aerodist measuring operations in the Coral Sea from bases at Cairns, Cooktown and Horn Island.†

During 1972, Frank spent several months as the Aerodist field party leader in Western Australia where he was relieved from time-to-time by Peter Langhorne.† In 1972, Frank ran the Aerodist measuring operations on the Nullarbor Plain and in the Gibson, Little Sandy and Great Sandy Deserts from bases at Caiguna, Rawlinna, Kalgoorlie, Carnegie homestead, Wiluna, Balfour Downs homestead and Kidson Field airstrip.† In the winter of 1973, Frank led Aerodist measuring operations in western Victoria and southern New South Wales from bases at Mildura, Swan Hill and Horsham.† In late September 1973, Frank relieved Peter Langhorne as field party leader at Esperance where he led Aerodist measuring and Tellurometer traversing operations on offshore islands in the Archipelago of the Recherche east of the 123 degrees east meridian.† Back in the Rialto office Frank managed Aerodist data reductions and field planning and preparation.

Frank Leslie Johnston was born at Melbourne in 1933.† Frank gained a Bachelor of Surveying degree from The University of Melbourne in 1955.† He was later registered as a licensed surveyor both in New South Wales and in Victoria.† In 1956 Frank commenced work with the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority based at Cooma.† In the winter months, snow and adverse weather conditions slowed down survey operations in the Snowy Mountains.† Thus Frank was sometimes loaned to National Mapping to undertake precise astronomical observations at geodetic survey stations across Australia.† For example in the winter of 1960 Frank undertook La Place astronomical observations in western New South Wales with fellow Snowy Mountains surveyor Klaus Leppert who went on to have a successful career with Nat Map.

Frank left the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority in late 1966 and later that year joined LW Wordsworth and Associates, consulting surveyors based at Young in New South Wales.† Here he continued to do precise astro observations for geoid profiles under contract with National Mapping until the end of 1970.† Frank eventually joined Nat Map as a staff surveyor in April 1971.† In early 1974, Frank left Nat Map to take up a teaching post at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology where he remained until retiring in 1997.† Today Frank and his wife Wendy continue to live in the Melbourne suburb of Doncaster East.† However, Frank has not slowed down in retirement as his interests still include regular bush walking in various terrains including outback Australia.

 

 

Peter Langhorne

Peter was the senior surveyor in charge of the Airborne Horizontal Control Section from April 1972 until after the end of Aerodist measuring operations in November 1974.† During this period, Peter was the Aerodist field party leader for extended periods of field duty in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.† With relief party leader Frank Johnston, Peter ran the successful 1972 field season when some 517 Aerodist lines were measured.† Peter measured the last Aerodist line from Derby on 2 November 1974.† In September 1973, Peter measured Nat Mapís only successful Aerodist photo trilaterations that fixed the positions of eight offshore features on the north-west coast of Western Australia.

Peter Handley Langhorne was born in Victoria in 1944.† After attending secondary school in Geelong, he successfully completed tertiary studies in surveying at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.† Peter was registered as a licensed surveyor by the then Surveyors Board of Victoria in December 1965.† He joined Nat Mapís then Melbourne-based Geodetic Survey Branch in 1966 and spent three field seasons on second order traversing in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia as well as undertaking some Aerodist ground marking in the Northern Territory.† Peter transferred to Nat Mapís Canberra office after the end of the 1968 field season but returned to the Geodetic Branch in 1969 to work on the high precision traverse from Thursday Island to Cairns and then on to Townville.† After the 1969 field season Peter left Nat Map to further his surveying experience and spent some time in Papua New Guinea before returning to Nat Map in 1972.† After Aerodist operations were complete Peter worked on developing a high altitude aerial photography program using a Gates Learjet platform.

Around 1977 he took up an executive surveyor position in Nat Mapís Canberra office.† Peter left Nat Map in 1979 to take up an executive position in the central office of the Department of Natural Resources.† Peter went on to complete post graduate studies in administration and to hold a number of senior executive positions in the Commonwealth public service where he dealt with several critical issues including management reviews of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service as well as being involved in resolving an export meat substitution issue.† In 1992 Peter joined the Australian Trade Commission as an Executive General Manager and was appointed as Deputy Managing Director in 1996.

Afterwards, Peter joined the office of Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson as Chief of Staff.† When John Anderson retired in July 2005, Peter became Senior Advisor to the Senate Leader and he then replaced Tony Nutt as Principal Private Secretary to Prime Minister John Howard and held that position until John Howard left office in December 2007.† Peter continues to live in the national capital where he is a member of the boards of John McEwen House Pty Ltd and the Page Research Centre.

Other Surveyors

Other surveyors also worked with the Aerodist measuring field party over the years; generally in either the centre party or helicopter support party.

Centre Party: Max Rubeli, Alf Klerkx, Kevin Lawlor, Graham McNamara, George Eustice, Norm Edwards, Simon Cowling, Andrew Turk, Andrew Greenall, Andrew Dyson, and Ian Muir.

Helicopter Support Party: Simon Cowling, Paul Wise, Andrew Dyson, Andrew Greenall, and Ian Muir.

 

The Electronics Technicians

 

Kevin Burke

Kevin was Nat Mapís initial Aerodist field technician during the 1963, 1964 and 1965 field seasons; albeit constrained by a lack of electronics testing equipment.† His Aerodist field days were spent in New South Wales and Queensland.

Kevin Richard Burke was born at the inner Melbourne suburb of Carlton in 1939 and grew up in the northern suburb of Preston.† One of Kevinís siblings was older brother Ed who worked with Nat Map from 1961 to 1989.† Kevin Burke joined National Mapping as a field assistant on 26 March 1962 after completing an apprenticeship in radio and television with Electronics Industries Ltd and spending a year with the Weapons Research Establishment at Woomera in South Australia.† At WRE, Kevin was a radio technician whose responsibilities included maintaining the transmitters for the radio communication station VL5BW.†

Kevin spent four field seasons with National Mapping where most of his time was with the then Topographic Survey Branch including Aerodist measuring operations.† Kevinís other field survey activities included spot photography in the Gulf of Carpentaria region with Ted Seton in 1962.†

Also in 1962 Kevin worked with Ted Seton and others on helicopter supported astronomical observations and barometric heighting in the west of South Australia.† Kevin undertook further helicopter supported astro and barometric heighting work in Western Australia with Len Turner and others in 1964.† He was promoted to technical officer grade 1 prior to leaving Nat Map on 1 December 1965.†

Kevin then joined the Army Design Establishment at Maribyrnong and eventually became a senior technical officer grade 1 in the Department of Defence.† Kevin left there in 1975 and moved to New Zealand where he ran a town-based truck carrying operation in Wellington for a few years.† Kevin has been happily settled on New Zealandís Great Barrier Island (north-east of Auckland) since late 1979.† Here Kevin and his wife Gwen raised their daughters Toni and Annette and continue to run the local newspaper; the Barrier Bulletin.

 

 

John Ely

John worked with the Aerodist measuring program in the field from 1966 to 1974.† John started in Aerodist as a field assistant but is best remembered as a leading electronics technician and master operator.† He worked with the Aerodist measuring party in most field seasons during the above period; in New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.† John worked on all Aerodist offshore measuring surveys in Queensland (1966, 1968, 1969 and 1971) as well as on the offshore survey from Onslow and Port Hedland in Western Australia in 1973.

John Herbert Ely was born at the inner Melbourne suburb of Richmond in 1939 and grew up in the nearby suburb of Northcote.† In 1955 John commenced an apprenticeship course as a radio and television technician at the then Royal Melbourne Technical College.† Here John studied under renowned College principal Ronald Reay MacKay (1905-1963) who was previously the head of the Collegeís Radio School.† John graduated as a radio technician at the end of 1959; about the time the College was renamed the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.† Between 1960 and 1964 John was engaged as a technician on television servicing and repair work in Melbourne.† In 1964 John joined the then Trans Australian Airlines as a technician working mainly on weather radar.

Around May 1965 John joined Nat Mapís Geodetic Survey Branch as a field assistant.† Here he was engaged in first order geodetic traversing in Western Australia and South Australia; namely the Gary Junction to Young Range traverse and the Neale Junction to Voakes Hill traverse.† Later that year John worked on the beaconing of and the traverse connection to the Johnston geodetic station in the southern Northern Territory.† In early 1968, John left Nat Map for a few months but resumed duty in October 1968.† In 1970 John worked with Rom Vassil for some months on the WREMAPS1 laser terrain profiler in Adelaide.† Here John was involved in acceptance testing, initial aircraft installation, operational testing and training on the systemís operation and maintenance procedures.† Nat Map operated the WREMAPS1 laser system until 1979 and John was involved from time-to-time with laser terrain profiler field operations and maintenance.† During the summer of 1970-71 John carried out survey operations in the Prince Charles Mountains as a member of an Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition.†

From around 1974, John headed Nat Mapís electronics technical support section as a senior technical officer.† In 1976 John was involved with the initial high altitude aerial photography program using a Wild RC10 aerial survey camera and a Gates Learjet platform.† During the 1970s and 1980s John and his fellow technicians were involved in the maintenance, servicing and repair of various items of technical equipment in the Dandenong office.† This equipment included: JMR Doppler satellite receivers, the Digital PDP 1140 computer that ran Nat Mapís digital mapping system; numerous computer workstations, photographics laboratory equipment, the Wild RC10 aerial survey camera; and the Hilger and Watts goniometer used for aerial survey camera calibrations.†

Between 1979 and 1985 John undertook a course of part-time study in psychology and biology at Monash University for which he was awarded the degree of Bachelor of Arts.† In the late 1980s John was involved with the Australian Surveying and Land Information Groupís PRAM III-based Laser Airborne Profiling System.† This involvement included initial testing and aircraft installation.† John also worked with this laser system in the field; including a period of field duty in 1989 on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi (formerly Celebes).† John left AUSLIG in 1992.† He continues to live in rural Tynong North to the east of Melbourne with his wife of some 44 years Carol who is a talented dancer and professional librarian.

 

Mick Skinner (1934-1987)

Mick was an electronics technician (technical officer engineering) who worked with Nat Mapís Aerodist operations from 1966 until the end of the 1973 field season.† He operated in the field with Aerodist in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.† Mick also worked on Aerodist offshore surveys over the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea in the late 1960s and early 1970s and in the Archipelago of the Recherche in 1973.† Mick was instrumental in establishing an electronics workshop in the Rialto office and a mobile field workshop to service and overhaul the Aerodist system and ancillary equipment.

John Michael Skinner was born at Mount Barker in Western Australia in 1934.† Prior to joining Nat Map in April 1966, he had served for some 15 years in the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.† Mick started his Army career as an apprentice at the tender age of 14 years and after qualifying as a telecommunications mechanic rose to the rank of Warrant Officer.†

Towards the end of his Army service Mick worked on the Royal Australian Survey Corps Aerodist system in Papua New Guinea.† He then worked briefly with D R Johnston (Service) Proprietary Limited, at one time the Australian service agent for Aerodist and Tellurometers.

In the summer of 1971-72, Mick was a member of an Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition.† During this expedition Mick carried out theodolite and Tellurometer surveys in the southern Prince Charles Mountains of Mac Robertson Land.† Here he worked mainly with glaciologist Ian Allison from a base at Mount Cresswell.† From 1974, Mick worked with Nat Mapís Bathymetric Mapping Branch based from Canberra.† Between October 1979 and May 1980 Mick took leave from Nat Map to work on a United States Aid survey project in the West African countries of Senegal, Mali and Mauritania.† Here Mick was the projectís electronics engineer and logistics chief.† Based mainly from Dakar, Mick worked with former Nat Mapper George Williams who was the projectís director.†

Mick again took leave from Nat Map in 1985 to work in partnership with former Aerodist measuring aircraft pilot Arthur Johnson and others to establish a marine vessel repair facility at Townsville.† Sadly, however, in mid-1985 Mick was diagnosed with cancer and returned to Canberra for treatment.† When his health deteriorated further Mick was superannuated out of the Commonwealth public service.† Sadly, Mick Skinner died at Royal Canberra Hospital on 25 April 1987; he was 52 years of age.

 

Terry Mulholland (1935-2013)

Terry was an electronics technician who worked on the Aerodist system in the field and in the Rialto Building workshop from 1969 to 1974.† Terryís Aerodist field work took him to all the mainland States except South Australia.

Terrence Gerald Mulholland was born at Maffra in eastern Victoria in 1935.† Terry joined Nat Map in early 1967 as a technical officer (engineering) after some 16 years with the Royal Australian Air Force where he qualified as an instrument fitter and electronics technician.† Initially he worked on the Johnson Ground Elevation Meter under surveyors Ted Seton and Rom Vassil.† As well as Aerodist, Terry worked on the WREMAPS 1 laser terrain profiler and various other items of electronic and photographic equipment in the field and in the office workshop during the 1970s.†

During the summer of 1973-74 Terry flew high altitude block photography over the northern Prince Charles Mountains as a member of an Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition.† Terry had a keen interest in flying and later qualified as a commercial pilot.† In 1978 he became the Chief Pilot of Nat Mapís small aviation section and held that position until he left Nat Map in October 1988.† Over the following 15 years Terry and his wife Margaret operated aviation businesses in Tasmania.† Sadly, Terry Mulholland passed away at Kyabram, Victoria in June 2013; he was 77 years of age.

 

 

 

Oz Ertok

Oz worked with Aerodist as an electronics technician (technical officer engineering) both in the field and in the Rialto Building workshop from 1971 to 1974.† He started with the Aerodist measuring party at Dubbo in May 1971 and worked with that party at Rabbit Flat in the Northern Territory and later at Christmas Creek, Balgo Mission and Halls Creek in Western Australia.† (Oz gained his first-ever driver licence on 18 August 1971 at the Halls Creek police station.)† Later in 1971 Oz was with the Aerodist field party at Camooweal in western Queensland.† During Aerodist measuring operations over the Coral Sea in October 1971 Oz was stationed for some time at Maer Island some 200 kilometres north-east of Cape York.† (Maer Island was the home of Eddie Mabo whose successful albeit posthumous decade-long High Court case led to the Courtís decision in 1992 that overturned the doctrine of terra nullus and allowed the granting of indigenous land rights in Australia.)

In 1972, Oz continued working with the Aerodist measuring party from Kalgoorlie, Laverton, Featherstonhaugh, Carnegie homestead, Wiluna, Balfour Downs homestead, Kidson Field, Blyth airstrip and Forrest in Western Australia.† In 1973, Oz worked with Aerodist in Victoria and New South Wales and later from Onslow and Esperance in Western Australia.†

In 1974, the final year of Aerodist field operations, Oz worked from Wyndham, Halls Creek and Derby in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.† Also in 1974, Oz conducted tests with a JMR Doppler satellite receiver at survey control station R 110 (Savage Hill) on Bigge Island in the Bonaparte Archipelago north-east of Derby

Ozcan Ertok was born at Konya in Turkey in 1932.† Konya is today a city of over a million people located in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey about 260 kilometres south of the capital Ankara.† Konya has a rich history with the region said to date from around 3,000 BC.† In medieval times Konya was the capital of the Sultanate of Rum.† Oz undertook his primary and secondary school education in Ankara and later gained a Diploma in Electrics.† He joined the Turkish Air Force as a civilian radar technician in 1951 and served there for some nine and a half years.† While with the Air Force Oz undertook further study and gained Diplomas in Radio (Wireless) Electronics and Radar Electronics in 1953 and 1955 respectively.†

In 1957 and 1962 Oz successfully completed further advanced courses of study in Italy where he firstly gained a Diploma in Advanced Radar Technology and later a Diploma in Nuclear Electronics.† Between 1960 and 1970 Oz worked with the Turkish Atomic Energy Commission where he was a nuclear electronics expert at the Nuclear Research Centre in Ankara.

Oz immigrated to Australia in November 1970 and was initially accommodated at the Balgownie migrant workersí hostel located at Fairy Meadow near Wollongong.† About a month later Oz moved to Melbourne where he was accommodated at the Midway migrant hostel at Maribyrnong.† Oz joined Nat Map in late January 1971 after being interviewed by Syd Kirkby.† After his time with Aerodist, Oz worked in the field with Nat Mapís WREMAPS 1 laser terrain profiler until the end of 1979.† Oz also worked in the Dandenong office on various items of electronic and photographic equipment including the Digital PDP 1140 computer that supported the digital mapping system.† In 1983, Oz worked with Nat Mapís Canberra based Bathymetric Mapping Branch where he undertook two tours of sea-borne duty on the MV Cape Pillar.† Ozís first tour was from late January to 10 March 1983 in the Investigator Group off Port Lincoln and the Nuyts Archipelago off Ceduna in South Australia.† The second tour was from 21 April to 1 June 1983 in the Great Australian Bight off the Nullarbor Cliffs.

During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s Oz spent time in Antarctica.† In the summer of 1974-75 Oz and surveyor Rom Vassil were members of an Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition.† Here Oz was the Wild RC9 aerial survey camera operator during aerial photography operations over Enderby Land from a base at Knuckey Peaks.† During the following summer of 1975-76 Oz returned to Enderby Land where he continued to undertake aerial photography operations from Mount King base with Nat Map surveyor Mike Morgan.

In 1984, Oz wintered at Mawson while engaged directly by the Antarctic Division on temporary release from Nat Map.† During this expedition he installed the first of the Inmarsat satellite communications systems in Antarctica.† In 1986, Oz wintered at Macquarie Island while again engaged directly by the Antarctic Division to install an Inmarsat communications system and to fulfil the role of communications officer.

Oz retired from Nat Map in 1991 when aged around 60 years.† But he had not seen enough of Antarctica, so during 1991-92 Oz wintered with other Greenpeace expeditioners at the Greenpeace World Park base at Cape Evans on Ross Island.† Maintaining an Inmarsat satellite system that provided both telex and telephone systems was one of Ozís primary roles.† He also installed solar panels and a wind generator as well as batteries for solar and wind energy storage.† The Cape Evans base had been established around 1985 and was dismantled at the end of Ozís expedition.

In 1995, Oz settled at Noosaville on Queensland Sunshine Coast where he designed and built his spacious and comfortable home.† But Oz hasnít fully retired yet; he continues to travel overseas including visits to Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Dubai, China, Canada, Russia, and the Arctic North-West Passage as well returning to outback Australia where he recently revisited Rabbit Flat.† Oz also enjoys his daily bicycle rides and swimming in the sea at Noosa.

Other Electronics Technicians

Other Nat Map electronic technicians to work with the Aerodist measuring field party over the years included: Bob Lucas (1969-1970), and trainee electronics technicians (technical officer-engineering) Andrew Christie (1973-1974) and Donald Sutherland (1973).

The Technical Officers

 

 

Carl McMaster

Carl was the only Nat Mapper to maintain hands-on involvement with Aerodist from its inception until the completion of data reductions and computations in 1976; a couple of years after the end of Aerodist field measuring operations in November 1974.† Carlís field involvement with Aerodist started in the Bowen Basin of Queensland in 1963; where he was engaged in both ground marking and measuring operations.† Over the next decade Carl continued to be involved in Aerodist marking and measuring activities across Australia including as both a remote and a master operator.† Back in the office Carl had the leading hands-on role in Aerodist data reductions from chart breaking to computation of final coordinates for the control stations established.

Carl McMaster was born in 1941 at Wonthaggi then a coastal coal mining town in Victoriaís South Gippsland dairy farming region.† He joined Nat Map in August 1962 as a technical assistant after spending about four years under articles with Dandenong surveyor Bryan Hill.† Prior to Aerodist operations commencing, Carl worked with Nat Map on Tellurometer traversing and other topographic mapping activities.† By the end of the Aerodist era Carl was a senior technical officer.†

Carl eventually completed his surveying subjects and was registered by the Surveyors Board of Victoria as a licensed surveyor in August 1975.† During the summer of 1975-76 Carl surveyed in Enderby Land from Mount King base as a member of an Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition.† After Nat Map shifted from the Rialto Building to Ellery House Dandenong in early 1977, Carl was a surveyor jointly managing one of the cartography teams.† He still did occasional field trips for map inspection or aerial photography work.

Carl was posted to Nat Mapís Canberra office as the executive officer in mid-1985 albeit on a temporary basis.† In 1986, Carl was appointed as deputy-director of the Australian Landsat Station (within Nat Map) under Don Gray.† After Don Gray retired in 1989, Carl headed (as manager) the then Australian Centre for Remote Sensing within the Australian Surveying and Land Information Group.† Carl left ACRES and some 32 years of Commonwealth public service at the end of 1993.† He then moved to Sydney to head Spot Imaging Services, the Australia-based subsidiary of the French remote sensing satellite operator Spot Image.† After Carl retired in 2001, he and Trish (his wife of some 45 years now) moved to Maroochydore on Queenslandís Sunshine Coast.† Here Carl and Trish enjoy their golf days and occasional overseas travel.

 

Norm Hawker (1926-1995)

Uncle Norm as he was affectionately known worked with the Aerodist measuring party from 1966 to 1971 as a technical officer.† He worked with Aerodist in Queensland, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.† For much of his time in the field Norm ran the Aerodist helicopter support party and was highly valued by all field staff for his kindly and caring manner, his wise advice and his finger on the pulse operating style.†

Normís contributions to Aerodist operations were no less valuable back in the office.† Here Norm usually managed the servicing, repair and purchasing of equipment and supplies and the extensive planning and preparation needed for future Aerodist field operations.

Norman Keith Hawker was born at the south-eastern Melbourne suburb of Carnegie in 1926.† After working briefly as a wool classerís assistant Norm joined the Second Australian Imperial Force at age 18 years and spent a year with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan prior to discharge at age 20 years in early 1947.† Norm joined Nat Map in 1954 and spent three field seasons on geodetic survey work mostly with the early Geodimeter under surveyor Keith Waller.† Norm left Nat Map after the 1956 field season but returned in September 1964.† Here he spent a couple of years working with the Johnson Ground Elevation Meter under surveyors Ted Seton and John Madden; mainly in northern Victoria, the Riverina region of New South Wales and central and northern Queensland.

After the 1971 Aerodist field season Norm worked in Nat Mapís Melbourne and Dandenong offices where he went on to head the Survey and Map Records Section as a senior technical officer.† Norm retired from Nat Map in late 1979.† He spent much of his post-retirement period living at Castlemaine where he was good friends with former Nat Mapper Ian Ogilvie and his wife Lyn and their daughters.† Sadly Norm Hawker died at Ballarat Base Hospital in July 1995; he was 69 years of age.

 

Ed Burke

Ed worked with Nat Mapís Aerodist program from 1966 to 1970.† He commenced Aerodist operations as a technical assistant in New South Wales and later worked in Queensland and the Northern Territory up to and during the 1970 field season.† Ed was also involved with Aerodist surveys over the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea between 1966 and 1969.† Initially an Aerodist remote operator, Ed later became a relief master operator.† He was one of very few people to work with Nat Map in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Antarctica.

Edward Henry Burke was born at Melbourne in 1931; he is the older brother of another Nat Mapper, electronics technician Kevin Burke (Nat Map 1962-65).† Edís early trade was an aircraft sheet metal worker where he completed a 5-year apprenticeship at the Government Aircraft Factory at Fishermanís Bend.† But after working for some years in his trade Ed was looking for work that would take him out of the workshop.† Initially he successfully tried his hand as a truck driver based in north-eastern Victoria.† But after a while at this employment Ed needed to hone his trade skills and while working in the general sheet metal industry he met fellow employee Errol Maruff whose brother, Rod, worked with National Mapping.† The attraction of outback work saw Ed join Nat Mapís then Geodetic Survey Branch as a field assistant in May 1961.

Ed worked on geodetic surveys in Australia and the then Territory of Papua over five field seasons until the end of 1965.† In 1961 he worked on the Mt Tietkens to Well 35 traverse in Western Australia and on the Mt Kintore to Mabel Creek traverse in South Australia.† On these traverses Ed worked under Nat Map surveyor OJ Bob Bobroff from whom he gained a solid grounding in Tellurometer operation.† The following year Ed was a designated Tellurometer operator on the Winton to Broken Hill traverse.† In early 1963 Ed successfully undertook a basic survey course with fellow Nat Mapper Bob Goldsworthy (1939-1985).† The course was held at the School of Military Survey at Balcombe on the Mornington Peninsula.†

Later in 1963, Ed was a member of the Nat Map survey field party under HA (Bill) Johnson that carried out a triangulation and Tellurometer survey in the highlands of the Territory of Papua.† Ed was again involved on that survey the following year.† Also in 1964 Ed worked on the Charleville to Mount Howitt survey traverse in Queensland.†

In early 1965 Ed attended a training course in Canberra run by Nat Mapís Tony Bomford on observation techniques for longitude using the Almucantar method and observations for latitude using the circum-meridian method.† Later that year Ed was an observer on first order traverses from Gary Junction to Young Range in Western Australia and from Neale Junction in that State to Voakes Hill in South Australia.† Towards the end of 1965, Ed worked on the beaconing of and the traverse connection to the Johnston Geodetic Station near Kulgera in the southern Northern Territory.† During the summer of 1969-1970, Ed was a member of an Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition where he surveyed in the Prince Charles Mountains from a base at Moore Pyramid.† Ed did further survey work in the Prince Charles Mountains during the summer of 1971-1972 when he was an expeditioner based at Mount Cresswell and worked at Mt Ruker and the southern Prince Charles Mountains.

Throughout his Nat Map career Ed was also engaged in aerial photography activities.† As well as spot photography during Aerodist operations, Edís aerial photography activities included a spot photography operation from Mackay with Rom Vassil in 1967.† Ed later worked as a line navigator during Nat Mapís high altitude aerial photography program using a Learjet platform in the late 1970s and early 1980s.† In 1977, Ed was a Wild RC9 aerial survey camera operator during coastal photography operations between Broome and Darwin.† During the 1980s, Ed also carried out block aerial photography operations in Nat Mapís Cessna 421C aircraft VH-DRB.†

Ed retired from Nat Map as a senior technical officer in 1989 after some 28 years of dedicated service.† Soon afterwards he moved to Queenslandís Sunshine Coast hinterland.† Today Ed lives at the hinterland village of Flaxton with his wife Nicolette who had her own successful career as a school librarian.

Other Technical Officers

Other Nat Map technical officers to work with the Aerodist measuring field party over the years included: Richard Carter, Terry Douglas, Paul McCormack, and Bob Goldsworthy.† From 1972 to 1974 and number of trainee technical officers also worked with the Aerodist measuring field party; these officers included: Ross Stapleton, Bob Smith, Max Anderson, Ron Williams, John Guilfoyle, John Corcoran, Bill Stuchbery, Dave Dzur, Ken Brown, Steve Pinwill and Barry Wright.

Technical Assistants and Field Assistants

During the twelve years of Aerodist measuring field operations a large number of technical assistants and field assistants were involved in field survey activities.† Usually technical assistants were the designated Aerodist remote unit operators but field assistants often operated remote units by themselves without the presence of technical assistants.† Such common sense approaches to personnel use that provided operational flexibility generally typified Aerodist field activities.

Many technical assistants and field assistants stayed with Nat Map for one, two or three field seasons and then left to pursue other employment opportunities.† Other such staff stayed with Nat Map for many years and often progressively rose in employment status within the organisation.†

The following list was compiled from scant formal records but mainly from the personal diary entries and from the memories of Nat Mappers involved in Aerodist operations.† While available (albeit limited) cross-checking opportunities were taken when compiling this list, readers are cautioned that the primary source, Nat Mappersí memories, was by no means infallible.†

To any Nat Mappers inadvertently left off the list please firstly accept our apologies and secondly please contact us so the list can be rectified.

Technical assistants and field assistants who worked with the Aerodist measuring program included:

Alan Osborne, Terry Douglas, Andy Lukas, Brian Daenke, Jacques de Stefani, John Colquhoun, Russell Clarke, Don Locke, Neil Fenton, John Gray, Des Young, Kevin Moody, Terry Larkin, Kevin Banner, Graeme Harris, Ray Crane, Kevin Snell, Murray Porteous, Phil Welling, George Jennings, Bill Bannerman, Ron Francis, Lachlan Wilson, Gavin Chambers, John Doherty, Bill Yaxley, John Nolton, Russell Tappy, Lachlan Ely, Alan Mould, Colin Cheary, John Nicholson, Brendan Kennedy, Brian Mahoney, John Sheridan, Hans Delange, Lawrie OíConnor, Kevin Arnold, Ian Rushton, Ted Rollo, Ken Manypenny, Ian Ogilvie, Bernard Morell, Norm Hubbard, Mike OíDea, Derek Hatley, Dennis Jones, Alan Neal, Wayne Mein, George Black, Scott Crossley, Ian Campbell, Ragnar Berg, Graeme Lawrence, Michael Lloyd, Laurie McLean, Peter Bach, Neville Stonehouse, Grahame Arnold, Frank Ayers, Brian Shaddick, Peter Blake, Ted Graham, Roy Turner, Eddie Ainscow, Peter Salkowski, Bill Forster, Reg Kearns, Gary Burriss, Rod OíBrien, Dave Abreu, Peter Danne, Hayden Reynolds, Noel Goldsworthy, Tony Laidlaw, David Marsh, Michael Barker, David Beasley.

Chart Breaking Team

The following Nat Map personnel were engaged on Aerodist chart breaking activities in the field at Emerald, Queensland in 1965 only:

Bob Foster, Alan Chaiken, Des Young, Kevin Moody, Terry Larkin.

 

 

Part 3-The People at Work: Aerodist Field Seasons 1963 to 1974

 

Chapter 5-1963: The First Aerodist Field Season

During 1963 Aerodist measuring operations in Block 6 some 66 lines were measured and the positions of 17 control stations were fixed.† A number of spot photographs of control stations were also captured.†

1963 Aerodist Measuring and Related Activities in Block 6 in Queensland

The initial field survey deployment of National Mappingís Aerodist system occurred in the second part of 1963.† An unsuccessful attempt to start Aerodist measuring was firstly made at Dalby on Queenslandís Darling Downs.† Later, initial measuring operations were carried out in the Gayndah-Mundubbera-Eidsvold area of the Bowen Basin in central Queensland.† These measuring operations ran for a period of six weeks.† Senior surveyor Len Turner led this initial measuring operation with surveyor Syd Kirkby as second-in-charge.†

For the 1963 field season, the two channel Aerodist master system was mounted in a Bell 47J-2A Ranger helicopter (VH-INM) chartered from the Helicopter Division of Ansett-ANA in Melbourne.† The pilots of helicopters VH-INM and VH-INZ during the 1963 and 1964 Aerodist field seasons included: Darcy Newell, Phil Clay and Andy Pryde.

During the 1963 field season, survey control station reconnaissance and marking was carried out in conjunction with measuring party activities; some 27 Aerodist stations were established.† Frank Leahy recalled leaving Melbourne with Kevin Burke to start field survey work.† Frank later met up with Syd Kirkbyís field party in New South Wales.† Here Frank was joined by Carl McMaster and Andy Lukas from Sydís field party and with that group Frank commenced station marking activities between Roma and Bowen.†

When the Aerodist measuring operations commenced, Carl McMaster moved into the measuring party.† Frank Leahy and Andy Lukas continued on with station marking activities.† As the Aerodist field party was measuring the last few lines of the 1963 field season; the station marking was only a day of so ahead of the measuring.†

The pressure to keep in front with the marking was such that Frank Leahy was giving access instructions over the high frequency radio.† He was also leaving hand-drawn survey control station access diagrams to be picked up by measuring party members from bottles tied to easily identified gate posts.† Station marking in 1963 finished in the Springsure-Rolleston area.

During 1963, 17 survey stations were coordinated in Block 6.† However, Aerodist survey control extension work in later years including in 1966 resulted in a total of 37 stations eventually being coordinated in Block 6.

Proposed Helicopter Azimuths

During the 1963 Aerodist measuring field season there was a proposal to add azimuths to the Aerodist network.† To this end it was intended to set up a theodolite when trigonometrical survey stations were being occupied.† The theodolite was to be used to continually track the helicopter as the line crossing was being measured by the Aerodist system.† Azimuth was to be determined by reading the angle from another distant trig station to the helicopter at the line crossing point.

Nat Map field surveyors familiar with the forthcoming Aerodist operation counselled against the proposal on practicality grounds.† This advice was ignored and the field party was promptly directed from the office to get on with the azimuth trial.† One of the practical difficulties was the complexity of synchronising the theodolite angle reading with the Aerodist recording chart.

The intention was for the Aerodist master operator to note and mark the recording chart at the instant the azimuth was read.† This event would be about the same time as the theodolite observer was to be instructed via the high frequency radio link to read and record the azimuth angle to the helicopter.† This procedure had the considerable potential to introduce inaccuracies due to communication lags and related issues.

The trig station Staircase was selected for the initial test site and a longish Aerodist line from that station was chosen for the trial.† The Staircase trig was in the Staircase Range between Springsure and Rolleston.† It was at the southern end of a 360 kilometres long second order Tellurometer traverse to Mt William; see Image 19 below.

Surveyor Frank Leahy drew the short straw and was the azimuth observer at Staircase.† His difficulty in fulfilling this task was fairly fundamental.† He couldnít sight the helicopter in the telescope of the theodolite when it started the first line crossing at least 50 kilometres distant from Staircase.† In the telescope, the helicopter would have been only a faint spec somewhere in the sky.†

Image 19: Helicopter VH-INM at Staircase survey station in 1963 about the time of the helicopter azimuth trial (Jacques de Stefani image)

 

During the following half hour or so the helicopter was directed to move closer and closer to Staircase.† The helicopter was within about 15 kilometres of Staircase before it was sighted in the theodolite telescope.† By then the Aerodist measuring signal from the remote unit at the other end of the line began to drop out due to the excessive distance.† The helicopter had to keep getting to a higher altitude in attempts re-establish the Aerodist signal.† A report was prepared on the Staircase trial and fortunately the Aerodist field party heard nothing further about helicopter azimuths.†

1963 Aerodist Marking and Measuring Party Members included:

Len Turner

Syd Kirkby

Frank Leahy

Kevin Burke

Carl McMaster

Neil Fenton

Andy Lukas

Don Locke

Alan Osborne

John Colquhoun

Jacques de Stefani

Terry Douglas

Brian Daenke

Kevin Banner

Chapter 6-1964 Field Season: Success at Last

During 1964 Aerodist measuring operations in Block 5 and Block 6 extension some 110 lines were measured and the positions of 18 control stations were fixed.† A number of spot photographs of control stations were also captured.†

1964 Aerodist Marking and Related Activities in Block 5 and Block 6 (Extension) in Queensland and New South Wales

For the 1964 Aerodist field season, station marking was again carried out in conjunction with measuring party activities.† Between 15 March and 19 April 1964 station marking in preparation for Aerodist measuring operations was undertaken in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales.† Areas in Queensland where this station marking occurred included the vicinities of Goondiwindi, Dalby, Dirranbandi, Moonie, St George, Condamine, Roma, Mitchell, Charleville and Cunnamulla.† Areas in New South Wales where this station marking was undertaken included Bourke, Warren and Coonamble.† Some 15 Aerodist survey control stations were established.

At the conclusion of this station marking activity, the field party members regrouped at Dalby between 20 April and 12 May 1964.† Here they were engaged in the ultimately unsuccessful testing of the Aerodist measuring equipment.† During the period 13-19 May 1964 the field party members were engaged on building beacons on a Tellurometer traverse in the Emerald area of central Queensland.† The field party again returned to Dalby for further unsuccessful Aerodist testing during 20-28 May 1964.

Between 29 May and 3 July 1964, the field party was engaged in Tellurometer traversing in the Charters Towers, Clermont and Emerald area.† On 5 July 1964 the field party regrouped at Bourke in New South Wales where they rendezvoused with Len Turner to recommence Aerodist measuring activities.† Len returned to Melbourne a few days later.

1964 Aerodist Measuring Activities in Block 5 and Block 6 (Extension) in Queensland and New South Wales

For the 1964 field season a third (White channel) Aerodist master unit was test-installed in the helicopter during March 1964 but was later found to be operationally unreliable.† The Aerodist master units were installed in helicopter VH-INZ on 27 April 1964.† The measuring season in the Surat Basin started at Dalby with test flights on 28 April 1964. Len Turner was the initial Aerodist field party leader; he was later relieved as field party leader by Syd Kirkby.

As mentioned in the previous section, throughout late April and into May attempts to measure Aerodist lines were unsuccessful as the equipment performed unsatisfactorily.† The complexity of the required adjustments proved to be beyond the capability of Nat Mapís field personnel.† On 13 May 1964, the helicopter flew to Brisbane for voltage and other checks on all master units.† Air tests were flown in Brisbane and on 19 May 1964, the helicopter returned to Dalby for further air testing.†

Initially, National Mapping was not well equipped to undertake field servicing of the Aerodist system.† The system was then at the leading edge of electronics technology but was not a solid state device and was far from stable.† The only Nat Mapper in the field with formal electronics training was Kevin Burke.† However, his only piece of testing equipment was a multimeter albeit a reliable British made Avometer.† Kevinís workbench was usually the tailgate of one of the International utilities.† Despite these limitations Kevin was generally able to do as much as the service agentís technicians to keep the system running.† But about this time Kevin was having little success.† Nevertheless some 50 years later the then Aerodist field party leader Syd Kirkby had nothing but high praise for Kevin Burkeís efforts in keeping the system going where he could.

Around mid-May 1964, a technician from the then servicing agency the National Instrument Company Pty Ltd (a division of Ansett Airways) joined the field party for two weeks but he also was unable to make the equipment function using the available field servicing facilities.† The Aerodist system was returned to NIC in Melbourne for workshop service on 29 May 1964.† Here it was found that a complete realignment of the equipment was necessary.† This was subsequently carried out to overcome radio frequency interference from the three-master unit configuration arising from the incorporation of the White frequency master unit.

Notwithstanding the considerable effort expended to make the three-master unit Aerodist configuration operational, the White frequency equipment was initially unreliable and little used during either the 1964 or 1965 field season.† This outcome for 1964 is indicated in Table 3 below that shows total operational measuring hours for the various Aerodist system components.

Component

Total Operational Time (hours: minutes)

Red Master Unit

122:45

Blue Master Unit

124:05

White Master Unit

3:40

Red 1 Remote Unit

69:15

Red 2 Remote Unit

53:55

Blue 1 Remote Unit

77:35

Blue 2 Remote Unit

49:05

White Remote Unit

3:40

Table 3: Aerodist system components-operational use in 1964
(from data in Aerodist Log Book)

As the 1964 Aerodist measuring field season continued to suffer false starts and delays, expectations and indeed some pressures for results began to emerge.† By mid-1964, it was around three years since National Mapping had sought funding approval for the Aerodist system.† But so far little had been achieved.† Considerable funds had been spent on equipment purchases.† The ongoing expenses in terms of helicopter charges and other field operations costs were mounting.† Nat Map had not previously engaged in such a costly undertaking.

National Mapping's Director Bruce Lambert (1912-1990) then had to consider which was to be the best way forward. Was he to continue with the costly, unproven and hitherto unreliable Aerodist system or revert to an already proven approach to obtaining horizontal control for 1:100,000 scale mapping? In 1946, Lambert had initially advocated the use of airborne SHORAN technology to undertake the geodetic survey of Australia by radar triangulation. However, after extensive investigation during 1948-1949, SHORAN was rejected as too costly (Lines, 1992). Instead, Lambert opted for the flexibility of commencing 4 miles to 1 inch scale mapping coverage in areas of current priority (1:250, 000 was adopted as the scale in 1959). For this task he used ground-based field parties to undertake astronomical determinations to acquire the survey control. This approach also allowed Lambert to allocate some of the limited mapping resources to address other mapping priorities while pondering the best method for undertaking the future geodetic survey (Lambert, 1989).

In 1964, the readily available alternative to Aerodist was rapid lower order traversing on the ground using theodolites, Tellurometers and quick lift scaffolding towers. This alternative was already being strongly advocated from elements within Lambert's own organisation. Some private sector surveyors were also lobbying for the rapid traversing approach with the expectation of winning contracts to undertake some of this work. Expenditure on rapid traversing that could be undertaken by a number of private sector contractors was likely to be more acceptable to the government of the day. This proven approach would also allow steady progress to be achieved and, importantly, reported to government.

Lambert was well aware of the advocacy from within and from outside his organisation for the rapid traversing alternative to Aerodist. No doubt he would have also recalled the ultimately unsuccessful consideration of SHORAN technology in the late 1940s. While he had kept his resolve for Aerodist to date, what he needed now was some runs on the board to justify continuing with this new secondary radar technology.

Also well aware of this situation, field party leader Syd Kirkby recommenced Aerodist flying operations in the Surat Basin from Bourke on 6 July 1964. Syd knew continuation of the overall Aerodist program hung in the balance and that the time available to get results was running out. The measuring field season ended just eight weeks later back at Bourke on 31 August 1964. Suffice to say the Aerodist measuring program was to run for another decade.

Once the frustrations of the prolonged system unserviceability were behind them the field party members quickly got down to business. During the brief measuring period considerable and quite rapid progress was made in measuring 110 Aerodist lines. This progress is shown in Table 4 below that lists relevant dates and the associated operational places and areas. The cumulative extent of Aerodist measuring at the end of the 1964 field season is shown in Figure 9 below.

Following the initial Block 5 Aerodist measuring work in 1964, extension and intensification of the network was carried out in 1965 and 1966. Eventually the positions of 14 Aerodist survey control stations were coordinated in Block 5.

Date (1964)

Operational Place or Area

6 July

Bourke

9 July

Quambone

10 July

Coonamble

17 July

Coonabarabran

18 July

Narrabri

22 July

Moree

23 July

Gravesend

24 July

Coolatai-Ashwood

25 July

Ashwood-Inglewood

26 July

Millmerran

28 July

Dalby

30 July

Tara

1 August

Moonie

2 August

Goondiwindi

4 August

Talwood

7 August

Meandarra-Surat

10 August

Surat-Aqualoo

11 August

Homeboin

12 August

Elverston

13 August

Charleville

17 August

Wyandra

18 August

Cunnamulla

19 August

Cunnamulla-Woolerina

20 August

Woolerina

27 August

St George-Dirranbandi

29 August

Dirranbandi-Collarenebri

30 August

Collarenebri-Morella

31 August

Morella-Bourke

Table 4: Aerodist measuring operational areas in 1964
(from data in Aerodist Log Book)

Helicopter Down

In late August 1964, while flying helicopter VH-INZ from Woolerina homestead near Wallam Creek south of Bollon on a spot photography sortie pilot Andy Pryde became lost.† The only other helicopter occupant was Nat Mapper Kevin Burke who was operating a hand-held Nikon 35 mm camera.† Andy pushed on across tight and seemingly endless scrub country until the helicopter ran out of fuel.†

Without engine power Andy managed to put the helicopter down in a tight clearing in the mulga.† There were no effective radio communications from the helicopter on the ground.† Meanwhile back at the centre party base there was a long night of concern for the missing field party members as well as some frantic activities.†

The Department of Civil Aviation was contacted and started search and rescue procedures.† Homesteads were contacted and vehicles were sent out to look for the missing aircraft.†

The next morning field party leader Syd Kirkby was picked up by a search aircraft at the Woolerina station airstrip about 10 minutes after first light.† By about 8:00 am there were five aircraft involved in the well organised search.† Syd Kirkbyís aircraft found the missing machine about 9:30 am.† Apart from the front cross member of the helicopter skids being slightly bowed during the forced landing there was no damage to the helicopter; see Image 20 below.† Andy Pryde and Kevin Burke were uninjured and were recovered by vehicles driven by Nat Mappers Terry Douglas and Brian Daenke.† The recovery vehicles brought in aircraft fuel supplies, a DCA investigator and the aircraft engineer.† The helicopter was flown back from the forced landing site by Andy Pryde with the aircraft engineer.

Image 20: Replacing the skids on helicopter VH-INZ after the forced landing in August 1964 (Des Young image)

 

 

Figure 9: Nat Map Aerodist network within geodetic traverse loops at September 1964 (adapted from Lines 1965 with locations annotated by Paul Wise 2015)

1964 Aerodist Marking and Measuring Party Members included:

Len Turner

Syd Kirkby

Frank Leahy (returned to Melbourne from Bourke circa 9 July 1964)

Kevin Burke

Carl McMaster

Max Rubeli

Richard Carter

Des Young

Neil Fenton

Andy Lukas

Jacques de Stefani

Terry Douglas

Brian Daenke

Kevin Banner

Russell Clarke (replaced Andy Lukas around 13 May 1964)

 

Chapter 7-1965 Field Season

During 1965 Aerodist measuring operations continued with network intensification in Blocks 5 and 6 in Queensland and new measuring in Block 14 in New South Wales (now within Block 39).† Some 150 lines were measured, the positions of 11 control stations were fixed and some photo trilaterations were attempted.† A number of spot photographs of control stations were also captured.†

1965 Aerodist Measuring and Related Activities in Blocks 5 and 6 in Queensland and in Block 14 (later Block 39) in New South Wales†

For the 1965 Aerodist field season the Aerodist master equipment was mounted in a high-wing twin engine Rockwell Aero Commander 680E (VH-EXY) on charter from Executive Air Services Pty Ltd based at Melbourneís Essendon airport.† Pilots of VH-EXY included Ian Bell, Neville Cribb, Peter Poyton, Ken Wootton and Jim Wilson.† Engineers included Ron Smith and Ray Landers.

Prior to the 1965 Aerodist field operations, equipment ground tests were carried out at Broadmeadows on 21 and 26 April 1965.† Static equipment tests were carried out over the Bacchus Marsh to Geelong test line on 23 April 1965.

Aerodist measuring operations commenced in Blocks 5 and 6 from Emerald on 18 August 1965 under field party leader Con Veenstra.† For a few days prior to 23 August 1965, Con Veenstra had experienced problems with the master equipment and with some remote units.† These problems included poor voice communication on the Blue frequency which also had low measuring signal strength, excessive interactions between A and other patterns when switching levels were adjusted and no transmission from the Red 3 remote unit.†

To address these issues Con Veenstra requested maintenance assistance from the then service agent D R Johnston Pty Ltd on 23 August 1965.† Technician Mick Skinner arrived at Emerald at 1520 hours the next afternoon and began equipment testing straight away.† Further airborne testing with remote units was carried out at the Emerald airstrip on 25 August and a successful measurement on one line was achieved on 26 August 1965 before the centre party moved to Clermont.† Mick Skinner then remained with the Aerodist field party until 28 August 1965.† (Mick Skinner joined Nat Map as a staff member the following year.)

While operating from Emerald in 1965, a support group was used for Aerodist chart breaking and other Aerodist related duties.† Members of this group included Bob Foster, Terry Larkin, Kevin Moody, Des Young and Alan Chaiken.† Some of the members of this group were also involved with activities at survey control stations.

The centre party moved to Clermont on 29 August 1965 but was again operating from Emerald from 5 September 1965.† Around 10 September 1965 the Aerodist centre party was based at Rockhampton.† Syd Kirkby replaced Con Veenstra as party leader on 15 September 1965.† Around 6 October 1965 the centre party was operating from Duaringa.† On 13 October 1965 the Aerodist field party was operating from Emerald.† On 28 October 1965 the remote units were returned to Melbourne and the remote party members made their way to Broken Hill.

During Aerodist operations in 1965, some 50 Aerodist lines were remeasured.† The remeasured lines were in an area of central Queensland generally bounded by Tara, Roma, Tambo, Moranbah and Gayndah and can be seen on Figure 14 in the Epilogue below.† The remeasures involved some lines that were initially measured in 1963, 1964 and 1965.† In 2015, Syd Kirkby recalled that the remeasuring was undertaken due to a loss of confidence in the initial measuring results; principally due to the psychrometer readings used to obtain the atmospheric corrections and difficulties with the chart recorder.

Also around 1965, Ted Seton and Carl McMaster spent a couple of months undertaking a number of third order level connections to Aerodist stations.† This work was undertaken around Mt Coolon and Collinsville and other areas to the north-west of Mackay while Aerodist measuring operations were being undertaken nearby.† The level connections were made from various benchmarks on existing Queensland Department of Main Roads and Commonwealth Department of Interior level traverses.

Aerodist measuring operations restarted from Broken Hill on 9 November 1965 under field party leader Syd Kirkby.† It appears that only about 8 line crossings were measured due to difficulties with the Aerodist equipment especially on longer lines.† The Aerodist system was returned to Melbourne on 17 November 1965.†

Late in the season, an attempt was made to measure 3-channel photo trilateration position fixes using VH-EXY and three remote stations but without success; see earlier discussion in Aerodist Photo Trilaterations 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1973.

Further extension work was undertaken in Blocks 5 and 6 in 1966; resulting in a total of 14 stations being coordinated in Block 5 and 37 in Block 6.† Some years later, Block 14 was combined with Blocks 34 and 35 to form Block 39.† The combined Block 39 was established after the 1973 field season and a total of 52 Aerodist stations were eventually coordinated in this larger block.

1965 Aerodist Party Members included:

Syd Kirkby

Con Veenstra

Rom Vassil

Carl McMaster

Kevin Burke

Richard Carter

Neil Fenton

John Gray (short period only)

Kevin Snell

Bob Foster

Alan Chaiken

Des Young

Kevin Moody

Terry Larkin

Graeme Harris

Ray Crane

Terry Douglas

Brian Daenke (Brian Kent Daenke 25 April 1937-20 April 2015)

Andy Lukas

Kevin Banner

Bill Yaxley

Chapter 8-1966 Field Season

During 1966 Aerodist measuring continued with network intensification and photo trilaterations in Blocks 5 and 6 in Queensland.† New network measuring was undertaken in Blocks 7 and 10 in Queensland and offshore from Queensland in Block 8 (now part of Block 23.)† Further measuring was done in Blocks 14, 34 and 35 (now part of Block 39) in New South Wales and Victoria.† During 1966 some 310 lines were measured and the positions of 49 control stations were fixed.† Also 8 photo trilaterations were undertaken and a number of spot photographs of control stations were captured.†

1966 Aerodist Measuring and Related Activities in Blocks 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 in Queensland and in Blocks 14, 34 and 35 (later Block 39) in New South Wales and Victoria.

Between January and 14 March 1966, the Aerodist system was serviced by the then agent Viaton Electronics Proprietary Limited.† For the 1966 field season, master units and ancillary equipment were mounted in the larger high-wing twin engine Rockwell Grand Commander 680FL (VH-EXZ) chartered from Executive Air Services.† This aircraft continued to be used for Aerodist measuring operations until the end of the program in 1974.† During 1966, party leaders were Syd Kirkby and Con Veenstra.† 1966 saw the first deployment of a staff electronics technician (Mick Skinner) with the field party. In 1966, the onshore remote parties were vehicle based.† Operational flying with VH-EXZ commenced from Broken Hill on 28 March 1966 in the now Block 39.† Owing to extension projects, measuring continued in Block 39 until 1973; a total of 52 stations were eventually coordinated in this block.†

Altimeter checks were flown at Broken Hill on 11 April 1966.† Later the centre party operated from Cobar and measuring continued around Hay until 22 April 1966.† The Aerodist field party then departed for Rockhampton.† On 6 May 1966 operations were flown from Rockhampton en route to Mackay.† On 13 May 1966 VH-EXZ landed at Proserpine while waiting for the remote party to occupy control station Foxdale to measure the line to control station Sister.† On 18 May 1966 VH-EXZ landed at Ayr to provide a radio to remote unit operator Phil Welling then overnighted in Ayr and landed next day at Collinsville from where it operated for a few days.† On 10 June 1966 height checks were carried out at Emerald.† Between 18 and 28 June the Aerodist field party was in Rockhampton.

During some of this period, flying operations were suspended due to remote party vehicles being repaired.† Operational flying resumed on 30 June 1966.

Image 21: Nat Map surveyor Rom Vassil operating an Aerodist remote unit at survey station NM/C/40 on the Sturt Highway east of Hay in 1966 (Nat Map image)

 

Image 22: NM/C/40 station mark in July 2015 (Laurie McLean image)

 

 

1966 Aerodist Photo Trilaterations

Between 7 and 15 July 1966, trial Aerodist photo trilateration position fixing flights were undertaken in the Springsure, Rolleston and Injune area of central Queensland.† The trial involved eight trilaterations to fix the positions of four separate control points on the ground.† Each ground control point was fixed twice usually using two different remote unit position configurations as outlined in Table 5 below.

(For more detail of this activity please refer to earlier discussion at Aerodist Photo Trilaterations 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1973 above.)

Date

Remote Unit Positions

7 July 1966

NM/B/130-NM/B/131 and NM/B/134

7 July 1966

NM/B/130-NM/B/125 and NM/B/134

8 July 1966

Staircase-NM/B/125 and NM/B/134

8 July 1966

NM/B/134-NM/B/154 and Staircase

14 July 1966

NM/B/215-NM/B/216 and NM/B/125

14 July 1966

NM/B/134-NM/B/215 and NM/B/125

15 July 1966

NM/B/134-NM/B/215 and NM/B/125

15 July 1966

NM/B/125-NM/B/126 and NM/B/215

Table 5: 1966 Aerodist photo trilaterations in Queensland
(from data in Aerodist Log Book)

Field party leader Con Veenstra carried out altimeter height checks with VH-EXZ at Roma airport on 19 July 1966.† He also carried out height checks at Theodore on 15 August 1966.† Around 20 August 1966, the centre party moved to Monto and on 26 August 1966 it moved again to Bundaberg.† For the next couple of weeks operations were carried out in the area as far north as Ayr.†

Aerodist measuring in Blocks 5 and 6 commenced in 1964 and 1963 respectively and concluded in 1966 with a total of 14 stations coordinated in Block 5 and 37 stations in Block 6.† Block 7 measuring commenced and concluded in 1966 with a total of 3 stations being coordinated.

Offshore Survey in Block 8 (later Block 23)

An offshore Aerodist survey was conducted over the Great Barrier Reef during the period from 16 September to 5 October 1966 in the then Block 8.† Later, Block 8 was subsumed by the larger Block 23 in which eventually (by the end of 1971) some 37 survey control stations were coordinated by the Aerodist system.

Syd Kirkby was the Aerodist field party leader for the 1966 Block 8 survey.† This work was Nat Mapís initial offshore Aerodist survey.† The 1966 survey connected offshore Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic Service triangulation stations on islands between Bundaberg and Proserpine to the mainland first order survey traverse network.† During this survey 40 lines were measured using the normal line crossing method.† The lengths of these lines varied from 35 to 180 kilometres.†

Several vessels, namely the RANís HMAS Paluma (a coastal surveying vessel of 208 tons displacement and about 124-foot overall length) and locally hired boats including a yacht were used to position the offshore remote parties in 1966.† HMAS Paluma was then commanded by Lieutenant-Commander J B Dixon RN.† HMAS Paluma departed Bargara with Nat Map personnel on board on 16 September 1966 to commence the survey.† The offshore survey concluded at Mackay about 5 October 1966; around the same time as assistant director Joe Lines spent a few days at Mackay inspecting operations.

Survey control stations that were occupied on offshore features during the 1966 survey included: Skiddaw Peak (NM/B/343) on Carlisle Island, Sandy Cape Lighthouse on Fraser Island, North Keppel Island, Lady Elliot Island Lighthouse, High Peak Island (C060), Prudhoe Island, North Reef Lighthouse, Scawfell Island, and Cockatoo Hill on Middle Percy Island.

Onshore Measuring Continued in Blocks 10 and 11

After completion of the offshore work in Block 8, operations continued onshore.† The Aerodist field party moved from Mackay through Townsville to Charters Towers.† By mid-October 1966 measuring was being undertaken for Blocks 10 and 11 between Charters Towers and Mt Isa.† For these operations Syd Kirkby was the field party leader.† Measuring operations commenced from Charters Towers on 15 October 1966 and moved to Hughenden on 21 October 1966.† Measuring in Block 10 was completed in 1966 with 10 stations being coordinated.† Planned 1966 measuring operations in Block 11 were curtailed at Hughenden in late October 1966 following the tragic death of Russell Tappy.

Death of Russell Tappy

Late on Wednesday 26 October 1966, a remote party comprising first year field assistant Russell Tappy (radio call sign 8SXT) and John Nolton left Hughenden in an International AB-130 four-wheel drive utility (ZSU 119).† They were travelling west to occupy a remote station the next morning.† The remote station was NM/B/229 and was located to the north-east of Richmond and about 170 kilometres from Hughenden.† Tragically about 66 kilometres west of Hughenden the vehicle crashed and rolled over while attempting to negotiate some road works at a detour near the Eastern Creek crossing on the then unsealed Flinders Highway.† John Nolton was unhurt.† Sadly Russell sustained severe internal injuries and died around 1:00 next morning at Hughenden Hospital.† Russell Tappy was 26 years of age and was survived by his father, mother and a brother.† He was buried at Hughenden cemetery at 5:30 pm on Friday 28 October 1966.† Aerodist field party members joined Russellís family at his funeral.

1966 Aerodist Measuring Party Members included:

Syd Kirkby

Con Veenstra

Rom Vassil

Alf Klerkx

Carl McMaster

Norm Hawker

Richard Carter

Kevin Moody (Kevin Moody 28 September 1935-1 April 2012)

Mick Skinner

John Ely

Ed Burke

Andy Lukas

Murray Porteous

Russell Tappy (died at Hughenden on 27 October 1966 after a vehicle accident)

John Nolton

Gavin Chambers

George Jennings

Phil Welling

Terry Douglas

Lach Wilson

Brendan Kennedy

Ron Francis

 

 

Chapter 9-1967 Field Season

In 1967 during Aerodist measuring operations in Blocks 11, 12, 13 in Queensland and Block 39 in New South Wales and Victoria some 315 lines were measured and the positions of 60 control stations were fixed.† Five photo trilaterations were undertaken and a number of spot photographs of control stations were also captured.†

 

1967 Aerodist Measuring and Related Activities in Blocks 11, 12, and 13 in Queensland and Northern Territory

This was the first Aerodist field season in which remote parties were positioned by helicopter. †A light turbine helicopter was chartered from Sydney based Helicopter Utilities Pty Ltd.† The helicopter was VH-UTZ, a Fairchild Hiller FH-1100 powered by a 250 series Alison engine.† The initial pilot was George Treatt who flew VH-UTZ to position Aerodist remote parties in July and early August 1967.† The areas George Treatt operated from included Calvert Hills, Brunette Downs, Creswell Downs, McArthur River and Borroloola in the western Gulf of Carpentaria and Barkly Tableland region of the Northern Territory.† After George Treatt left the Aerodist measuring party, another pilot continued the helicopter contract until mid-October 1967 when it concluded at Katherine.

Aerodist field party leaders during 1967 were Syd Kirkby and Con Veenstra.† Aerodist measuring activities commenced in Block 11 at Richmond on 30 May 1967.† Height checks were flown at Richmond on 31 May and 3 June 1967 to verify the altimeter readings in the measuring Aircraft VH-EXZ.† The centre party moved to Julia Creek on 17 June 1967.† Between 22 June and 4 July 1967, Nat Map flew five Aerodist photo trilaterations in the Charters Towers to Mount Isa project area.†

On 4 July 1967 the initial measuring work in the Charters Towers to Mt Isa project area was complete.† The field party then regrouped for measuring in Blocks 12 and 13 in the Northern Territory.† During July and August Aerodist measuring operations were carried out in Block 12.† The centre party was initially based at the Barkly Tableland cattle station Calvert Hills from around 8 July 1967.† Later centre party bases were at Brunette Downs, Anthony Lagoon and the small town of Borroloola on the McArthur River about 50 kilometres upstream from the Gulf of Carpentaria.†

On 23 August 1967, the centre party was based at Daly Waters when altimeter height checks were flown with VH-EXZ.† On 26 August 1967, the centre party moved from Daly Waters to Elliot.† After operating from Elliot for about two weeks the centre party returned to Daly Waters on 8 September 1967.† From 25 September 1967, the centre party operated from Katherine.†

About midday on 27 September 1967 an engine on VH-EXZ lost oil pressure.† The aircraft was unserviceable until 8 October 1967 while the faulty engine was replaced.† While waiting for the aircraft to become available, the remote parties were engaged in survey station clearing and establishment tasks.† The clearing was carried out at NM/G/118 near Mataranka and the station establishment was carried out from Tennant Creek.† On 9 October 1967 Aerodist measuring operations resumed from Katherine.

On 23 October 1967 vehicle based remote parties left Katherine to occupy survey control points in the Camooweal area.† VH-EXZ flew to Camooweal on 24 October 1967 taking spot photos en route.† Measuring operations from Camooweal were delayed for a day or so as a defective battery in VH-EXZ had to be replaced.† At the conclusion of measuring operations in Block 12 the Aerodist field party headed south for further operations in Block 39.†

The 1967 field season saw the start of Aerodist measuring in Blocks 11, 12, and 13.† Measuring in Block 11 (Queensland) was completed in 1967 with a total of 11 survey control stations being coordinated in the block.† Measuring in Block 12 (Northern Territory-Queensland border extension) concluded in 1969 with a total of 38 stations being coordinated in this block.† Measuring work in Block 13 (Northern Territory) concluded in 1968 with a total of 23 stations being coordinated in that block.

Incidents and Accident in the Northern Territory

VH-EXZ had an engine failure on take-off from Calvert Hills homestead on 17 July 1967.† Pilot Ken Singh landed the aircraft safely on one engine but it was unserviceable for about five days while the engine was replaced.

When operating out of Borroloola in August 1967, field party leader Syd Kirkby had to ward off an opportunistic attempt by a visiting Commonwealth government minister who tried unsuccessfully to purloin the helicopter for his own personal use.†

The minister apparently had no regard for the impact on the Aerodist partyís operations or for the remote operators who would have been left stranded on distant survey stations.† However, Syd Kirkby was acutely aware of these impacts and rightly prevailed over the ministerís demands.† Syd politely informed the minister that he was unable to release the helicopter without appropriate instruction from the Director of National Mapping.† The minister was apparently reluctant to seek the issuing of such instruction.

While operating in the Katherine area during September-October 1967, the Bedford supply truck (ZSU 201) rolled over in an accident.† The vehicle was badly damaged and was unavailable for the rest of the field season.† Much camping and other equipment and supplies were lost as a consequence.† Fortunately the driver, John Nicholson, was uninjured.

1967 Aerodist Measuring Activities in Block 39 in New South Wales and Victoria

On 18 November 1967, measuring activities commenced in what was later designated as Block 39 in south-west New South Wales and Victoria.† This operation was to extend and intensify the control network in this block.† Height checks to verify the altimeter readings in VH-EXZ were flown at Kerang on 28 November 1967.†

Measuring activities for the 1967 field season ended from Kerang on 30 November 1967.† However, measuring in Block 39 was not concluded until 1973 owing to several survey control extension projects; ultimately 52 survey stations were coordinated in this block.

1967 Great Barrier Reef Survey Block 23

In a separate operation in what later became Block 23 during August-September 1967, HMAS Teal a Royal Australian Navy Ton class minesweeper ocean non-magnetic, transported a two-person National Mapping reconnaissance and station marking party around the central Great Barrier Reef.† The Nat Map field party comprised John Madden and Ed Burke.† They departed in HMAS Teal from the RAN minesweeper support base HMAS Waterhen on Balls Head Bay at the north Sydney suburb of Waverton on 7 August 1967.† HMAS Teal was under the command of Lieutenant-Commander PF (Peter) Egan RAN, who then also commanded the RANís 16th Mine Countermeasures Squadron to which HMAS Teal and her five sister Ton Class minesweepers belonged.†

The Nat Map field party established local survey control by Tellurometer traverses from the Aerodist stations and by fixing marks on various features including a shipwreck and shifting sand cays.† To help recover survey marks on shifting sand cays, permanent recovery marks were established in nearby live coral.† The shipwreck on which a survey recovery mark was established was the SS Francis Preston Blair on Saumarez Reef.† The recovery mark was connected to NM/OS/07 and NM/OS/08.† This United States Liberty ship of some 7,196 tons ran aground during a storm on 15 July 1945. †(In some Nat Map documentation circa 1967, the vessel was referred to as the Albert P Blair; apparently in error.)

Offshore survey control stations occupied during the 1967 survey included: Cato Island (NM/OS/01), Hixson Cay (NM/OS/02 on Swain Reefs), Wreck Reef, Bird Islet (NM/OS/03), Observatory Cay, Kenn Reef (NM/OS/04), Porpoise Cay, Zodiac Cay (NM/OS/06 on Swain Reefs), Marion Reef, Frederick Reef (NM/OS/05), West Cay at Saumarez Reef (NM/OS/07), wreck of SS Francis Preston Blair on Saumarez Reef, North-East Cay on Saumarez Reef (NM/OS/08), Carola Cay on Marion Reef, Herald Cays (NM/OS/09), South-West Cay, Coringa Islands, and Chilcott Islet (NM/OS/10).†

During the survey HMAS Teal called at Gladstone and Cairns.† The Nat Map field party returned to Sydney on HMAS Teal where they disembarked at Garden Island on 19 September 1967.

1967 Aerodist Measuring and Marking Party Members included:

Syd Kirkby

Con Veenstra

Kevin Lawlor

John Madden

Carl McMaster

Ed Burke

John Ely

Mick Skinner

Norm Hawker

Neil Fenton

Lachlan Ely

Murray Porteous

George Jennings

Phil Welling

John Nicholson (until Katherine)

John Doherty

John Nolton

Colin Cheary

Brian Mahoney

John Sheridan

Hans Delange

Chapter 10-1968 Field Season

In 1968 during Aerodist measuring operations in Blocks 13, 15, 17 and 23 some 223 lines were measured and the positions of 40 control stations were fixed.† A number of spot photographs of control stations were also captured.†

 

1968 Aerodist Measuring and Related Activities in Blocks 13, 15, 17 and 23 in New South Wales, Northern Territory, and Queensland

Aerodist field party leaders during 1968 were Syd Kirkby and Con Veenstra.† The measuring aircraft was the Grand Commander VH-EXZ.† Measuring for the 1968 Aerodist field season started in Block 39 near Griffith in the Riverina area of New South Wales on 17 April 1968.† The one line measured that day was between the trig stations Cocopara and Ulalu.† Measuring in the area concluded on 23 April 1967 after some 23 lines had been measured.† During this measuring activity the remote parties were vehicle-based.† During 1968, height checks were carried out at Bourke to verify altimeter readings in VH-EXZ.

During 23-27 April 1968 the Aerodist field party regrouped for the journey to Timber Creek where measuring commenced on 20 May 1968.† Height checks were again carried out at Timber Creek.† The field party regrouped again at Victoria River Downs on 8 June 1968.†

(Victoria River Downs was located about 100 kilometres south-east of Timber Creek in the Northern Territory.† It was established in 1880 and in 1902 was acquired by Sydney Kidman in partnership with Kimberley pastoralists the Emmanuel Brothers.† About that time VRD had an area of over 10,900 square kilometres and was said to be one of the largest cattle stations in the world.† It has since been reduced in size.† In the 1960s VRD was owned by the Hooker Corporation.)

During the 1968 field season, the Aerodist centre party also operated from Kununurra, Limbunya, Hooker Creek and Tennant Creek.† During this year, measuring in Block 13 was completed with a total of 23 stations being coordinated; measuring in this block had commenced in 1967.† Initial measuring was commenced in Blocks 15 and 17; and measuring in Block 23 was continued.† Measuring in Block 15 was completed in 1970; and was completed in Blocks 17 and 23 in 1971.

Hooker Creek (now Lajamanu) was an Aboriginal community established on the north-western fringe of the Tanami Desert in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Hooker Creek is about 670 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs.† The Commonwealth government administrators of the time established the Hooker Creek settlement to relocate over 500 Warlpiri people from Yuendumu further to the south because of severe drought conditions there. †However, Hooker Creek was in traditional Gurindji country which caused some major concerns for both of these Aboriginal peoples.

During the 1968 field season, remote operations in the Northern Territory were again supported by a light turbine helicopter chartered from Sydney based Helicopter Utilities Pty Ltd.† The helicopter was VH-UTZ, a Fairchild Hiller FH-1100 powered by a 250 series Alison engine.

Historic Dinner at Limbunya

Limbunya was a cattle property on a pastoral lease of some 5,200 square kilometres.† Limbunya homestead was about 135 kilometres by road north-west of Wave Hill.† The lease had been acquired by the Vestey Brothers in the late 1920s and in 1968 was still in Vestey ownership.† (William and Edmund Vestey later became Lord Vestey and Sir Edmund Vestey and traded as the Vestey Group and other entities.)† While the Aerodist centre party was based at Limbunya some Nat Mappers unknowingly faced the reality of a changing era.† It was a fairly low key invitation to dinner at the homestead with the manager and his wife.† Syd Kirkby, Carl McMaster and Neville Cribb (VH-EXZ pilot) of course readily accepted this kind offer of bush hospitality; to do otherwise while camping on the property would have been impolite.† However, history impacted on the dinner.

In a now historic event, in August 1966, Gurindji elder Vincent Lingiari, led the walk-off of about 200 Aboriginal stockmen, house servants and their families from the Vestey property at Wave Hill.† The protesters were from the Gurindji and several other indigenous groups.† At first it was thought that the protestorsí historic demand for the right to their traditional lands was simply a protest against their work and pay conditions.† The bravery of the protesters should not go without remark.† Their actions occurred prior to the May 1967 referendum the saw the removal of provisions in the Australian Constitution that discriminated against Aboriginal people.† Thus they did not have the rights that other Australians could take for granted.

The protesters set up camp at the now famous Wattie Creek.† This strike was part of a widespread campaign begun by workers on Brunette Downs Station and was supported by some non-indigenous people.† Later, indigenous workers at other Vestey properties went on strike.† In 1968, about 60 indigenous workers at the Vesteyís Limbunya pastoral holding joined the strike and walked off this property.†

The Limbunya walk off happened just before the Nat Map guests arrived at the homestead to dine.† The Nat Mappers found their very English hosts in some disarray and extremely apologetic for the situation they were in.† The hosts were without domestic and outside staff and therefore severely constrained in their ability to entertain.† The hosts apparently did not realise just how primitive Nat Map camp living and dining conditions were or how their guests could still genuinely enjoy their night out.

Helicopter Fuel Positioning in the Tanami Desert

While the centre party was operating from Hooker Creek in 1968, Nat Mapper Murray Porteous drove across country from near Tennant Creek to Hooker Creek.† This journey was to establish several dumps of helicopter fuel (in 44 gallon drums) in the featureless scrub of the Tanami Desert.† Murray was driving Bedford ZSU 262 with a new field assistant, a French national Bernard Morell.† They travelled along the DE level traverse established in 1964 by the Department of Interior.† The traverse ran from the Warrego mine generally westward for about 250 kilometres until it terminated at the Tanami to Hooker Creek track to the south of Wilson Creek, roughly 140 kilometres south of Hooker Creek.† The route along the traverse was not marked; it was only the faint wheel tracks of the 1964 survey vehicles and a concrete bench mark about every 8 kilometres.†

Travel became progressively slower as the Bedfordís radiator became clogged with spinifex (Triodia) heads causing it to overheat and necessitating stops every couple of kilometres.† After radio contact with the fuel truck party was lost, the Aerodist measuring aircraft VH-EXZ made a flight to locate the fuel positioning sub-party.† Owing to an acute shortage of water following a leak from the water tank tap, Murray had decided to do most of the driving during the night as it was much cooler than travelling during the day.† The sub-party eventually arrived safely at Hooker Creek.

Offshore Work on the Great Barrier Reef in Block 23

During late October and November 1968 offshore work continued in Block 23; measuring in this block was completed in 1971. HMAS Hawk and the HMAS Gull, both Royal Australian Navy Ton class minesweepers ocean non-magnetic, transported Aerodist measuring remote sub-parties to offshore features in the central Great Barrier Reef. Hawk was under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Charles Claude Pidler DSM RAN. Gull was under the command of Lieutenant RN Walker RAN. Both of these vessels are shown in Image 23 below. Some of the Aerodist field sub-parties embarked on the minesweepers at Gladstone. Other vessels including a fishing trawler and a motor yacht were also used from Yeppoon during this survey.

On 31 October 1968, a light turbine helicopter positioned a one-man Aerodist remote sub-party. The Fairchild Hiller FH-1100 aircraft (VH-UHE) was chartered as required from the Helicopter Utilities Pty Ltd Heron Island tourist transfer service at Gladstone airport. The aircraft was flown by Harvey Else from Gladstone to Rockhampton and then via Keppel Island to High Peak Island. Nat Mapper John Ely was positioned onto Royal Australian Navy survey mark C060 on High Peak Island in the Coral Sea about 160 kilometres north of Rockhampton. The survey mark was on the top of a feature that rose abruptly some 725 feet from the sea. During the flight back to Rockhampton, the aircraft landed at some fishers' shacks on the mainland near Reef Point opposite Townshend Island to the north of the Peninsula Range about 45 kilometres south of High Peak Island. Here the helicopter was refuelled from a drum of aviation turbine kerosene previously positioned by Nat Map.

Later in 1968, High Peak survey station was re-occupied by Nat Mapper Graeme Lawrence who was positioned by a launch from HMAS Hawk. As another one-man remote sub-party, Graeme had the unenviable task of single handedly getting all the necessary survey equipment from the beach to the survey mark 725 feet above him and back down again!

On 13 November 1968, Fairchild Hiller FH-1100 helicopter VH-UHE under the command of pilot Harvey Else was again chartered to position a four-person station establishment and Aerodist remote field sub-party from Bundaberg to Sandy Cape about 100 kilometres to the east. The field sub-party comprised Nat Mappers Terry Douglas, Ian Ogilvie, Ken Manypenny and Ragnar Berg. This sub-party was recovered from Sandy Cape in a chartered yacht and some of its members were transferred to Lady Elliot Island.

Also on 13 November 1968 the Fairchild Hiller FH-1100 helicopter VH-UHE under pilot Harvey Else was used to ferry Nat Mapper Graeme Lawrence from Sandy Cape to North Reef Island lighthouse located about 120 kilometres east of Yeppoon. After ferrying to North Reef Island, Harvey Else flew the helicopter back to Gladstone.

Survey control stations that were occupied on offshore features during the 1968 survey included: Zodiac Cay (NM/OS/06 on Swain Reefs)), Frederick Reef (NM/OS/05), Bird Islet (NM/OS/03), Kenn Reef (NM/OS/04), Cato Island (NM/OS/01), Saumarez Reef (NM/OS/08), Hixson Cay (NM/OS/02 on Swain Reefs), Sandy Cape on Fraser Island, North Keppel Island, Lady Elliot Island, High Peak Island (C060), Prudhoe Island, North Reef Lighthouse, Scawfell Island, and Cockatoo Hill on Middle Percy Island.

HMAS Hawk and HMAS Gull tied-up at the Mackay sugar wharf at the end of November 1968 after disembarking the Nat Map sub-parties at the conclusion of the survey.

Image 23: HMAS Hawk (1139) exercising with HMAS Gull (1185)-Royal Australian Navy image

 

Close Calls over the Coral Sea

The late start to the 1968 offshore Aerodist survey (in November) was determined by the availability of the two Royal Australian Navy minesweepers that were engaged in a Navy exercise beforehand.† As a consequence, the survey was undertaken in less than ideal weather conditions.† Towards the end of the survey there were frequent afternoon cloud build-ups with associated storms along the coast that made for less than ideal flying conditions.†

One afternoon field party leader Syd Kirkby was in VH-EXZ as it returned to the Rockhampton base from measuring out at sea under clear skies.† As the aircraft approached the coast it was forced to descend to keep under the base of the coastal cloud build-up.† The pilot was unable to fly above the cloud as he would then have to descend back through the cloud to land at the airport.†

Eventually the aircraft was forced down to such an extent it was only about 50-70 feet above the sea.† The aircraft only had a barometric altimeter so frequent calls were made to Rockhampton air services for base barometric pressure updates.† It was a tense time for all on board.† The aircraft eventually landed safely at the Rockhampton airport.† But it had been a nerve-racking flight as the aircraft flew on low over the dark and foreboding sea under leaden skies.† During this very low altitude flight the aircraft ran into three water spouts one of which seemed to be right at the tip of the planeís wing!

On another afternoon VH-EXZ was returning to Rockhampton from the north in similar weather conditions although fairly safely a few hundred feet above the sea.† The aircraftís flight path took it through part of the Shoalwater Bay military training area.† There was a military training exercise in progress that included various military aircraft.† Unfortunately, the military air traffic controllers would not give precise aircraft movement information to civilian aircraft.† The advice was simply to the affect: be aware military aircraft are now operating in this area, keep a proper lookout to ensure you can see and be seen...

When VH-EXZ was flying low about 10 miles off the coast, two RAAF Canberra jet engine bombers flew across the nose of the Aerodist aircraft at exactly the same flying height as it was.† The Canberras were flying nose-to-tail in tight formation.† A quick glimpse and they were gone.† Field party leader Syd Kirkby was later to recall that the Canberras were so close to VH-EXZ that his eye span could not fully encompass the closer bomber.† A close call indeed!

The aircraft endurance needed to measure some of the further offshore Aerodist lines on this survey was also an issue.† VH-EXZ had been fitted with fuel tanks to give an endurance of some seven hours.† However, on some occasions the aircraft flew for nearly eight hours without the pilot giving any warning of the endurance limit being approached.† It transpired that the pilot had been leaning out the fuel-air mixture to such an extent that there was a real risk of engine failure from catastrophic damage.

1968 Aerodist Measuring Party Members included:

Syd Kirkby

Con Veenstra

Graham McNamara

John Madden

Carl McMaster

Ed Burke

John Ely

Mick Skinner

Terry Mulholland

Norm Hawker

Murray Porteous

Alan Mould

Terry Douglas

Gavin Chambers

John Doherty

Ian Rushton

Ian Ogilvie

Wayne Mein

Graeme Lawrence

Ken Manypenny

Ragnar Berg

Dennis Jones

Derrick Hatley

Mike OíDea

Alan Neal (Zeek)

Bernard Morell (the Frenchman)

George Black (short period only)

 

 

Chapter 11-1969 Field Season

In 1969 during Aerodist measuring operations in Blocks 12, 15, 16, 20 and 23 some 259 lines were measured and the positions of 50 control stations were fixed.† A number of spot photographs of control stations were also captured.† This work included some new stations on the Queensland-Northern Territory border in Block 12 and further offshore work on the Great Barrier Reef in Block 23.

 

1969 Aerodist Measuring and Related Activities in Blocks 12, 15, 16, 20 and 23 in New South Wales, Northern Territory, and Queensland

Aerodist field party leaders in 1969 were Syd Kirkby and Con Veenstra.† During 1969 the measuring aircraft was again Grand Commander VH-EXZ, pilots included Alan Walker.† In 1969 all onshore remote work was vehicle-based as there was no helicopter contract that year.†

Measuring operations commenced from Bourke and then moved to Tibooburra towards the end of May 1969.† Operations from both locations were over Block 15.† At the end of the 1969 measuring operations 6 survey stations had been coordinated to complete the initial Block 15 network.† (However, in 1970 a further 8 supplementary stations (including State Permanent Mark 6835) were coordinated by Aerodist in Block 15.)†

Afterwards, Aerodist measuring operations commenced in Blocks 16 and 20 from Jundah and Bedourie.† Measuring in 1969 completed both blocks; with a total of 33 stations coordinated in Block 16 and 10 stations in Block 20.† In late June 1969, the Aerodist field party was operating from Winton; Syd Kirkby was the field party leader.† Later the centre party was based at Longreach.†

Late in the onshore measuring, the centre party operated from Camooweal to measure to new stations along the Queensland-Northern Territory border in Block 12.† Measuring in this block had commenced in 1967 and was completed by the end of 1969 with a total of 38 stations being coordinated in the block.† At Camooweal John Manning joined the Aerodist measuring party for the first time; under field party leader Con Veenstra.† The centre party later operated from Charters Towers.

During the 1969 Aerodist field measuring programs height checks were carried out to verify altimeter readings in the measuring aircraft VH-EXZ.† Places where height checks were flown included: Tibooburra, Jundah, Bedourie, Winton, Longreach and Charters Towers.

In late June 1969, Ian Ogilvie and Mike OíDea drove Bedford ZSU 262 from Winton, Queensland to Alice Springs.† At Alice Springs the vehicle was passed to Rom Vassilís Aerodist ground marking party as a replacement for that partyís unserviceable supply truck Bedford ZSU 201.

Further Offshore Work in Block 23

In September-October 1969, the Aerodist offshore network in Block 23 was extended seawards.† However, measuring in this block was not completed until 1971 with a total of 37 stations eventually being coordinated in the block.

1969 Aerodist measuring operations in Block 23 commenced from Townsville in early September 1969 and concluded in mid-October 1969.† The centre party was based at Townsville and Mackay.† That year, 10 offshore control stations were connected by Aerodist measurements to the existing network.† Some of these stations were up to 500 kilometres off the coast.† Several of the Aerodist lines were over 300 kilometres in length.† These lines were measured with the aid of parabolic reflector antennae on the measuring aircraft VH-EXZ.†

Two Royal Australian Navy minesweepers ocean non-magnetic HMAS Hawk and HMAS Gull as well as a fishing trawler were used to transport the offshore remote parties.† The commander of HMAS Gull in 1969 was Lieutenant-Commander CJ Littleton RAN, later Commodore Clem Littleton AO RAN (1939-2014).† In 1969, the commander of HMAS Hawk was Lieutenant-Commander HE Jones RAN who was then also the commander of the First Australian Mine Countermeasures Squadron.

HMAS Hawk and HMAS Gull arrived at Gladstone on 1 September 1969 to start Aerodist support operations.† Here some Nat Mappers embarked on the minesweepers; namely John Madden, Ed Burke, and Terry Douglas.† The two minesweepers sailed from Gladstone on 2 September 1969 and arrived at Townsville the next day.† Here members from the Aerodist measuring party boarded the minesweepers to commence survey operations.

Survey control stations that were occupied on offshore features during the 1969 Block 23 survey included: Edgell Reef (NM/OS/13), Brodie Cay (NM/OS/12 on Marion Reef), South-west Lihou Reef (NM/OS/21), Turtle Islet (NM/OS/22), West Diamond Islet (NM/OS/20), Chilcott Islet (NM/OS/10), Willis Island (NM/OS/19), Herald Cays (NM/OS/09), Flinders Reefs (NM/OS/11), Wheeler Reef (NM/OS/15), and Holmes Reef (NM/OS/18).† A Tellurometer connection was made to the wreck of the Lady Nathawa on Marion Reef.

At the end of the survey, at least one of the minesweepers disembarked Nat Map field party personnel at Townsville over the weekend of Friday 17 October 1969-Monday 20 October 1969.† The extent of the Aerodist offshore network in Block 23 at the end of 1969 is shown in Figure 10 below; the network was extended northward in 1971.

Figure 10: Nat Map Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea Aerodist network at end of 1969 (updated by Paul Wise October 2015)

 

1969 Aerodist Measuring Party Members included:

Syd Kirkby

Con Veenstra

John Manning

John Madden

George Eustice

Norm Edwards

Carl McMaster

Ed Burke

Mick Skinner

John Ely

Terry Mulholland

Bob Lucas

Norm Hawker

Alan Mould

Paul McCormack

Ted Rollo

Lawrie OíConnor

Graeme Lawrence

Michael Lloyd

Ian Ogilvie

Ken Manypenny

Mike OíDea

Scott Crossley

Ian Campbell

Norm Hubbard

Dennis Jones

Derrick Hatley

Bob Goldsworthy

Chapter 12-1970 Field Season

During Aerodist measuring operations in 1970 in Blocks 17, 18, 22 and 31 some 390 lines were measured and the positions of 50 control stations were fixed.† A number of spot photographs of control stations were also captured.† Additional lines were also flown in Blocks 39 and 15 in New South Wales to fix the positions of a number of supplementary control stations.

1970 Aerodist Measuring in Block 39 in Southern New South Wales

The 1970 Aerodist measuring operations commenced in late April in southern New South Wales.† Here the positions of some supplementary control stations in the Riverina area in what is now Aerodist Block 39 were to be fixed.† (In 1970, the work area was known as Block 34 or 35.† It was later reconfigured as Block 39 and measuring was eventually completed in 1973 with a total of 52 survey stations being coordinated.)† This measuring operation was led by Con Veenstra.† The centre party was based at Hay.† The remote parties were vehicle based.†

The supplementary control stations in Block 39 had been established and surrounding trig stations cleared between 6 and 11 April 1970.† This work was carried out in an area from Kerang to Ivanhoe and around Balranald, Hay, and Swan Hill.† The marking and clearing work was done by a field party led by John Manning.

1970 Aerodist Measuring Block 18, Queensland and Northern Territory

Initial Aerodist measuring in Block 18 commenced; in western Queensland prior to the start, and later after the conclusion, of the 1970 helicopter contract.† This block included the southern part of the Barkly Tableland in the Northern Territory.† During much of the measuring in this block the remote parties were vehicle based.

Measuring in the western Queensland part of Block 18 commenced about 7 May 1970 using vehicle-based and later helicopter supported remote parties.† The centre party was based at Bedourie, Boulia, Tobermory and Plenty Downs and included both John Manning and Con Veenstra.† Helicopter supported operations started from Birdsville on about 1 June 1970; but initially for Block 22 measuring.†

Measuring in Block 18 resumed in the Northern Territory part of the block around 22 October 1970 under field party leader John Manning.† The centre party was based from Tennant Creek and Camooweal; the remote parties were vehicle-based.† Measuring in Block 18 for the 1970 field season ceased at Camooweal about 3 November 1970 (but further measuring was undertaken in 1971).† The Aerodist party then headed south for supplementary measuring work in Block 15.

1970 Aerodist Measuring in Blocks 17, 22 and 31 in Northern Territory and Queensland

Initial Aerodist measuring Block 22 commenced from Birdsville around 1 June 1970 with helicopter supported remote parties.† The 1970 helicopter supported operations concluded in Block 31 at Docker River about 7 October 1970.† The Block 22 measuring operations were initially led by Con Veenstra.† John Manning relieved Con Veenstra as field party leader for two separate periods during the 1970 field season.† VH-EXZ pilots during 1970 included Peter Berbakov, Trevor Haynes, Arthur Johnson, and George Rickey.

For measurements over the Simpson Desert in Block 22, the centre party was based from Birdsville, Bedourie, Boulia, Tobermory homestead, Plenty Downs homestead and Andado homestead.† Andado cattle station was a pastoral lease of some 10,800 square kilometres in the Northern Territory with further adjoining land south of the border in South Australia.† European occupation of the area dates from the 1880s.† It is said to be the largest privately held station in Australia.† In 1970, Andado was held by Malcom (Mac) and Molly Clark and their three sons Graham, Kevin and Philip; Mac Clark had managed the property since 1955.† The centre party camp was established about 500 metres south of the homestead.†

While shifting the centre party camp from Tobermory to Plenty Downs in late June 1970 the camp supply vehicle was badly damaged.† The front axle and steering tie rod on Bedford ZSU 277 were damaged beyond repair.† The vehicle was unavailable for the rest of the season.† Consequently, Bedford ZSU 278 then took on a dual role of both supply and fuel truck.†

Block 22 measuring was completed in 1970 with 18 survey control stations being coordinated.† Measuring in Block 17 had commenced in 1968 and was substantially completed during 1970 but a few further lines were measured in 1971.† Eventually a total of 22 stations were coordinated in Block 17.

For measurements in Block 17, the centre party was based at Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, and Willowra homestead.† The Willowra pastoral lease covered an area of about 5,400 square kilometres along the Lander River bordering on the Tanami Desert about 330 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs.† It was also home to a number of Warlpiri Aboriginal people who have since been granted freehold title to their land.† Willowra is now known as the Wirliyajarrayi community.

For the measuring in Block 31 in 1970, the centre party was based at the Papunya Aboriginal community about 240 kilometres west of Alice Springs; then at Ayers Rock (now Uluru); and finally at the Docker River Aboriginal community (now Kaltukatjara) about 230 kilometres west of Ayers Rock.† The Block 31 measuring was completed in 1970 with 9 survey control stations coordinated.

Tellurometer Connections from Tobermory

While the Aerodist centre party was based at Tobermory homestead in mid-June 1970, field party leader John Manning (and other field party members including Michael Lloyd and Scott Crossley) carried out two Tellurometer connections.† Both connections were to mile posts placed during the survey of the 138th meridian along the border between Queensland and the Northern Territory.† The Tellurometer connections were to define the positions of the Aerodist stations in relation to the border.† Tobermory homestead is located at 22 degrees 16 minutes 30 seconds south latitude and 137 degrees 58 minutes 26 seconds east longitude; about 2.9 kilometres west of the 256 miles and 29 chains post on the border.† Tobermory station was established in 1909 by Robert George Anderson, a Scot, and his wife Emma.† In 1970, this pastoral lease comprised some 5,944 square kilometres and was still operated by the Anderson family.† (The Scots spelling Tobermory has been used for the property, as it was on establishment in 1909.† However, on many recent maps the spelling Tobermorey is used.)

The 1970 Tellurometer work connected survey control stations NM/G/260 and NM/G/261 to nearby mile posts on Poeppelís 138th meridian border survey.† Details are not readily available of the actual border survey mile posts connected to the two Aerodist survey control stations.† However, NM/G/260 was about 480 metres west of the border near the 240 miles post that was placed in 1884.† NM/G/261 was around 200 to 300 metres west of the border near the 275 miles post that was placed in 1885.

The 138th meridian survey commenced in 1884 at the intersection of the present Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia borders at 26 degrees south latitude.† This intersection became known as Poeppel's Corner (now named Poeppel Corner). By the end of 1884, South Australian government surveyor Augustus Poeppel (1839-1891) had carried the survey north to the 250 miles post near the Toko Range.†

By 1 July 1885 Poeppelís survey had reached the 324 miles 10 chains post.† At this point Poeppel had lost sight in one eye and was replaced by another South Australian government surveyor John Carruthers.† Surveyor (and later explorer) Lawrence Allen (Larry) Wells OBE (1860-1938) was second-in-charge for both Poeppel and Carruthers.†

Owing to a problem with Poeppel's theodolite the 138th meridian line was run at about 359 degrees 58 minutes 30 seconds instead of true north.† This problem resulted in a discrepancy of about 600 metres into the Northern Territory by the time the border pegging reached the Gulf of Carpentaria in September 1886.

The area on the 138th meridian around where Tobermory homestead was later established is of some note in Australiaís surveying history.† In 1885, William Tully the then Queensland Surveyor-General (1875-1889) instructed government surveyor Cecil Twisden-Bedford to check the accuracy of Poeppelís 138th meridian survey.†

In August 1885 Twisden-Bedford commenced his survey traverse from the post and telegraph reserve at Boulia.† Twisden-Bedford then traversed some 147 miles west of Boulia to connect to Poeppelís border survey at the 255 miles post and at the 255 miles 77 chains post in February 1886.†

In 1887, Queensland government surveyors Robert Hoggan and Robert McDowall carried out observations at the post and telegraph station in Boulia that fixed the longitude of Twisden-Bedford's initial starting point.† The method they used was an exchange of time signals on the electric telegraph between the Brisbane Observatory and the Boulia telegraph office close to Twisden-Bedford's traverse start point.†

Cecil Twisden-Bedford's survey revealed that the mile posts placed during the border survey were accurate.† Thus surveys that involved using longitude determined by electronic means were undertaken in the Boulia-Tobermory area in 1885-1887, over 80 years before the Aerodist survey in the area.†

Aircraft Incident at Boulia

While operating from Boulia in mid-June 1970 there was an incident on approach to landing with aircraft VH-EXZ.† It was late in the day after a long measuring flight over the northern part of the Simpson Desert.† On final approach to Boulia airstrip one of the engines on VH-EXZ failed.† The relatively inexperienced pilot appeared to become a little flustered as the aircraft began to sink unexpectedly.† Fortunately the pilot responded to field party leader John Manningís imploring to increase power on the remaining engine.† The aircraft landed in tact albeit rather roughly.† It transpired that the engine failure was due to fuel starvation.† The pilot had neglected to sufficiently transfer fuel between the aircraft tanks during the flight.

Emergency Landing at Alice Springs

While operating from Willowra in August-September 1970, aircraft VH-EXZ became due for a major 100-hourly service.† En route to Melbourne for this service the aircraft was scheduled to land at Alice Springs.† It was a notable landing.† On final approach to the Alice Springs airport with other air traffic in the circuit one of the engines on VH-EXZ failed.† The pilot was the very experienced George Rickey who immediately declared an emergency and brought the aircraft down in a perfectly smooth landing on the remaining engine.† It was later found that the studs on one of the cylinder heads had failed.† That engine was replaced at Alice Springs.

Helicopter Support in 1970

Helicopter support was provided for measuring operations in Blocks 17, 22 and 31 during 1970.† For this purpose a Hughes 500 369HS helicopter (VH-BLO) was chartered from Jayrow Helicopters Pty Ltd based at Melbourneís Moorabbin airport.† Later in the field season another Jayrow Hughes 500 helicopter (VH-BLN) replaced VH-BLO.† Helicopter pilots were Vic Barkell, Peter Clemence (Jayrow chief pilot), Cliff Dohle and Lloyd Knight.† The helicopter engineers included Peter Smart (Jayrow chief engineer), Dave King, Terry Gadsen and Jim Marsh.† Helicopter VH-BLO is shown on task in the Simpson Desert during 1970 in Image 24 below.

Norm Hawker ran the 1970 field season helicopter support camps.† Helicopter supported operations were conducted into the Simpson Desert in Block 22 from bases at Birdsville, a fly camp west of Glengyle homestead, Bedourie, Boulia, survey control station NM/B/293 about 100 kilometres west of Boulia, Tobermory homestead, survey control station NM/G/265 about 45 kilometres south-east of Tarlton Downs homestead, survey control station NM/G/270 about 15 kilometres south-west of new Jervois homestead, and at Andado homestead.†

The Aerodist measuring work was then conducted over central and southern parts of the Northern Territory in Blocks 17 and 31 from helicopter bases at Alice Springs, Aileron, a fly camp at The Granites, Tennant Creek, a fly camp on the DE level traverse west of Tennant Creek, Willowra homestead, Yuendumu, Ayers Rock and Docker River.†

While operating from the Docker River base on 2 October 1970 helicopter VH-BLN became unserviceable and required an engine replacement.† The aircraft was not available again until 6 October 1970.† In the interim, action was taken to recover some of the remote parties by vehicle and resupply another by an air drop.† Please refer to Appendix C for more details.

Image 24: Helicopter VH-BLO on stand-by at Aerodist remote station in Simpson Desert 1970 (Carl McMaster image)

 

1970 Aerodist Measuring in Block 15 Queensland and New South Wales

The final Aerodist measuring task in 1970 was to fix the positions of seven supplementary control stations and State Permanent Mark 6835 in the western and south-western part of Block 15 in western Queensland and western New South Wales.† The seven Nat Map stations had been established a short time earlier in 1970 by a ground marking field party nominally under Nat Map senior surveyor Bill Witzand.†

Aerodist measuring operations started west of Charleville in the week commencing Monday 9 November 1970.† Measuring operations were concluded at Broken Hill by Friday 20 November 1970.† During this measuring task the field party was led by Con Veenstra.† The centre party was based at Charleville and Broken Hill.† The measuring aircraft pilot was Arthur Johnson.† The remote parties were vehicle based.† Measuring in Block 15 had commenced in 1968 and at the end of 1970 Aerodist measuring was complete with a total of 14 survey control stations coordinated in Block 15.

At the conclusion of measuring operations Ted Rollo (1944-1997) led the vehicle based field party members back to Melbourne.

1970 Aerodist Measuring Party Members included:

Con Veenstra

John Manning

George Eustice

Ed Burke

Carl McMaster

Mick Skinner

Terry Mulholland

Bob Lucas

Norm Hawker

Paul McCormack

Ted Rollo

Lawrie OíConnor

Peter Bach

Graeme Lawrence

Scott Crossley

Ian Ogilvie

Ken Manypenny

Michael Lloyd

Laurie McLean

Derrick Hatley (resigned at Bedourie in early June 1970)

Ted Graham (short period only around Andado)

Neville Stonehouse

Frank Ayers

Grahame Arnold (short period only)

 

 

Chapter 13-1971 Field Season

During Aerodist measuring operations in Blocks 17, 18, 19, 21, 23 and 30 in 1971 a total of 254 lines were measured and the positions of 40 survey control stations determined.† A number of spot photographs of survey stations were also captured.

1971 Aerodist Measuring in Block 30 in Central New South Wales

The 1971 Aerodist measuring operations commenced in central New South Wales where the positions of control stations in the new Aerodist Block 30 were to be fixed in the Dubbo area.† During this operation a total of five survey control stations were coordinated in Block 30.† The 1971 measuring operation was led by Con Veenstra.† The remote parties were vehicle based.† The five supplementary control stations that were fixed in this operation had been established and the surrounding trig stations cleared between 25 March and 8 April 1971.† This work was done by a field party led by Simon Cowling.

After completing the measuring in Block 30, the Aerodist field party headed for Rabbit Flat in the Northern Territory.† For this vehicle journey the field party was led by Frank Johnston.† Rabbit Flat was an isolated roadhouse on the Tanami Track about 600 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs.† It was established from bare ground in 1969 by local stockman Bruce Farrands and his French-born wife Jackie.† The Farrands built up and lived at their establishment on a 5-acre special lease.† They operated the roadhouse until it closed in December 2010.

1971 Aerodist Measuring in Blocks 17, 19, and 21 in Northern Territory and Western Australia

Prior to the commencement of measuring in these blocks an advance party positioned helicopter fuel in the Great Sandy and Tanami Deserts.† This fuel positioning was undertaken with support from the helicopter contracted for the measuring operations.† The advance party comprised Norm Hawker, Simon Cowling, Brian Shaddick and Laurie McLean.† It left Melbourne on 4 May and arrived at Halls Creek on 18 May 1971.† The advance party members travelled in two International C1300s (ZSU 290 and ZSU 353) and Bedford ZSU 339.† Initial fuel positioning flights were made from Halls Creek, Christmas Creek homestead and survey control station NM/G/132 north-west of Vaughan Springs homestead in May 1971.†

Between 17 June and 26 August 1971, Aerodist measuring operations were carried out in Blocks 17, 19, and 21.† Field party leaders were Con Veenstra, John Manning, and Frank Johnston.† The measuring aircraft was Executive Air Servicesí VH-EXZ.† Pilots were Arthur Johnson and Graham Galliott.

The centre party was based at Rabbit Flat from 17 June 1971 to mid-July 1971.† Here John Manning relieved Con Veenstra as field party leader.† The centre party then shifted briefly to Halls Creek.† From about 26 July until 16 August 1971 the centre party was based at Christmas Creek homestead.† Here Frank Johnston relieved John Manning as party leader.† Frank led the Aerodist field party until handing over to Con Veenstra at Cairns at the end of September 1971.† Height checks to verify the altimeter in VH-EXZ were flown at Rabbit Flat and Christmas Creek.

Christmas Creek was a pastoral lease of some 890 square kilometres located south of the Great Northern Highway on the northern fringe of the Great Sandy Desert.† It was about 210 kilometres by road west of Halls Creek.† In 1971 the property was run by the Emanuel family.† The lease area was claimed by Kurungal claimants under Native Title legislation in 1998 and is now known as Wankatjunka.† From the 16 to 21 August 1971 the centre party was again based at Halls Creek.† From 20 August 1971 to 28 August 1971 the centre party was based at Balgo Mission.

Balgo Mission (Wirrimanu community) was established in 1939 by clergymen from a German-based branch of the Roman Catholic Pallottine Order (formally known as the Society of the Catholic Apostolate).† Founding Balgo clergymen were Father Francis HŁgel, Brother Joseph SchŁngel and Brother Henry Krallmann.† The Mission was located on the northern fringe of the Great Sandy Desert and the western edge of the Tanami Desert about 275 kilometres south of Halls Creek.† The Mission later included Sisters from the Order of St John of God.† Balgo became an Aboriginal community as distinct from being a mission in 1984.

At Balgo Mission in late August 1971 the Aerodist caravan workshop body was placed on to an International C1600 truck (ZSU 374).† This arrangement was necessary due to the failure of the caravan body supporting framework.† Ted Graham (Nat Map 1969-1981) had flown back to Melbourne from Fitzroy Crossing earlier in August to collect the C1600 and drive it to Balgo Mission.† The then superintendent of the Roman Catholic Pallottine Order mission, Father Ray Hevern kindly arranged for staff from the mission workshop to undertake much of the caravan mounting work.

A Hughes 500 369HS helicopter (VH-UHO) chartered from Sydney based Helicopter Utilities supported the 1971 Aerodist field operations.† During this helicopter contract there were two helicopter pilots; namely Harvey Else who started and finished the contract and Brian Harriss who relieved Harvey in the interim.† The helicopter engineers were Jack Fackrell, Frank Summers and John More.

Helicopter supported Aerodist measuring activities commenced around 21 June 1971 from helicopter bases at survey control station NM/G/132, Rabbit Flat, survey control station NM/F/595 near Balgo Mission, and from a fly camp at survey control station NM/F/366 in the Great Sandy Desert about 120 kilometres south of Christmas Creek homestead.† After NM/F/366, the next helicopter camp was in the Point Moody area of the Great Sandy Desert about 120 kilometres south of Balgo Mission; it operated from 12 to 28 August 1971.

The helicopter support camp operated from survey station NM/F/366 south of Christmas Creek homestead from 26 July to 7 August 1971.† While there helicopter VH-UHO had two periods of unserviceability.† The first period was due to the failure of tail rotor bearings on Tuesday 27 July 1971.† After this matter was attended to the helicopter resumed operational flying on Friday 30 July 1971.† However, between Saturday 31 July 1971 and Thursday 5 August 1971 the aircraft was again unserviceable while the compressor was replaced.† This helicopter unserviceability situation required the ground recovery of remote parties from survey control stations in the Great Sandy Desert.† Please refer to Appendix C for more details.

Measuring activities in Blocks 17, 19, and 21 ceased on 28 August 1971.† The Aerodist field party then travelled from the Balgo Mission area via Rabbit Flat and Alice Springs towards Camooweal that was to be the base for further measuring operations in Block 18.

1971 Aerodist Ground Marking in Blocks 19 and 21

During Aerodist measuring activities in July 1971, surveyor Andrew Turk led a sub-party that established four supplementary control stations along the 19 degrees south parallel.† NM/F/425 and NM/F/426 were placed at 125 degrees 30 minutes east and at 126 degrees 30 minutes east respectively.† Both of these stations in Block 21 were established by helicopter access from Christmas Creek homestead.† NM/F/426 and NM/F/427 were placed at 127 degrees 30 minutes east and at 128 degrees 30 minutes east respectively.† Both of these stations in Block 19 were established by helicopter access from Halls Creek.

At the end of the 1971 operations, measuring in Blocks 17 and 19 was complete.† A total of 22 Aerodist stations had been coordinated in Block 17 (most in earlier years); and 16 stations in Block 19.† An initial 5 stations were coordinated in Block 21 where measuring was completed in 1972.

Vehicle Accident Bedford ZSU 311 Stuart Highway Northern Territory

An advance vehicle party made up of the supply and fuel trucks (Bedfords ZSU 311 and ZSU 339) departed Alice Springs en route to Camooweal about midday on Friday 3 September 1971.† Sometime later, when a few kilometres south of Ti Tree roadhouse on the Stuart Highway Bedford ZSU 311 was badly damaged in a single vehicle accident; see Image 25 below.† The left rear tyre on the vehicle suffered a blow out and the driver Brian Shaddick lost control.† The vehicle then completely overturned and came to rest back on its wheels.† The vehicle finished at almost a right angle to the Stuart Highway partially blocking the north bound carriageway.† Fortunately Brian Shaddick was not severely injured.† Although he was badly shaken and suffered numerous cuts and bruises, Brian was able to continue driving a day or so later; albeit in Bedford ZSU 339.

With assistance from Constable Geoff Shervill of the Ti Tree police station, Laurie McLean driving Bedford ZSU 339 managed to drag the damaged truck off the highway and into the scrub.† A considerable clean up and repacking task ensued as the still-needed undamaged equipment was transferred to the fuel truck (Bedford ZSU 339).† On Saturday 4 September 1971, party leader Frank Johnston arranged for the recovery of the badly damaged ZSU 311 to Alice Spring and for a Northern Territory Administration truck to take surplus to current requirements equipment and other material to Alice Springs.† The Aerodist party then continued towards Camooweal.

Image 25: Bedford ZSU 311 after 1971 accident on Stuart Highway (Oz Ertok image)

 

1971 Aerodist Measuring in Block 18 in Northern Territory and Queensland

Between 6 and 17 September 1971 measuring operations were continued on the Barkly Tableland in Aerodist Block 18 (measuring commenced in this block in 1970).† By the end of the 1971 work at total of Aerodist 18 stations had been coordinated in Block 18 and measuring there was complete.† The 1971 field party leader was Frank Johnston.† As usual measuring aircraft was Executive Air Servicesí VH-EXZ with pilot Graham Galliott.† The centre party was based at Camooweal for this work.

Helicopter support was initially provided with a Hughes 500 (VH-UHO) chartered from Sydney based Helicopter Utilities.† The helicopter pilot was Harvey Else and the helicopter engineer was John More.† Helicopter operations were based from survey control station NM/B/245 near Lake Nash homestead on the Northern Territory-Queensland border.† The helicopter support camp was run by Lawrie OíConnor.

Damage to Helicopter VH-UHO

On Saturday 11 September 1971, the compressor on VH-UHO failed on take-off and the flexing of the main rotor blades after the forced landing cut off the tail boom; the tail rotor shattered as it struck the ground.† There were no injuries to pilot Harvey Else or to Nat Map staff.† Owing to this unserviceability of VH-UHO some of the remote parties had to be recovered by vehicle transport.† For further brief details please see Appendix C.

A Bell 206A Jet Ranger (VH-ANC) replaced the Hughes aircraft a couple of days later.† VH-ANC supported Aerodist operations until 17 September 1971 when the some of the vehicles started heading to Cairns.† (Harvey Else and John More continued as the helicopter pilot and engineer respectively.)

Connection to 1885 Survey on Queensland-Northern Territory Border

On Saturday 18 September 1971, a Tellurometer connection was made from survey station NM/G/166 to the post at 480 miles 400 links on the Northern Territory-Queensland border to the north-west of Camooweal.† The Nat Map survey sub-parties involved in this connection were led by Frank Johnston.† These sub-parties were vehicle based.† This survey took place while the centre party was still based at Camooweal after Aerodist measuring was concluded.

The border post mileage above referred to the distance from Poeppel's Corner (now named Poeppel Corner) at the intersection of the present day borders of the Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland. This corner was the starting point for surveyor August Poeppelís survey along the 138 degree meridian.† Poeppel started this survey in 1884 but due to an eye injury he was replaced by surveyor John Carruthers in 1885.† By November 1885 the survey had reached the 517 mile post.† The survey was completed in September 1886.† The westward extension of the Colony of Queensland from 141 degrees east to 138 degrees east had been affected by letters patent issued by Queen Victoria on 13 March 1862.† However, the Queensland-Northern Territory border was not formalised in Commonwealth legislation until 1911.

1971 Aerodist Measuring and Station Establishment in Block 23-Coral Sea Survey

During October 1971, Aerodist station establishment and measuring operations were undertaken in the Coral Sea and Torres Strait in the northern part of Aerodist Block 23 from Cairns to Daru and out to Willis Island.† The field party leader was Con Veenstra.† As usual, the measuring aircraft was Executive Air Servicesí VH-EXZ with pilots Arthur Johnson and Graham Galliott.†

Station establishment activities were conducted on offshore features such as reefs, cays and islets in conjunction with Aerodist measuring operations.† The offshore features that were occupied included: Bougainville Reef (NM/OS/17), Willis Island (NM/OS/19), Raine Island (NM/OS/28), Holmes Reef (NM/OS/18), Chilcott Islet (NM/OS/10), Osprey Reef (NM/OS/23), Lizard Island (NM/OS/24), Gabba Island, Maer Island (NM/OS/29), Daru Island and the Milman survey station on Thursday Island.† Some ten survey stations were established.† Aerodist remote operations at Chilcott Islet during this survey are shown in Image 26 below.

Measuring in Block 23 had commenced in 1966 and the extent of the final Aerodist offshore network in the northern part of the block at the end of 1971 is shown in Figure 11 below. By the end of the 1971 Aerodist operations a total of 37 control stations had been coordinated in this block. Some 160 Aerodist lines were measured in Block 23 with a few lines exceeding 230 miles (370 kilometres) in length (McMaster, 1980).

Aerodist measuring operations in Block 23 were undertaken from 28 September 1971 to 26 October 1971.† The centre party was based at Cairns from 23 September 1971 until 12 October 1971.† It was then based from Cooktown until 19 October 1971 when the measuring aircraft moved base to Horn Island.† VH-EXZ flew out of Horn Island until 27 October 1971.† During the period of flying from Horn Island, centre party personnel were accommodated on nearby Thursday Island.† They commuted to the airstrip on Horn Island by boat.

Image 26: Nat Mapper John Ely operating an Aerodist remote unit on Chilcott Islet (NM/OS/10) in the Coral Sea on 30 September 1971 (Dave Abreu image)

Offshore operations were supported by Department of Transport Navaids vessels principally MV Cape Pillar under Captain Gordon Maxwell and also MV Cape Moreton.† Owing to crew change requirements the MV Cape Moreton was later replaced by the MV Cape Don.† Each of these 2,000 ton vessels was equipped with a Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo (LARC) as well a launch.† These smaller vessels greatly assisted the Nat Map station establishment and remote parties with landings on the various reefs and islets.† MV Cape Pillar is shown in Image 27 below.

During the survey and particularly during landings and station marking on reefs and islets, Nat Map personnel received considerable and willing hands-on assistance from the crews of the Department of Transport LARCS and launches.† The crews of these small vessels were adept at selecting camping sites to suit prevailing sea and wind conditions.† These seamen also had considerable experience and much useful equipment to undertake tasks that greatly assisted the Nat Map surveys.† These tasks included erecting scaffolds and observing platforms; driving piles to provide bases for station marks; and mixing and applying special quick drying cement.† Nat Mappers greatly appreciated the professional seamanship of the Navaids vessels officers and crewmen and the ready support given by the small vessels seamen.†

The MV Cape Moreton and the MV Cape Pillar both departed Cairns on 27 September to start sea-borne operations.† The MV Cape Pillar ferried Nat Map personnel back to Thursday Island at the conclusion of the survey.† This vessel departed Thursday Island about 1000 on 27 October 1971.† It docked at Cairns at about 0800 the next day to unload Nat Map personnel, stores and equipment.

Image 27: MV Cape Pillar one of the three Department of Transport Navaids vessels used during the 1971 Aerodist survey in the Coral Sea (Nat Map image)

 

A Bell 47J2-A helicopter (VH-THH) supported positioning of the Aerodist remote unit party on Cape York.† That field sub-party comprised Eddie Ainscow, Laurie McLean and Laurie OíConnor.† The helicopter was supplied by Adelaide based Australian Helicopters; the pilot was Keith McKenzie and the engineer was Roy Rayner (1930-1981).† This remote party occupied survey stations: South Saddle (vehicle from Cairns); Piebald-B065 (from Cooktown); Conspicuous-B069 and Kintore-B072 (from Marina Plains); and after transiting through Coen occupied Mt Tozer-B077 and Briscoe-B080 (from Iron Range); apart from South Saddle, the survey stations were accessed by helicopter.

A Cessna 402 light twin engine fixed-wing aeroplane was used to position an Aerodist remote and Tellurometer survey party on to Lizard Island.† The aircraft was chartered from Bush Pilots Airways in Cairns.† This field party included Ted Graham and Dave Abreu and was ferried to Lizard Island early on the morning of Sunday 10 October 1971. †

Here the field party had about a three-hour walk and climb to position their equipment on to the highest point on the island that was some 359 metres (1,178 feet) above sea level.† The sub-party established NM/OS/24 on Lizard Island, measured several Aerodist lines, made a Tellurometer connection and conducted local surveys.† The sub-party was ferried to Iron Range on 19 October 1971 in the Bush Pilots Cessna 402.

Disaster Averted at Cairns

Initially Arthur Johnson was the sole pilot of fixed-wing aircraft VH-EXZ for the Block 23 Aerodist measuring operation.† Arthur had retired from the Royal Australian Navy in early 1970 with the rank of Lieutenant-Commander after 13 years of service.† To avoid exceeding his mandated flying hours on the long flights during this Coral Sea survey, Arthur asked his company to send a relief pilot.† However, Executive Air Servicesí owner Jim Wilson decided to engage a local Cairns-based commercial pilot for a few flights.

Unfortunately this arrangement came very close to a disaster.† The first flight by the local relief pilot was a short Aerodist height check at Cairns airport on Wednesday 6 October 1971.† Fortunately, Arthur Johnson decided to go along as a passenger in the right side seat to satisfy himself that the relief pilot was up to the task.†

VH-EXZ needed about 3,500 feet of runway to reach a safe take-off speed.† As the aircraft picked up speed down the runway, the new relief pilot rotated the aircraft into the take-off attitude as usual prior to reaching take-off speed.† The pilot then inexplicably retracted all three wheels in the undercarriage before the aircraft had reached take-off speed.† This left the aircraft in a very precarious situation: it was moving fast but was barely above the runway.† Arthur Johnson took command in an instant and moved the throttles and engine boost settings to their absolute safe maximum levels.† Somehow VH-EXZ wallowed and staggered into the air.† It was a very close call indeed with disaster averted only by Arthur Johnsonís decisive action.† Suffice to say Executive Air Services staff pilot Graham Galliott was soon on a flight from Melbourne to Cairns and he and Arthur Johnson shared the flying duty for the rest of the Block 23 survey.

 

Figure 11: Nat Map northern Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea Aerodist network at end October 1971 (prepared by Paul Wise 2015)

 

1971 Aerodist Measuring Party Members included:

Con Veenstra

John Manning

Frank Johnston

Simon Cowling

Andrew Turk

Paul Wise

Andrew Greenall

Carl McMaster

John Ely

Mick Skinner

Ozcan Ertok

Terry Mulholland

Norm Hawker

Ted Rollo

Lawrie OíConnor

Peter Bach

Brian Shaddick

Michael Lloyd

Peter Salkowski

Ted Graham

Peter Blake

Roy Turner

Neville Stonehouse (Neville Peter Stonehouse circa 1938-30 June 2008)

Laurie McLean

Bob Goldsworthy

Noel Goldsworthy

Dave Abreu

Eddie Ainscow

 

 

Chapter 14-1972 Field Season

During Aerodist marking and measuring operations in all areas in 1972 a total of 517 lines were measured and the positions of 80 survey control stations determined.† A number of spot photographs of survey stations were also captured.†

1972 Aerodist Ground Marking in Blocks 28 and 37 in Western Australia

Prior to measuring operations in Blocks 28 and 37, Paul Wise led the main element of Aerodist field party from Melbourne to the BP John Eyre Motel on the Eyre Highway at Caiguna in Western Australia.† The field party left Melbourne on Monday 6 March 1972 but then spent eight days in Adelaide.†

The stopover in Adelaide was necessary to have repairs made to rectify some major defects in a number of vehicles.† The defects were such that vehicles were not fit to embark on an extended field survey season off-road in isolated remote areas.† These defects had mostly been known at the close of the previous field season but had not been attended to while the vehicles were garaged in Melbourne for several months.† For example, two of the cabin mounts on Bedford ZSU 339 were broken and the front brake drums on that vehicle were eccentric and caused severe shuddering of the vehicle under braking.† Land Rover ZSM 919 needed the left side front and rear road springs replaced as spring sag caused the vehicle to lean excessively.† Critical defects were attended to in some of the other vehicles.† The Department of Supply facility at Finsbury carried out timely repairs to all vehicles in an expert manner and to the highest standard.

The field party arrived at Caiguna on 20 March 1972.† Soon after, Paul Wise together with Brian Shaddick and Peter Blake in Land Rover ZSM 919 and International C1300 ZSU 289 established three new Aerodist stations in Block 37.† These stations were: NM/F/657 (32 degrees 55 minutes south latitude and 124 degrees 28 minutes east longitude), NM/F/658 (32 degrees 44 minutes south latitude and 125 degrees 1 minute east longitude) and NM/F/659 (32 degrees 29 minutes south latitude and 125 degrees 37 minutes east longitude).† The stations were located in the Mallee scrub to the south-east and to the south-west of Caiguna.†

The stations were generally near the route of the Albany to Eucla overland telegraph line that opened in 1877.† Some old telegraph poles were still standing.† Cable wires from the old line were still visible on the ground and were an obstacle that the vehicle drivers had to avoid.†

A little while later Nat Mapper Bob Goldsworthy (1939-1985) arrived at Caiguna with a marking sub-party to establish three new control stations on the 123 degrees east meridian in Block 28.† Bobís sub-party drew on some of the Nat Mappers at Caiguna and included Noel Goldsworthy, Eddie Ainscow, Dave Abreu and Ted Graham.† This sub-party established NM/F/642 at 27 degrees 30 minutes south latitude; NM/F/666 at 26 degrees 30 minutes south latitude; and NM/F/677 on Lake Minigwal at 29 degrees 30 minutes south latitude.

Featherstonhaugh Reconnaissance

Also soon after arrival at Caiguna, Lawrie OíConnor and Laurie McLean headed north in Land Rover ZSM 920.† Their task was to carry out a reconnaissance of an airstrip that was thought to exist near Featherstonhaugh Hill over 700 kilometres north of Caiguna.† The purpose of the journey was to establish if there was such an airstrip and if it was suitable for an Aerodist centre party base.† The measuring aircraft (Grand Commander VH-EXZ) required a minimum strip length of 3,500 feet.†

A few days north of Caiguna having passed Neale Junction and getting close to the objective, disaster struck the reconnaissance party.† When climbing the only difficult sand ridge on the entire route the rear differential of the Land Rover failed and all vehicle motion ceased.† Lawrie OíConnor soon removed both the axle drive shafts from the axle housing of the broken rear differential.† Both party members then dug a track for several metres in the loose sand so the vehicle would be able to gain sufficient momentum to reverse down the sand ridge driven by its front wheels only.†

The vehicle was then driven (by Lawrie OíConnor) in front wheel drive to Laverton where Nat Mappers Michael Lloyd and Reg Kearns were waiting with a replacement differential they had brought from Kalgoorlie.† Lawrie OíConnor who was a qualified and experienced A Grade motor mechanic fitted the new differential to Land Rover ZSM 920 on Saturday 27 March 1972.†

Subsequently the reconnaissance party returned to the Featherstonhaugh Hill area and located the airstrip at coordinates 26 degrees 57 minutes south latitude and 126 degrees 19 minutes east longitude.† It was suitable for Aerodist use and the centre party was later based there from mid-June to mid July 1972.† While the centre party was at Featherstonhaugh Andrew Turk fabricated a clearing drag from a piece of chain wire fencing and some Mulga logs.† The drag was towed behind a vehicle to remove bunch grass and other light vegetation regrowth from the surface of the strip.

1972 Aerodist Measuring in Blocks 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 32, 33 and 37 in Western Australia

The 1972 Aerodist field season brought a significant change to operations with the introduction of two helicopters for the positioning of remote parties.† This change afforded an improved safety margin for operations in the Great Victoria, Gibson, Little Sandy and Great Sandy Deserts and on the Nullarbor Plain.† There was a much reduced risk of remote parties being stranded on survey control stations following a helicopter unserviceability event.† As it transpired, both helicopters were available when required throughout the field season.

Perhaps not entirely coincidently, operations during 1972 achieved the most number of lines ever measured in a field season.† The field party, the Aerodist equipment and the measuring aircraft and helicopters all worked well.† The measuring of 517 Aerodist lines during the 1972 field season concluded the original Aerodist program.† However, further Aerodist work on supplementary control projects continued in 1973 and 1974; details of these projects are provided for the relevant field seasons below.

Aerodist measuring operations commenced from Caiguna on 8 April 1972 using vehicle based remote parties in Blocks 32 and 37. Measuring operations concluded from Kalgoorlie again using vehicle based remote parties in Block 33 during the week ending Friday 24 November 1972. During 1972, survey control stations were coordinated as follows: Block 21: 4 stations (making a total of 9 stations in the block after earlier work in 1971); Block 24: 12 stations; Block 25: 10 stations; Block 26: 21 stations; Block 27: 4 stations; Block 28: 9 stations; Block 29: 7 stations; Block 32: 5 stations; and Block 33: 5 stations. Apart from Block 21, the measuring in these blocks commenced and was completed in 1972. Also, measuring commenced in Block 37 with an initial 3 stations coordinated but further work was to come in this block in 1973. †

During 1972, survey control stations were coordinated as follows: Block 21: 4 stations (making a total of 9 stations in the block after earlier work in 1971); Block 24: 12 stations; Block 25: 10 stations; Block 26: 21 stations; Block 27: 4 stations; Block 28: 9 stations; Block 29: 7 stations; Block 32: 5 stations; and Block 33: 5 stations.† The measuring in all these blocks was commenced and completed in 1972.† Also, measuring commenced in Block 37 with an initial 3 stations coordinated but further work was to come in this block in 1973.

In 1972, field party leaders were Frank Johnston and Peter Langhorne.† As usual the measuring aircraft was Executive Air Servicesí Grand Commander VH-EXZ.† Fixed-wing pilots included Ken Stewart, John South and Trevor Merton.

The centre party was based at Caiguna from 6 April to 27 April 1972 when it shifted base north to Rawlinna on the Trans-Australia train line.† From here measuring operations continued in Blocks 28 and 29.† On 15 May 1972 the Aerodist party regrouped in Kalgoorlie.† Here Peter Langhorne relieved Frank Johnston as field party leader.† About 2 June 1972 the centre party moved its base to Laverton and continued measuring to the east in Block 28 and north into Block 26.† Around 24 June 1972 the centre party moved to a camp at Featherstonhaugh airstrip (26 degrees 57 minutes south latitude and 126 degrees 19 minutes east longitude).† The airstrip was about 140 kilometres by road south of Warburton Mission and about 480 kilometres north-east of Laverton.† From Featherstonhaugh airstrip Aerodist measuring operations continued in Blocks 26, 27 and later into Block 25.

Helicopter Support in 1972

To support the bulk of the 1972 measuring program, two Hughes 500 369HS helicopters (VH-BLN and VH-BLO) were chartered from Jayrow Helicopters Pty Ltd based at Melbourneís Moorabbin airport.† Helicopter support commenced from the camp at survey control station R199 on about 5 May 1972 and concluded from Forrest about 11 November 1972.† The two aircraft were used in the field simultaneously to improve operational safety and efficiency by reducing aircraft unserviceability risk.† Each aircraft operated independently but usually from the same base.† Each helicopter was required to lift a load (men and equipment) of 800 pounds for up to 80 nautical miles from base and return without refuelling.†

Image 28: Bill Forster operating an Aerodist remote unit on the Trans-Australia train line on the fringe of the Nullarbor Plain in 1972 (Ted Graham image)

 

In 1972, the helicopters operated from fly camp bases mainly at survey control stations, namely: R199 on the Connie Sue Highway about 190 kilometres north of Rawlinna, NM/F/677 (Lake Minigwal) about 110 kilometres south-east of Laverton, NM/F/446 about 300 kilometres east of Laverton, and R 208 about 50 kilometres north of Neale Junction, at broken axle camp about 27 degrees 17 minutes south and 127 degrees 20 minutes east on a level traverse south-east of Sulphur Knob in the Great Victoria Desert, at NM/F/17 Mt Samuel, near NM/F/25 Mt Johnson, at Carnegie homestead, near Mt Eureka about 150 kilometres east of Wiluna, from Wiluna, at Balfour Downs homestead, at Kidson Field airstrip, from a fly camp on the WAPET Kidson track at Lake Auld near NM/F/187, at NM/F/246 MacDougall Knoll about 160 kilometres south of Kidson Field (and about 140 kilometres north of Everard Junction), at NM/F/602 on the Gunbarrel Highway in the Van Der Linden Lakes area about 145 kilometres west of Giles Weather Station, from the Blyth airstrip centre party camp, at NM/F/644 about 110 kilometres north of Loongana on the Trans-Australia rail line, and from Forrest.† (WAPET was an acronym for the oil company Western Australian Petroleum Pty Ltd.)

During 1972, helicopter pilots included: Cliff Dohle, Vic Barkell, Howard Bosse, Terry Ellis, Peter Clemence and Phil Cooke.† Engineers included: Dave King and Eckhart Schneider.† Helicopter support camps were run by Paul Wise, Andrew Dyson, and Andrew Greenall.† Laurie McLean ran a few of the camps (NM/F/677, Mt Eureka and NM/F/644) on an ad hoc basis to meet operational needs.

Field Repair to VH-EXZ

The helicopters were supported in the field by a licensed aircraft engineer who remained with the Nat Map field party throughout the contract.† However, the pilots of the Grand Commander fixed-wing aircraft were not so fortunate.† In the bush camps and elsewhere they had to do their own daily maintenance and inspections of the aircraft.† VH-EXZ was usually flown back to Melbourne for the major 100-hourly services.†

In the bush, the pilot also had to refuel the fixed-wing by hand-pumping from 44 gallon drums of 130 octane Avgas.† Of course, Nat Mappers would normally assist with the pumping and associated refuelling tasks (positioning and opening fuel drums, working the hand pump, holding the fuel hose in to the inlets of the aircraft tanks, etc.)† But all this was done under the pilotís supervision so he could be satisfied with fuel quality and other safety matters such as the earthing of the pump, the drums and the fuel hose nozzle.

Late one afternoon at Featherstonhaugh, Laurie McLean was helping pilot John South refuel the aircraft.† Laurie was up on a ladder holding the hose nozzle into the centre tank.† He remarked to John about the burnt paint on the top of the port engine cover.† John immediately raised the engine cover to inspect and soon found a fairly large hole at the top of one of the exhaust stack pipes.† The hole had allowed hot exhaust gases to escape upwards and burn the paint off.† Worse, the hole was on the engine side of the exhaust gas temperature sensor causing the EGT gauge to give false cooler temperature readings to the pilot.† John remarked that he had wondered during the last flight why the engine was running so cool.† He had leaned out the fuel mixture to compensate and was very pleased that his reaction to the false readings had not resulted in major engine damage.

But Johnís immediate task was to find a way of getting the aircraft serviceable.† John was a former Royal Air Force pilot and ever resourceful.† He was soon armed with two (Nat Map supplied) large radiator hose clamps, a screwdriver, a pair of tinsnips and an empty one gallon oil container.† (Fortunately in the 1970s such containers were still made of metal.)† By cutting the side out of the oil container John had sufficient metal to fashion a double thickness patch to cover the hole in the stack pipe.† He held the patch securely in place with the two hose clamps.† Johnís next flight was into Kalgoorlie to have the defective stack pipe replaced.† The flight went without further difficulty.†

Image 29: Hot water service at Featherstonhaugh Aerodist centre party camp in July 1972 (Ted Graham image)

 

Broken Axle Camp

The helicopter camp at about 27 degrees 17 minutes south and 127 degrees 20 minutes east near Sulphur Knob in the Great Victoria Desert operated from 1 to 8 July 1972.† The camp was about 110 kilometres south-east of the centre party base camp at Featherstonhaugh.† The site of this helicopter camp was on a level traverse and was not the planned location.† Rather it was a forced location that had to suffice.†

On 1 July, Laurie McLean in Bedford ZSU 339 and Reg Kearns in Land Rover ZSM 920 left the Featherstonhaugh centre party camp.† The Bedford was loaded with helicopter fuel, water and motor spirit.† The intention had been to continue north-east along the level traverse for about a further 60 kilometres or so past the eventual helicopter camp site.†

However, the fuel truck stopped when a rear axle half-shaft broke.† Thus the camp site was determined by fate.† Reg Kearns (a qualified motor mechanic who had served in Vietnam with the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) later fitted a replacement half shaft that had been ferried into the camp site.† The Bedford drove back to Featherstonhaugh on 8 July 1972 when the helicopter camp was being shifted northwards to Mt Samuel (NM/F/17).† Fuel truck Bedford ZSU 339 is shown operating a few weeks later between Carnegie homestead and Mt Samuel in Image 30 below.

Vehicle Accident Land Rover ZSM 920 track from Broken Axle Camp

As some of the Aerodist remote parties were moving out of the Sulphur Knob broken axle camp about 6 July 1972, the driver of Land Rover ZSM 920 inexplicably failed to avoid a large gutter across the track along the level traverse route.† The vehicle sustained extensive damage and was undriveable.† Fortunately neither of the two occupants, Reg Kearns and Bill Forster, was injured.† The vehicle was later recovered by Brian Shaddick and others in Bedford ZSU 311.† Brian took the damaged Land Rover to Kalgoorlie; it was not used again by Nat Map.

Operations from Carnegie Homestead

Around the end of July 1972, the centre party moved its base to a camp beside the airstrip at Carnegie homestead.† Carnegie station is located on the fringe of the Gibson Desert at the western end of the Gunbarrel Highway.† Carnegie is about 340 kilometres east of Wiluna.† Carnegie is a cattle property of about 390,000 hectares.

From the base at Carnegie homestead Aerodist measuring operations continued in Blocks 24 and 26.† While operating from Carnegie homestead the decision was taken to extend operations further to the north later in the 1972 field season.† Operations in the more northern area had been the subject of some preliminary planning.† Owing to the good measuring progress then being made, a firm commitment to move north was taken when at Carnegie.†

The preliminary nature of the earlier planning meant that logistical supplies (namely aircraft and helicopter fuels and motor spirit) had not been positioned in advance by the aircraft service contractors; as was usually the case.† The Aerodist field party would therefore have to position these logistical needs from within its own manpower and vehicle resources.† Some further details of this logistics task are provided in Appendix D.

Image 30: Fuel truck Bedford ZSU 339 and helicopter VH-BLN at NM/F/20 (Mt Beadell) on the Gunbarrel Highway Western Australia in July 1972 (Laurie McLean image)

 

The centre party moved from the Carnegie homestead camp to Wiluna on 23 August 1972.† Measuring in Block 24 from Wiluna continued until 2 September 1972.† The centre party then moved through Newman to a camp at Balfour Downs homestead.† Measuring operations into Blocks 24 and 26 from Balfour Downs homestead airstrip started on 6 September 1972.† Balfour Downs is a pastoral property in the East Pilbara about 130 kilometres north-east of Newman.† It is situated on the upper reaches of the Oakover River and borders on the Little Sandy Desert to the east.† Balfour Downs is a Crown lease of some 639 square kilometres.

The Lonely Desert

Even for feral wildlife the desert can be a lonely place.† On 26 September 1972 when returning to Wiluna from a fuel positioning run for Kidson Field, Laurie McLean and Garry Burriss were approached by a young camel.† They were travelling in the Bedford fuel truck (ZSU 339) and were some kilometres to the east of Carnegie homestead in the Gibson Desert.† The young camel was first sighted on the track a few hundred metres ahead of the truck.† When the camel heard the truck it turned around and started to trot towards it.†

When the vehicle stopped the camel eagerly sought the company of the two Nat Mappers in its search for nourishment; see Image 31 below.† The camel had apparently lost its mother but was still too young to drink water from a container.† Sadly it had to be left to fend for itself but followed the truck for some distance before tiring.† Fortunately the people at Carnegie were interested and soon rescued the young camel which was last seen thriving in the homestead yard.†

Image 31: Nat Mapper Garry Burris with orphaned camel in Gibson Desert September 1972 (Laurie McLean image)

 

Incidents at Balfour Downs

Several vehicles pulled up soon after dark one night while the Aerodist party was camped at Balfour Downs.† A number of men alighted from the vehicles and this group approached some Nat Mappers mingling near the camp fire.† Some alarming exchanges then took place, generally along the following lines: Whereís ya boss!† It was more a demand than a question.† Other there, someone said pointing out Frank Johnston.† You the boss?† Frank said he was.† Well what are you buggers doing on our claim then!

Apparently the visitors thought the large and well supported Nat Map survey party were mining claim jumpers.† Frank sought to allay the speakerís concerns by explaining who he and his party were and what they were doing.† While this seemed to ease the visitorsí concerns, it did not improve their civility.† The men promptly got back in their vehicles and left.

Also while at Balfour Downs Frank Johnston was approached by a well-known naturalist who sought to use one of the helicopters to assist in his quest to find the elusive night parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis).† Frank advised the naturalist to make his own arrangements with the helicopter company representatives (ie the pilots) in a few days time.† Nat Map would then be shifting camp to Kidson airstrip and would not be using the helicopters for a day or so.† The shift of camp was planned around the measuring aircraft being unavailable due to major servicing requirements.†

From Balfour Downs, Andrew Turk, Ted Rollo, Ross Stapleton and Michael Lloyd detached from the Aerodist field party to undertake surveys around Vlaming Head near Onslow and in the Monte Bello Islands.†

Move to Kidson Field

Measuring from Balfour Downs concluded on 26 September 1972.† Afterwards, aircraft VH-EXZ flew back to Melbourne for a major 100-hourly service.† Over the next few days Frank Johnston led the Aerodist field party on the vehicle journey to its next camp site.†

They travelled east along the Talawana Track via No 24 Well on the Canning Stock Route to Windy Corner on the so called Gary Highway.† From here the field party headed north to the former WAPET Canning Basin oil well airstrip at Kidson Field (22 degrees 41 minutes south latitude and 125 degrees 4 minutes east longitude); see Image 32 below.†

Image 32: Kidson Field airstrip looking east from taxiway in August 2010 (Laurie McLean image)

 

 

Image 33: Lake Auld helicopter camp in October 1972 (Carl McMaster image)

 

Kidson Field is located in the northern Gibson Desert about 680 kilometres along the WAPET Kidson track south-east of Wallal Downs on the Indian Ocean coast between Broome and Port Hedland.† The Aerodist centre party vehicles arrived at Kidson on 29 September 1972.

While the aircraft was away, the field party experienced daytime temperatures above 42 degrees Celsius.† Aircraft VH-EXZ did not return from Melbourne until 4 October 1972.† Peter Langhorne travelled into Kidson with the aircraft and relieved Frank Johnston as field party leader.†

Aerodist measuring operations in Blocks 24 and 25 were conducted from Kidson Field airstrip from 5 October to 19 October 1972.† The measuring included a number of lines in the southern section of Aerodist Block 21.† (Measuring in the northern part of this block had commenced the previous year.)†

While measuring from Kidson, helicopter support operations were based from a camp on the WAPET Sahara (Kidson) track at Lake Auld near survey control station NM/F/187; about 180 kilometres to the north-west of the Kidson airstrip; see Image 33 above. The helicopter camp was at this location from 30 September to about 11 October 1972.† (As mentioned previously, WAPET was an acronym for the oil company Western Australian Petroleum Pty Ltd.)

After Kidson Field

On 20 October 1972, after measuring from Kidson airstrip was complete, the centre party moved south to camp at an old Hunt Oil Company strip; see Image 34 below.† Neither this airstrip nor the tracks leading to it were then marked on the maps.† The track is now called the Heather Highway.† The so called Blyth airstrip was at a track junction in the north-east corner of the Yowalga R 502 map sheet (at 26 degrees 5 minutes south latitude and 125 degrees 50 minutes east longitude).† The Blyth airstrip was about 75 kilometres directly west of Warburton Mission and about 550 kilometres by road north-east of Laverton.† From the Blyth airstrip centre party base Aerodist measuring continued in Blocks 25, 27 and 29.†

Image 34: Aerodist centre party camp at Blyth airstrip October 1972 (Oz Ertok image)

 

About 12 October 1972, the helicopter camp shifted from Lake Auld to survey control station NM/F/246 at MacDougall Knoll about 160 kilometres south of Kidson Field on the Gary Highway.† Between 18 and 26 October 1972, the helicopter camp was located at survey control station NM/F/602 on the Gunbarrel Highway in the Van Der Linden Lakes area about 145 kilometres west of Giles Weather Station.

The centre party left the Blyth airstrip base around 26 October 1972.† The centre party then regrouped at Kalgoorlie where VH-EXZ operated between 27 October and 31 October 1972.† On 30 October 1972, John South relieved Trevor Merton as VH-EXZ pilot.†

From 31 October to 11 November 1972 the centre party was based at Forrest on the Trans-Australia train line.† From here Aerodist lines were measured in Block 27 as well as in Block 29.† While at Forrest, centre party personnel were accommodated at the Department of Civil Aviation hostel.† After the helicopter contract finished the Aerodist centre party was again based from Kalgoorlie from 11 November to 29 November 1972.†

Flood at NM/F/644 Helicopter Camp

The last helicopter camp was planned at NM/F/644 that was located about 110 kilometres north of Loongana siding on the Trans-Australia rail line.† The station was located on a bare limestone ridge to the north of the Nullarbor Plain.† The advance party (Laurie McLean and Garry Burris in Bedford ZSU 339 and Eddie Ainscow and Ron Williams in a Land Rover) arrived on 26 October 1972 to establish the camp.†

On arrival, the day time temperature was around 42-45 degrees Celsius.† The party members decided understandably to seek the meagre shade and shelter offered by some isolated light scrub below the exposed ridgeline.† A few nights later the reason why the isolated scrub existed became all too clear.† Without prior daylight warning, a heavy rain storm passed over the plain during the night.†

By the time the field party members realised the rain was much more than a shower it was too late.† After getting out of their swags in the pouring rain they were unable to shift the vehicles on the sodden ground.† Still the rain continued for some time and by daylight the camp site was flooded out and remained in a small lake for some days.† The situation that confronted the Nat Mappers next morning is shown in Image 35 below.† As a consequence of the flooding, helicopter operations were based at Forrest further to the south-east from about 3 to 6 November 1972.† Helicopter operations were later based at NM/F/644 from 6 to 9 November 1972.† The helicopters were again based from Forrest until the contract concluded on 11 November 1972.

Image 35: Helicopter camp at NM/F/644 after the flood October 1972 (Laurie McLean image)

 

About Forrest Airport

The small settlement of Forrest was named after Western Australian Surveyor-General and explorer John Forrest (1847-1918) who became a leading state and federal politician, namely Premier of Western Australia and a Commonwealth government minister.† The later Sir John became Lord Forrest of Bunbury.† Forrest is located on the Trans-Australia train line about 85 kilometres west of the Western Australia-South Australia border.†

The airport at Forrest dates from around 1929 after pioneer Australian aviator Norman Brearley (1890-1989) won a Commonwealth government tender in 1928 to carry mail, passengers and freight between Perth and Adelaide.† Brearley operated West Australian Airways Ltd.† In those days the flying time between Perth and Adelaide was about 16 hours.† Forrest was about half way between these two capitals.† Accordingly, facilities were established at Forrest, namely a hostel for passengers and aircrews to have overnight stopovers, an aircraft hangar and an aircraft refuelling depot.† (Norman Brearley CBE DSO MC AFC was knighted in 1971.)† When Nat Map was at Forrest in 1972 the then Department of Civil Aviation still operated the hostel but it has since closed.† A 1972 view of Forrest is shown in Image 36 below.

Image 36: Hangar and hostel at Forrest in 1972 (Oz Ertok image)

 

Marking, Measuring and Spot Photography in Block 33

After the helicopter contract concluded, the Aerodist field party regrouped in Kalgoorlie over the weekend of 11-12 November 1972.† Early the following week, the Aerodist field party commenced work in Block 33; a new block to the south-west of Kalgoorlie.† This work involved establishing five survey control stations and fixing their positions as well as the associated clearing of surrounding trigs.† At least 22 Aerodist lines were measured in this block.† The work also included the marking for spot photography of the new Aerodist stations and a number of trig stations extending west into the wheat belt country to Cunderdin and Trayning.†

Andrew Turk was one of the Nat Mappers involved in testing the Aerodist system at Kalgoorlie on Tuesday 28 November 1972 using the larger reflector dishes on the remote units.† Spot photography operations using VH-EXZ concluded at Kalgoorlie on 29 November 1972.† This conclusion was due to approaching the expiry of the allocated contract period with VH-EXZ.† Also the pilot was approaching mandated maximum monthly flying hours and the aircraft was scheduled for a major 100-hourly service.†

Between 30 November 1972 and 6 December 1972 Peter Langhorne and Andrew Turk continued spot photography operations in Block 33.† In this operational period the aircraft used was a Cessna 182 high-wing single engine aeroplane.† It was chartered from Esperance Air Service at Esperance.†

On 30 November 1972 the vehicle-based members of the Aerodist field party started the drive from Kalgoorlie back to Melbourne; to conclude what for many members had been a nine months field season.†

1972 Aerodist Measuring Party Members included:

Peter Langhorne

Frank Johnston

Paul Wise

Andrew Dyson

Andrew Greenall

Andrew Turk

Carl McMaster

John Ely

Mick Skinner

Ozcan Ertok

Terry Mulholland

Ted Rollo

Lawrie OíConnor; left party after R 199 in May 1972

Peter Blake

Ted Graham

Laurie McLean

Michael Lloyd

Brian Shaddick; left party from Wiluna

Roy Turner

Peter Salkowski

Bill Forster

Garry Burriss

Reg Kearns

Rod OíBrien; brief period only

Eddie Ainscow; later in year

 

 

Chapter 15-1973 Field Season

In Aerodist measuring operations in all areas during 1973 a total of 319 lines were measured and the positions of 50 survey control stations were determined.† (Eight of these stations were photo trilateration points.)† Some 79 spot photographs of survey stations or intersected points were captured and some 38 Tellurometer connections were made between survey stations.† Some 26 survey control stations were established

1973 Aerodist Ground Marking in Block 39 in New South Wales and Victoria

There was no helicopter support for Aerodist measuring activities during 1973.† This was due to the closer settlement and associated ease of vehicle access in Block 39 and the offshore nature of the later work in Blocks 36 and 37 off Western Australia.† Nevertheless in the cold and wet winter of 1973, driving conditions especially in the black soil area of the Riverina were far from easy.† A number of bogged vehicles required recovery assistance.†

The field party was equipped with several new Series III 109 inch wheelbase Land Rover vans.† These first of the Series IIIs were a problematic model.† Leaks from transmission and hub seals abounded and the new all-synchromesh gearbox proved unreliable.† Also the then recently mandated fitting of heaters/demisters to motor cars did not then apply to non-passenger vehicles.† Thus some Nat Mappers did some fairly cold driving that winter with misty windscreens.

In 1973, the work area was known as Aerodist Blocks 34 and 35.† At some later time these two blocks as well as the earlier Block 14 were combined to become Block 39.†

Prior to measuring operations in 1973, Andrew Turk led a field party that established 14 supplementary control stations and cleared surrounding trig stations.† In addition, this party cleared 16 stations that had been established by a Canberra-based survey field party in 1972.† It was originally intended that the positions of the 1972 stations would be fixed by a helicopter mounted Motorola Mini-Ranger radar-based time phase distance measuring system.† However, this technology proved to be unsuitable for that task.† Unfortunately but quite understandably, the 1972 stations had been sited only with the planned fixing approach in mind.†

However, Aerodist stations required clearance from terrain or vegetation down to about one and a half degrees above the horizon and fifteen degrees either side of each line to be measured.† (Typically eight lines were needed to fix an Aerodist station.† Thus from the ground stations each Aerodist line had to have 30 degrees of clearance down to one and half degrees above the horizon.)† Many of the 1972 stations required considerable and extensive clearing of some quite tall timber to enable Aerodist measurements.†

Andrew Turkís field party left Melbourne on 22 March 1973 and initially worked from Shepparton in north-central Victoria.† The work area extended over southern and western New South Wales (from around Wagga Wagga to Hillston and Wentworth), across central, northern and western Victoria (including around Swan Hill, Mildura, Hopetoun, Ouyen, Horsham, and Hamilton) and to Mount Gambier in South Australia.† Marking and clearing operations were completed at Deniliquin by 17 May 1973 when Messrs Turk and Dyson returned to Melbourne.

1973 Aerodist Marking Party in Block 39 in New South Wales and Victoria Members included:

Andrew Turk

Andrew Dyson

Andrew Greenall

Ted Rollo

Ted Graham

Peter Blake

Roy Turner

Eddie Ainscow

Peter Danne (resigned at Horsham circa 23 April 1973)

Laurie McLean

Noel Goldsworthy

Bill Forster

Michael Lloyd

Reg Kearns

Garry Burriss

Hayden Reynolds

Dave Abreu

 

1973 Aerodist Measuring in Block 39 in New South Wales and Victoria

The area covered by the 1973 Aerodist measuring operations in Block 39 mirrored the earlier marking work that year.† The measuring area extended over southern and western New South Wales (from around Wagga Wagga to Hillston and Wentworth), across central, northern and western Victoria (including around Swan Hill, Mildura, Hopetoun, Ouyen, Horsham, and Hamilton) and to Mount Gambier in South Australia.

Aerodist measuring preparations and flight testing commenced at Deniliquin on 18 May 1973, following arrival of the measuring aircraft VH-EXZ the previous day.† Measuring operations commenced on 21 May 1973.† The centre party was based at Hay from 4 June 1973 and later from Swan Hill, Mildura and Horsham.† The measuring field party leaders were Peter Langhorne and Frank Johnston.

Height checks to verify altimeter readings in VH-EXZ were carried out at Deniliquin (19 May 1973), Mildura (23 June 1973), and Horsham (27 July 1973).

Aircraft VH-EXZ pilots during Block 39 operations in 1973 were Trevor Merton and John Harvey.†

Back to the Horse and Buggy

During much of the 1973 Aerodist measuring in Block 39 cold and wet weather conditions were experienced and many of the vehicle accesses to Aerodist stations were boggy and difficult.† When operating out of Deniliquin in mid-May 1973 one Aerodist remote sub-party had to revert to horse and buggy transport to gain access to survey control station NM/C/42.† This survey mark was located in the black soil plains country on Warwillah station about 60 kilometres north of Deniliquin (at 35 degrees south latitude and 145 degrees east longitude).† When the remote sub-party comprising Laurie McLean and Bill Forster in Land Rover ZSN 167 first attempted to reach the survey station they were informed that much of the 8 kilometres of tracks from the homestead were flooded and impassable.†

Mr Ken Hanlon, the manager of Warwillah was reluctant to let the remote party travel past the homestead as he did not want the station tracks damaged or to have to recover a bogged vehicle; a situation he believed would be inevitable if the remote party continued.†

However, Mr Hanlon was most understanding of the need to access the survey station.† He kindly offered to arrange for one of his staff to take the remote party to NM/C/42 the next morning by horse and buggy that could travel over the drier parts of the property off the flooded tracks.† Early next morning Laurie and Bill were driven to the survey mark in the one horse conveyance.† They were collected after Aerodist measuring was complete and returned to the homestead just after dark that evening.

Close Call at Wagga

On Monday 4 June 1973 Laurie McLean flew in VH-EXZ from Hay to Wagga Wagga with pilot Trevor Merton and Peter Langhorne.† Here Laurie collected the Aerodist mobile workshop (International C1600 ZSU 374) that was parked at the airport and then drove it back to the new centre party base at Hay.† The approach into Wagga Wagga airport was through heavy cloud.† Sitting in the right side front seat beside the pilot, Laurie could hear on the radio that there were several other aircraft in the circuit area.† Trevor Merton called VH-EXZís position several times as he descended through the cloud.† Suddenly during the descent VH-EXZ was shaken by the wake of an aircraft that crossed unseen above but very close.† Trevor Merton was not distracted from his final approach routine but did exclaim: Cheeky bugger!† The drive back to Hay in the International truck was a lot quieter than the approach into Wagga Wagga.

Move to Western Australia

At Horsham prior to the conclusion of measuring operations a number of remote operators and other field party members were detached from the main field party to make the vehicle journey to Port Hedland.† This advance detachment was to ensure personnel were in position for the measuring operations in Aerodist Block 36.

On Friday 27 July 1973, Noel Goldsworthy, Reg Kearns and Bill Forster departed Horsham for Port Hedland; driving the Toyota Land Cruiser station wagon, Land Rover ZSN 169 and Bedford ZSU 339 respectively.† The following day Laurie McLean (Land Rover ZSN 167), Garry Burriss (Land Rover ZSN 170), and Roy Turner (Land Rover ZSN 171) departed Horsham for Port Hedland.† Two more vehicles left Horsham on Wednesday 8 August 1973; namely International C1300 ZSU 390 driven by Ted Graham and Tony Laidlaw in Land Rover ZSN 173.†

Conclusion of Block 39 Measuring

As mentioned previously, Block 39 was formed by the amalgamation of earlier Blocks 14, 34 and 35.† Together with measuring work in earlier years, the Aerodist measuring in 1973 resulted in a total of 52 survey control stations being coordinated in Block 39.† The first Aerodist lines this block (then Block 14) were measured in 1965.† Aerodist measuring in Block 39 concluded from Horsham on 7 August 1973; some 249 Aerodist lines were measured in the block that year and 57 spot photos taken.† The following day four vehicles (not needed in Western Australia) were driven back to Melbourne.

1973 Aerodist Measuring Party in Block 39 in New South Wales and Victoria Members included:

Peter Langhorne

Frank Johnston

Andrew Greenall

Andrew Dyson

John Ely

Andrew Christie

Ozcan Ertok

Donald Sutherland

Terry Mulholland

Ted Rollo

Michael Lloyd

Laurie McLean

Ted Graham

Peter Blake

Roy Turner

Eddie Ainscow (Derek Edward Ainscow 9 December 1929-circa 2002)

Noel Goldsworthy

Bill Forster

Reg Kearns

Garry Burriss

Hayden Reynolds

Dave Abreu

Ken Brown

Ross Stapleton

Bill Stuchbery

1973 Aerodist Marking and Measuring in Block 36 Western Australia: Onslow offshore; Monte Bello and Barrow Islands; and fixing offshore features by photo trilateration

The work in Block 36 involved the measuring of 57 Aerodist lines, 8 offshore points fixed by Aerodist photo trilateration; 26 Tellurometer connections and 13 spot photographs.† Eleven survey control stations were established.† The positions of 12 survey stations in Block 36 were coordinated by Aerodist in 1973.

The field party leader for this block was Peter Langhorne.† The centre party was based mainly at Onslow from 11 August to 20 September 1973 except during 13 to 17 September when it flew out of Port Hedland.† The pilot of aircraft VH-EXZ during Block 36 operations was John Harvey. Height checks were flown at Onslow on 10 September 1973 to verify altimeter readings in VH-EXZ.

Initially the work was fixing the positions of offshore islands and other features from Onslow.† Offshore remote and Tellurometer parties were positioned by a chartered fishing boat, the Quinda under Master Ian Blair.† The Quinda was chartered from 16 to 29 August 1973.†

Cray Fishing on Airlie Island

As well as safely landing Nat Map survey sub-parties on offshore features, Ian Blair willingly shared his considerable knowledge of the fishing spots on some of the islands.† This information was to prove particularly useful for Ted Graham and Dave Dzur.† They were positioned by the Quinda on to Airlie Island about 40 kilometres north from Onslow.† This Aerodist remote sub-party was well prepared and landed with a 44 gallon drum of water and some fishing lines.† Ted and Daveís stay on Airlie Island turned out to be much longer than originally planned.† However, their food supplies were in no danger of running low.† Fortunately they had listened to Ian Blairís earlier advice on how to find crayfish under the rock ledges around the island.† They also heeded Ianís tips for catching these delicacies with their bare hands.† Image 37 below shows the Quinda at Airlie Island in 1973.

About Scruffy Blair (1929-1998)

Ian Donald Blair was born on 10 October 1929.† He became a member of the Western Australia police service and was posted to Onslow in 1959.† After his retirement from police service Ian made Onslow his home and became involved in many community activities.† Ian was affectionately known as Scruffy Blair.†

He became a commercial fisherman and the owner and master of the vessel Quinda.† As well he operated Ian Blair Agencies in Onslow.† He was also the local undertaker.† Ian was appointed a Justice of the Peace at Onslow in 1966 and sometimes presided over summary court cases.† In 1973, Ian Blair was one of four Justices of the Peace at Onslow.† Ian Blair died on 23 October 1998 at the age of 69 years.† Ian was survived by his wife Val and their three children David, Lynette and Ross.† Ianís remains were buried in the Onslow cemetery.† After his death the Ian Blair Memorial Boardwalk was constructed around the headland (Beadon Point) in Onslow.

Image 37: Ian Blair on MV Quinda positioning survey party at Airlie Island in August 1973 (Ted Graham image)

 

Monte Bello Islands

In early September 1973, the offshore work shifted to the Monte Bello Islands and Barrow Island area.† The offshore survey parties were positioned by the chartered vessel Caroline M that operated out of Samís Creek near Point Samson.† The Caroline M departed Samís Creek on 4 September 1973; see Image 38 below.† The next day, survey parties were positioned at survey control station NM/F/653 on Lowendal Island, at survey station NM/F/559 on an un-named island and at MA Nicholas and Associatesí survey station MN 591 on Hermite Island.†

The Caroline M then proceeded to a Royal Australian Navy survey station G1 on Trimouille Island where a survey party led by Andrew Turk undertook Tellurometer connections and Aerodist remote unit operations.† The remote unit operations from Trimouille Island provided one of the connecting stations for the first photo trilateration fix for Tryal Rocks on 8 September 1973.† After retrieving the various Barrow Island survey parties the Caroline M returned to Samís Creek on 10 September 1973.

Image 38: The Caroline M preparing to depart Samís Creek for Monte Bello Islands Aerodist survey September 1973 (Ted Graham image)

 

1973 Aerodist Photo Trilaterations

Eight Aerodist photo trilateration points were measured to fix the positions of offshore features listed in Table 6 below.† To achieve the desired fix, three remote units would be positioned on survey points with known coordinates.† The measuring aircraft would measure to each of these remote units simultaneously as it flew over and photographed each of the offshore features that needed to have its position fixed.† The offshore features were photographed with the on-board 70 mm Vinten reconnaissance camera.† The simultaneous three-way measuring would allow the position of the aircraft and the centre of the photographs taken to be determined.† Thus the positions of the offshore features could be fixed from the coordinated Vinten photography.† (For more details on Aerodist photo trilaterations please refer to the section Aerodist Photo Trilaterations 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1973.)

 

Date

Details

8 September 1973

Tryal Rocks Trilat 1

9 September 1973

Tryal Rocks Trilats 2 to 4

14 September 1973

Geographe Shoals Trilat

15 September 1973

Little Turtle Islet and North Turtle Island Trilats

17 September 1973

Bedout Island Trilat

Table 6: 1973 Aerodist photo trilaterations off Western Australia
(from data in 1973 Aerodist Centre Party Field Diary)

1973 Aerodist Marking and Measuring Party Members for Block 36 included:

Peter Langhorne

Andrew Turk

Terry Mulholland

John Ely

Ozcan Ertok

Dave Dzur

Roy Turner

Ted Graham

Garry Burriss

Ross Stapleton

Bill Stuchbery

Bob Goldsworthy (Robert W Goldsworthy 3 June 1939-4 November 1985)

Noel Goldsworthy

Tony Laidlaw

Ted Rollo

Michael Lloyd

Reg Kearns

Bill Forster

Hayden Reynolds

Laurie McLean

1973 Aerodist Marking and Measuring in Block 37 Western Australia: Archipelago of the Recherche

The Aerodist field party assembled at Esperance during the week 22 to 29 September 1973.† Esperance was the centre party base for the Block 37 operations.† The VH-EXZ pilot at Esperance for the Block 37 operations was John Harvey.†

Peter Langhorne arrived at Esperance in aircraft VH-EXZ on the 22 September 1973 and later that day discussed the forthcoming Nat Map offshore operations with charter boat operator Don MacKenzie.† Peter made arrangements to charter one of Don MacKenzieís boats.† The 30-feet long vessel with a dinghy was chartered from 1 October to 1 November 1973.†

About Don MacKenzie (1915-2012)

Donald Hugh Ardross MacKenzie (1915-2012) was then a well-known Esperance identity.† He had settled in Esperance in 1947 and ran various marine operations including fishing and charter boat activities.†

Block 37 Survey

On 24 September 1973 Frank Johnston relieved Peter Langhorne as field party leader.† Frank then led the Block 37 operations until their conclusion at Esperance on Saturday 3 November 1973. Height checks to verify altimeter reading in VH-EXZ were flown at Esperance on 6 October 1973. The task from Esperance was to provide survey control for offshore features in the Archipelago of the Recherche east of the 123 degrees east meridian.† To this end, normal Aerodist station establishment was carried out on 8 islands, there was reduced specification station establishment on two other islands, and 2 local control points were established.† On 7 other islands and rocks, control was obtained by theodolite intersections to distinctive features.† Aerodist lines were first measured in the north-east of this block in 1972 and at the conclusion of the 1973 work 8 survey stations had been coordinated in Block 37.

The 1973 surveys to fix these control points used various methods. 13 offshore Aerodist lines were measured with the positions of five survey stations being fixed by these Aerodist measurements. Another seven stations were fixed by Tellurometer radiations or by closed traverses; with a total of 12 Tellurometer lines being measured. Another control point was fixed by three ray theodolite intersection. Points on eight unmarked islands and rocks were fixed by two ray theodolite intersections.

This variety of survey methods used in 1973 was due to the nature of the topography and the prevailing sea and weather conditions.† In the survey area only Daw Island (NM/F/386), the island on which NM/F/684 was located, and Pasley Island (NM/F/687) had sheltered landings.† Only Daw Island had a sandy beach.† Other islands were mainly of smooth granite rock dipping sharply into the water, or with vertical cliffs or tumbled broken rocks.† The waves from the open Southern Ocean continuously broke over or swept around these exposed features.† The prevailing weather pattern was strong winds, rain and rough seas.† Generally fairly calm seas were only experienced on a couple of days each week.† The nature of the islands in the Archipelago of the Recherche can be gleaned from Images 39 and 40 below.

Landings on most offshore features were always problematic and hazardous.† Several items of less valuable equipment were lost due to difficult landing conditions during the survey.† That the survey was completed at all was due solely to the calibre of the Nat Map boat party members and to the skill and seamanship of the MacKenzieís boat and dingy people.† Of particular note was the hitherto unheralded leadership, skill and dedication of the field party leader Frank Johnston.†

Image 39: Wedge Island that was occupied during the 1973 survey-seen here in 1984 (Paul Wise image)

 

Image 40: Termination Island seen in 1984-seas were such that a landing was not possible during the 1973 Archipelago of the Recherche survey (Paul Wise image)

 

Fully appreciating the hazardous conditions and the risks involved Frank led from the front and personally went on most if not all of the more difficult boat trips.† He an inspiration for other field party members and ensured that no unacceptable risks were taken in the generally hazardous conditions. †Other Nat Mappers who were known to be part of the boat party included: Ted Rollo, Michael Lloyd, Hayden Reynolds, Bill Forster and Reg Kearns.

Finishing the Survey in the Archipelago of the Recherche

Nat Map did not go back to complete the control survey in the Archipelago of the Recherche until 1984; over a decade after Frank Johnstonís field party was there.† The 1984 Mondrain Island survey party was led by Nat Map senior surveyor Brian Murphy and included Paul Wise.† The lessons of 1973 were not forgotten as the 1984 field party was supported by a helicopter.

1973 Aerodist Marking and Measuring Party Members for Block 37 included:

Peter Langhorne (first few days only for organising boat charter etc)

Frank Johnston

Andrew Dyson

Mick Skinner

Ozcan Ertok

Ted Rollo (Edward John Rollo 13 July 1944-21 June 1997)

Ted Graham

Ross Stapleton

Bill Stuchbery

Ken Brown

Laurie McLean

Noel Goldsworthy

Hayden Reynolds

Michael Lloyd

Garry Burriss

Roy Turner

Bill Forster

Reg Kearns

 

 

Chapter 16-1974: The Final Aerodist Field Season

During Aerodist measuring operations in Block 38 in 1974, some 100 lines were measured and the positions of 12 control stations were determined.† A number of spot photographs of survey stations were captured and one station was coordinated by Tellurometer connection.

 

1974 Aerodist Marking and Measuring in Block 38 Western Australia: The Kimberley

Prior to 1974 measuring operations, Ian Muir led the vehicle-based field survey party for the transit journey from Melbourne to Derby.† This party departed Melbourne on Wednesday 5 June 1974 and arrived at Derby on 26 June 1974.

At Derby Andrew Greenall was waiting to commence marking operations and associated checking and clearing of trig stations.† These activities commenced on 27 June 1974 and continued until around 31 July when measuring operations were initially scheduled to commence.† Some 13 new stations were established and later coordinated by Aerodist measurements; 6 of these stations were established by helicopter access (after the helicopter contract commenced).

Fire on Aircraft VH-EXZ

In early August 1974, near-disaster struck the fixed-wing aircraft VH-EXZ.† While on the ground at the Gibb River homestead airstrip it suffered a fire in an engine bay due to fuel leaking from an incorrectly fitted fuel filter.† The fire was extinguished without any major damage being apparent.† However, aviation authorities had concerns with wing spar fatigue and the potential cracking and failure of this major component on Aero Commander aircraft.† Thus as well as carrying out necessary repairs to wiring and other components, there was a delay of some weeks while the aircraftís wing spar was checked for airworthiness.

Fortunately, Jayrow Helicopters kindly agreed to postpone the start of the helicopter contract by about one month to accommodate the unavailability of the measuring aircraft.† In the interim, remote party personnel were engaged in the inspection of trig stations in the Kimberley and East Pilbara and as far south as Wiluna.

1974 Measuring Operations

The 1974 Aerodist measuring operations eventually commenced in early September.† The centre party was initially based at Derby but moved to Wyndham around mid-September 1974.† Afterwards the centre party was based at Halls Creek from 12 October to 22 October 1974.† The centre party then moved back to Derby until the end of the field season.† The field party leader was Peter Langhorne.† John Ely was the initial Aerodist technician; he was relieved by Terry Mulholland on 10 October 1974.† The initial Grand Commander fixed-wing (VH-EXZ) pilot for the Block 38 operations was John Harvey.† John South relieved John Harvey as pilot on 8 October and John South remained until the end of the field season.

Nat Mapís Last Aerodist Line

Flying from Derby on Saturday 2 November 1974, the last Nat Map Aerodist line was measured between survey control stations NM/F/694 and R 160.† Survey station NM/F/694 is located at 16 degrees south latitude and 125 degrees 1 minute east longitude.† It is near the Sale River just to the north of Mt Kitchener and about 135 kilometres east of R 160.† Royal Australian Survey Corps station R 160 is located on Koolan Island which is part of the Buccaneer Archipelago within Yampi Sound and about 130 kilometres north of Derby.†

The last Aerodist line measured by Nat Map is highlighted in Figure 12 below.† Nat Mappers on board measuring aircraft VH-EXZ on 2 November 1974 were Peter Langhorne, Terry Mulholland, Hayden Reynolds and Ian Muir.† On that flight, spot photographs were taken of Nat Map survey station NM/F/682 and Royal Australian Survey Corps station S 074 Oodinjil that had earlier been coordinated by the Nat Map Aerodist field survey party.

Early the next week VH-EXZ was used to spot photograph several other survey stations.† All remaining field paper work for Block 38 was completed by Wednesday 6 November 1974.† VH-EXZ departed Derby for Melbourne that day with Andrew Christie as passenger.† During operations for Block 38 in 1974 VH-EXZ had flown some 194.5 hours.

1974 Helicopter Support

During this final year of Aerodist field operations, two Hughes 500 369HS helicopters (VH-BLO and VH-SFS) were chartered from Jayrow Helicopters Pty Ltd based at Melbourneís Moorabbin airport.† During operations in Block 38 in 1974 these two helicopters flew a total of 250.51 hours.† As in 1972, the two aircraft were used in the field simultaneously to improve operational safety and efficiency by reducing the aircraft unserviceability risk with single helicopter operations.†

In 1974, each aircraft operated independently but usually from the same base.† Each helicopter was required to lift a load (men and equipment) of 800 pounds for up to 80 nautical miles from base and return without refuelling.† In 1974, the helicopter pilots included chief pilot Peter Clemence, Gerry Leatham and Vic Barkell.† The helicopter engineers included Peter Smart, Jayrowís chief engineer.

The helicopter contract started around 5 September 1974.† For measuring activities the helicopters operated from fly camps near Drysdale River homestead, on Lowya Creek, near Plain Creek north of Gibb River homestead, Lansdowne homestead and on Kimberley Downs east of Derby.† Electronics technician Andrew Christie was attached to the helicopter support party to have ready access to any Aerodist remote units in need of servicing or repair.

An important safety improvement was made for Nat Mappers flying in helicopters during the 1974 Aerodist field season. Nat Map surveyor Andrew Turk had been fortunate to escape with relatively minor injuries from a helicopter crash in Antarctica earlier that year. However, the full safety helmet Andrew was wearing received a considerable battering and thus proved its worth. Prior to 1974, the availability of safety helmets for Nat Map helicopter crew members was haphazard. It depended on the particular aircraft but even then helmets were never previously available for rear seat occupants. In 1974, Andrew Turk personally arranged for the helicopter contract to provide for the mandatory use of safety helmets for all Nat Map crew members.

The Lowya Creek helicopter camp was on the north side of the creek near a pleasant waterhole on this tributary of the King Edward River.† It was just off the Gibb River to Kalumburu track between Doongan and Theeda homesteads at about 14 degrees 56 minutes south latitude and 126 degrees 14 minutes east longitude.† The remote parties operated from Lowya Creek from around 5 September to 2 October 1974.†

In 1974, near Doongan homestead the main Kalumburu track went through a magnificent stand of mature Kimberley fan palms (Livistona eastonii) that stood around 5 to 10 metres high.

In sharp contrast to Lowya Creek, the helicopter camp near Plain Creek was in recently burnt out country away from water.† It was further south on the Gibb River to Kalumburu track about 50 kilometres north of Gibb River homestead (at about 16 degrees 1 minute south and 126 degrees 25 minutes east).† The helicopter operations were based from Plain Creek from 3 to 10 October 1974.

The helicopter support party was based at Lansdowne homestead from 11 to 21 October 1974.† Here all party members were treated like guests by the hospitable Quilty family.† The party was accommodated in the stockmenís quarters and mostly when in camp took breakfast and dinner with the family and other station staff.†

The helicopter party was next based from a camp on Kimberley Downs station about 80 kilometres east of Derby from 23 October 1974 until the conclusion of the helicopter contract around 2 November 1974; see Image 41 below.

Image 41: Laurie McLean at Kimberley Downs helicopter camp 24 October 1974 (Laurie McLean image)

 

Testing of JMR Doppler Satellite Receiver and Tellurometer Connection

Also in 1974, Nat Map technical officer Oz Ertok was involved in tests with a JMR Doppler satellite receiver at survey control station R 110 (Savage Hill) on Bigge Island in the Bonaparte Archipelago north-east of Derby.† (The JMR was being tested prior to being deployed at Macquarie Island during the summer of 1974-75.† Here John Manning operated the satellite receiver to capture the first accurate position of the new geodetic survey at the Macquarie Island base.)† During the occupation of R 110 on Bigge Island, a Tellurometer connection was made to survey control station NM/F/733 on the mainland; see Figure 12 below.

Figure 12: Aerodist lines measured in 1974 with Bigge Island highlighted together with the final Aerodist line between R 160 and NM/F/694 (prepared by Paul Wise 2015)

 

Crash of Helicopter VH-SFS

Around 7:15 am on 25 October 1974 party leader Peter Langhorne was advised that helicopter VH-SFS had crashed.† Earlier that morning the aircraft lost a tail rotor when cruising at about 5,000 feet.† It was carrying a remote party comprising Nat Mappers Bob Smith and Barry Wright from the helicopter camp on Kimberley Downs east of Derby and was near Oobagooma station homestead on the Robinson River when the incident happened.†

Fortunately, pilot Vic Barkell AFC (1925-1995) skilfully managed to bring the aircraft down in a clearing in tightly timbered country.† (Vic had served in the Royal Australian Air Force for 24 years.† He retired with the rank of Flight Lieutenant in 1967.)† The remains of helicopter VH-SFS after the 25 October 1974 crash are shown in Image 42 below.

Image 42: Nat Map surveyor Ian Muir with the remains of VH-SFS at Derby in late October 1974 (Peter Langhorne image)

 

Although the heavy landing badly damaged the aircraft such that it was written-off, there were no serious injuries to the three people on board.† Luckily all people were wearing safety helmets as discussed earlier in this section.† The crew of the crashed helicopter was retrieved by the second Nat Map chartered helicopter VH-BLO and ferried to a nearby airstrip.† They were then conveyed to Derby Hospital by a Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft.† Here Bob Smith was X-rayed for any possible spinal injury but then released.† Barry Wright was diagnosed with a spinal injury and admitted to the hospital.† Fortunately, Barry suffered no lasting disability from his injury.

Vehicle Accident Bedford ZSU 311 Eyre Highway South Australia

At the conclusion of Aerodist operations at Derby around the end of the first week in November 1974, Ian Muir led the vehicle based field party members for the 6,000 kilometre drive to Melbourne.† Unfortunately, some days later disaster struck on the South Australian section of the Eyre Highway near the Nullarbor roadhouse.† This section of the highway west of Penong was still unsealed and was fairly rough going.† The Bedford supply and fuel truck (ZSU 311) rolled over and caught fire.† The wreckage of ZSU 311 is shown in Image 43 below.

Image 43: Wreckage of Bedford ZSU 311 after the Eyre Highway accident in November 1974 (Ted Graham image)

 

The driver Michael Barker was badly burned.† He was lucky in one way as one of the first passing travellers to give assistance was a trained nurse with experience in treating burns victims.† She rendered rudimentary first aid and arranged for Michaelís immediate evacuation by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.† Michael was flown to Adelaide for treatment of his injuries and later recovered well.† The cause of the vehicle accident was a broken main leaf in the front right road spring just behind the front spring hanger.† This break allowed the front axle and the attached broken spring assembly to move forward.† The broken main spring leaf then jammed the steering arm.† With the broken spring assembly still attached to the vehicleís front axle, Michael was no longer able to control the vehicleís steering and had lost control of the vehicleís direction before it overturned.

1974 Aerodist Marking and Measuring Party Members Block 38 included:

Peter Langhorne

Ian Muir

Andrew Greenall

John Ely

Ozcan Ertok

Andrew Christie

Terry Mulholland

Ross Stapleton

Bob Smith

Michael Lloyd

Reg Kearns

Garry Burriss

Laurie McLean

Hayden Reynolds

Bill Forster (William Ross Forster 14 November 1948-11 December 2007)

Tony Laidlaw (short period only)

David Marsh

Michael Barker

David Beasley

Steve Pinwill

Barry Wright

 

 

Epilogue

 

 

The first fully contoured standard topographic mapping coverage of Australia was completed in 1988.† This National Topographic Map Series involved the compilation of 3,062 sheets at 1:100,000 scale with contours at a 20-metre vertical interval.† However, only 1,602 of these sheets (generally covering the more populated areas) were printed as 1:100,000 scale topographic maps.† Nevertheless all of these 1:100,000 scale compilations were used to derive an updated 1:250,000 scale National Topographic Map series (Menzies and Wise, 2011).† Printing of this contoured (with a 50-metre vertical interval) 1:250,000 scale map series was completed by 1991 (OíDonnell, 2006).† The 544 map sheets on standard sheet lines (one degree of latitude and one and a half degrees of longitude) in the earlier 1:250,000 scale R 502 series were reduced to 513 sheets in the new series.† The reduction in the overall number of map sheets was achieved by the use of special editions that spilled over standard sheet lines in coastal areas.†

The Aerodist system was used to measure some 3,020 lines that fixed the positions of 485 survey stations that provided horizontal control for topographic mapping over more than 50 per cent of Australiaís mainland area.† The National Topographic Map Series coverage relied on this horizontal ground control provided by the Aerodist distance measuring system.† This map series has provided the cornerstone of our nationís topographic data infrastructure (Menzies and Wise, 2011).†

The figures below provide some Nat Map Aerodist-related maps that may interest readers, namely:

       Figure 13: Nat Map Aerodist line networks at the end of 1974

       Figure 14: Nat Map Aerodist lines and centre party bases 1963 to 1974

       Figure 15: Aerodist lines, centre party bases and helicopter bases 1963-1974

       Figure 16: Aerodist centre party bases (topographic map base) 1963-1974

       Figure 17: Aerodist centre party bases and helicopter bases (topographic map base) 1963-1974

       Figure 18: Aerodist Block Areas and centre party bases 1963-1974

       Figure 19: Aerodist stations where later precise Doppler satellite fixes were made.

 

Figure 13: Nat Map Aerodist line networks at the end of 1974

 

Figure 14: Nat Map Aerodist lines and centre party bases 1963 to 1974

 

Figure 15: Aerodist lines, centre party bases (red dots) and helicopter bases (blue dots) 1963-1974

 

Figure 16: Aerodist centre party bases 1963-1974

 

Figure 17: Aerodist centre party bases (red dots) and helicopter bases (blue dots) 1963-1974

 

Figure 18: Aerodist Block Areas and centre party bases 1963-1974 (adapted from McMaster 1980)

Figure 19: Aerodist stations where later precise Doppler satellite fixes were made (Aerodist station annotations made by Paul Wise in October 2015)

 

 

 

 

Appendices



Appendix A

National Mapping Aerodist Stations

Coordinated during line measuring operations during 1963-1974

Table A1: Aerodist Stations by Station Identifier

Station Identifier

Latitude

Longitude

Block Area

NM B† 16

-16.943029

138.003282

12

NM B† 61

-21.529637

148.994166

5

NM B† 62

-21.992514

148.953386

5

NM B† 63

-22.468687

148.510474

5

NM B† 64

-22.469774

149.041567

5

NM B† 65

-22.503630

149.526209

5

NM B† 69

-22.984604

150.060524

5

NM B† 70

-23.008505

149.519652

5

NM B† 71

-22.991025

148.980893

5

NM B† 72

-23.029432

148.470067

5

NM B† 73

-23.448247

148.989376

5

NM B† 74

-23.524024

149.470895

5

NM B† 75

-23.540880

149.910221

5

NM B† 76

-24.033114

148.937887

5

NM B† 77

-22.004844

147.489524

16

NM B† 78

-21.497392

147.498214

7

NM B† 79

-21.013718

147.422908

7

NM B† 80

-20.440969

148.151167

5

NM B† 81

-20.486000

147.492657

7

NM B† 94

-22.005946

141.029223

20

NM B† 95

-21.998438

142.003477

20

NM B† 96

-22.004847

142.978203

16

NM B† 97

-21.992964

144.027029

16

NM B† 98

-21.994484

145.026939

16

NM B† 99

-21.992399

146.025812

16

NM B 100

-22.987668

140.994611

20

NM B 103

-23.021436

141.978293

20

NM B 104

-22.989106

142.985315

16

NM B 105

-22.999839

144.026730

16

NM B 117

-24.996621

151.185878

6

NM B 118

-26.035838

151.000801

6

NM B 119

-25.014564

150.144182

6

NM B 120

-26.045065

149.972743

6

NM B 121

-27.024981

150.094111

6

NM B 122

-25.000225

149.046668

6

NM B 123

-26.034584

148.851979

6

NM B 124

-27.016863

148.940654

6

NM B 125

-25.194744

148.161265

6

NM B 126

-26.057826

148.182386

6

NM B 127

-26.906111

147.982181

6

NM B 128

-27.001466

147.040171

6

NM B 131

-23.981819

146.992522

16

NM B 132

-23.001286

147.058008

16

NM B 133

-21.913434

146.996319

16

NM B 134

-24.530070

147.502210

6

NM B 135

-26.966515

146.002233

6

NM B 136

-28.026165

145.966394

6

NM B 137

-27.986052

147.008588

6

NM B 138

-28.029314

147.984991

6

NM B 139

-28.092860

148.971544

6

NM B 140

-28.001827

150.004131

6

NM B 141

-28.017306

150.910061

6

NM B 142

-27.775092

150.228227

6

NM B 143

-27.410533

150.210595

6

NM B 144

-27.053660

149.370343

6

NM B 145

-28.925491

148.957278

6

NM B 146

-27.032532

150.817081

6

NM B 147

-29.000091

148.107267

6

NM B 154

-24.778589

148.531291

6

NM B 184

-19.511120

137.994963

12

NM B 185

-18.614689

138.008238

12

NM B 211

-22.483974

147.030165

16

NM B 212

-23.507070

147.002293

16

NM B 213

-24.648489

149.458352

6

NM B 214

-24.555781

150.649537

6

NM B 215

-25.502416

147.502340

6

NM B 216

-25.586098

148.483937

6

NM B 217

-25.484918

149.561824

6

NM B 218

-25.463390

150.461440

6

NM B 219

-25.543550

151.608981

6

NM B 220

-20.471726

146.365782

10

NM B 221

-20.038772

145.909601

10

NM B 222

-21.030379

146.110344

10

NM B 223

-20.460167

145.468561

10

NM B 224

-20.009751

144.885975

10

NM B 225

-21.056733

145.078590

10

NM B 226

-20.535349

144.489837

10

NM B 227

-19.978942

144.160046

10

NM B 228

-21.079504

144.004224

10

NM B 229

-20.525244

143.491158

10

NM B 230

-20.146715

143.083479

11

NM B 231

-21.079167

142.993627

11

NM B 232

-20.537672

142.500697

11

NM B 233

-20.027445

141.978762

11

NM B 234

-21.072476

142.031288

11

NM B 235

-20.516536

141.497177

11

NM B 236

-19.995187

141.025338

11

NM B 237

-21.058128

141.024726

11

NM B 238

-20.511452

140.537169

11

NM B 239

-19.990553

140.052705

11

NM B 240

-21.068610

140.104651

20

NM B 241

-20.526085

139.451434

11

NM B 242

-20.007189

138.958188

12

NM B 243

-21.049772

138.995865

18

NM B 244

-20.547482

138.505720

18

NM B 245

-21.059339

138.019502

18

NM B 246

-22.991217

145.008337

16

NM B 247

-23.008001

146.017926

16

NM B 248

-24.010295

140.017577

20

NM B 249

-24.003490

141.011215

20

NM B 250

-24.013407

141.975967

16

NM B 251

-24.005171

142.969340

16

NM B 252

-23.994724

144.001963

16

NM B 253

-23.998148

144.987675

16

NM B 254

-24.016168

146.011920

16

NM B 255

-24.998434

140.011360

20

NM B 256

-24.990235

141.000141

20

NM B 257

-25.002367

141.994129

16

NM B 258

-24.985196

143.003014

16

NM B 259

-25.002279

143.985954

16

NM B 260

-24.967197

145.062855

16

NM B 261

-24.994157

145.970570

16

NM B 262

-25.994454

140.023885

20

NM B 263

-25.998457

142.005138

16

NM B 264

-26.003298

142.994077

16

NM B 265

-25.988245

144.012525

16

NM B 266

-25.988089

144.992070

16

NM B 267

-27.006955

143.032105

15

NM B 268

-27.002325

144.022099

15

NM B 269

-27.990357

142.975171

15

NM B 270

-28.005794

144.011695

15

NM B 291

-25.002653

139.004498

22

NM B 292

-23.997255

139.003005

22

NM B 293

-22.997884

139.000500

18

NM B 294

-22.000088

139.001426

18

NM B 295

-25.498965

138.001041

22

NM B 296

-24.989857

137.997730

22

NM B 297

-24.488251

138.008962

22

NM B 298

-23.999045

138.001743

22

NM B 299

-23.497929

138.000780

22

NM B 300

-22.999642

137.999513

22

NM B 303

-21.499033

138.002708

18

NM B 311

-21.505197

143.999128

16

NM B 312

-22.500089

143.992524

16

NM B 313

-23.497898

144.011901

16

NM B 314

-24.503040

143.993492

16

NM B 315

-25.534874

144.016810

16

NM B 317

-27.500325

143.993578

15

NM B 343 Skiddaw Peak

-20.782897

149.284481

23

NM B 344

-29.000639

146.946070

6

NM C† 29

-31.994630

142.010223

39

NM C† 30

-32.011889

143.001398

39

NM C† 31

-31.995078

144.018984

39

NM C† 32

-31.992776

145.028820

39

NM C† 33

-32.987234

142.031616

39

NM C† 34

-33.004931

143.009749

39

NM C† 35

-33.009279

143.993999

39

NM C† 36

-32.994015

144.978528

39

NM C† 37

-33.944938

143.016460

39

NM C† 38

-33.987386

144.022249

39

NM C† 39

-33.990782

145.022181

39

NM C† 40

-33.957515

144.517268

39

NM C† 41

-35.031302

144.000311

39

NM C† 42

-35.015579

145.010401

39

NM C† 44

-35.503323

145.507206

39

NM C† 54

-28.932918

150.818014

6

NM C† 86

-33.625877

142.457511

39

NM C† 87

-33.632447

143.672358

39

NM C† 88

-30.019225

142.984393

15

NM C† 89

-30.012555

144.029175

15

NM C† 90

-29.993863

145.015951

15

NM C† 98

-29.002507

144.054909

15

NM C† 99

-28.997345

144.989163

15

NM C 100

-29.003040

142.955150

15

NM C 101

-30.692322

148.578436

30

NM C 112

-32.485578

147.009374

30

NM C 113

-32.003357

146.998629

30

NM C 114

-31.999334

147.495981

30

NM C 115

-31.999918

148.023270

30

NM C 117

-34.242444

143.505723

39

NM C 122

-35.005725

144.510412

39

NM C 123

-35.003408

145.496691

39

NM C 125

-33.500140

144.014302

39

NM C 126

-34.499597

144.039741

39

NM C 127

-35.493921

144.042711

39

NM C 128

-29.501974

143.997183

15

NM C 129

-30.496537

144.007351

15

NM C 132

-34.023279

141.223584

39

NM C 133

-34.015207

141.771644

39

NM C 134

-34.010324

142.243975

39

NM C 135

-34.018887

142.496148

39

NM C 136

-34.017921

142.746874

39

NM C 137

-33.994314

141.494652

39

NM C 138

-33.996325

143.237576

39

NM C 139

-34.011278

143.486686

39

NM C 140

-34.014510

143.737988

39

NM C 141

-34.242148

143.994643

39

NM C 142

-34.475948

143.506436

39

NM C 143

-34.491177

142.986805

39

NM C 144

-35.242393

144.004248

39

NM C 145

-35.495105

144.495947

39

NM D† 1

-36.000722

145.500229

39

NM D† 2

-35.006382

142.996148

39

NM D† 3

-36.003380

144.014060

39

NM D† 4

-35.993120

145.055486

39

NM D† 5

-36.016449

146.021053

39

NM D 17

-35.717513

143.996402

39

NM D 18

-35.993829

144.503513

39

NM D 19

-34.888956

142.696024

39

NM D 20

-35.115197

143.220695

39

NM D 21

-35.581750

143.286870

39

NM D 22

-35.728715

142.188123

39

NM D 23

-36.321922

141.848361

39

NM D 24

-36.763286

141.115699

39

NM D 25

-36.342019

142.842283

39

NM D 26

-37.087412

141.752228

39

NM F 164

-25.002200

127.919267

25

NM F 165

-24.000524

127.926894

25

NM F 270

-21.509986

115.525417

36

NM F 271

-21.080029

115.975989

36

NM F 278

-25.488324

126.019796

25

NM F 280

-24.470932

125.999199

25

NM F 360

-23.997604

126.003078

25

NM F 361

-23.504094

126.000366

25

NM F 362

-23.000342

126.002046

25

NM F 363

-22.514200

125.976900

19

NM F 364

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NM F 380

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NM F 383

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NM F 386 Daw Island

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NM F 387 Salisbury Island

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NM F 542

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NM F 559

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NM F 593

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NM F 602

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NM F 603

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NM F 604

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NM F 605

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NM F 639

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NM F 640

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NM F 641

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NM F 642

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NM F 643

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NM F 644

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NM F 645

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NM F 646

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NM F 653

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NM F 657

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NM F 658

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NM F 659

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NM F 666

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NM F 667

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NM F 668

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NM F 669

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NM F 670

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NM F 671

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NM F 674

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NM F 675

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NM F 676

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NM F 677

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NM F 678

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NM F 679

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NM F 681

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NM F 682

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NM F 683

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NM F 687 Pasley Island

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NM F 689 Douglas Island

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NM F 691 Cooper Island

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NM F 692

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NM F 693

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NM F 694

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NM F 695

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NM F 697

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NM F 698

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NM F 699

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NM F 700

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NM F 706

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NM F 707

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NM G† 62

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18

NM G 152

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NM G 166

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NM G 167

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NM G 168

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NM G 169

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NM G 170

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NM G 171

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NM G 172

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NM G 173

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NM G 174

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NM G 175

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