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 Frank’s retirement pursuits has been to further his life-long interest in the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition of 1860-61.


Source : McLean, Lawrence William (2018), The Aerodist Years : Recollections of the Division of National Mapping’s Airborne Distance Measuring Program, 1963-1974.