Donald Joseph (Don) Gray


3 November 1931 Ė 4 November 2014




Don summarised his own career in 2001 when he participated in an oral history project as part of an Australian National University master of philosophy thesis A History of Satellite-based Remote Sensing in Australia:1970-1989 by Catherine Rayner. Donís interview can be read here.


Prior to that, in November 1999, the Australian Centre for Remote Sensing (ACRES) celebrated its 20th anniversary. At the formal celebrations Don Gray spoke about how ACRES came into being as the Australian Landsat Station through to his retirement in 1989. Donís talk from that night was transcribed from his notes and is reproduced here.


Owing to his role in the development of satellite remote sensing in Australia, Don earned the unofficial title of Father of Australian Satellite Remote Sensing and had the building in Fern Hill Technology Park, Canberra which accommodated ACRES named after him.



The Don Gray Building in Fern Hill Technology Park, Bruce, Canberra, which accommodated the Australian Centre for Remote Sensing (ACRES) from January 1989 until mid-1998.


Donís career milestones included :


1949-1952 : RAAF radio technician apprenticeship

1952-1954 : RAAF engineering diploma at RMIT

1954-1963 : RAAF service with final rank of Flight Lieutenant

October 1963 to November 1966 : Senior Engineer, Island Lagoon

November 1966 to June 1967 : Deputy Station Director, Tidbinbilla

June 1967 to December 1969† : Station Director, Tidbinbilla

January 1970 to February 1978 : Station Director, Honeysuckle Creek

February 1978 to March 1984 : Station Director, Australian Landsat Station

March 1984 to September 1986 : Director, Australian Landsat Station (NATMAP)

September 1986 to July 1988 : Director, Australian Centre for Remote Sensing (NATMAP)

July 1988 to November 1989 : Manager, Remote Sensing Unit (AUSLIG)

January 1990 : awarded the Public Service Medal for outstanding public service as the Manager, Australian Centre for Remote Sensing [ACRES] and his contribution to the US space program in Australia and the provision of technical advice to the Australian Space Board.


A tribute to Don that describes his outstanding career in more detail is available via this link.



Don at Canadaís Prince Albert Landsat Station circa 1978 (above) and his letter of appointment as Station Director of the Australian Landsat Station (below).