National Mapping’s First Laplace Field Work



Almost unnoticeable in the Miscellaneous section of his 1979 paper The Division of National Mapping’s part in the Geodetic Survey of Australia, Reg Ford wrote : Laplace Astronomical Observations - The Laplace field parties operated from Canberra with only minimal direction from the Supervising Surveyor, Geodetic Survey Branch [then in Melbourne]…this section's field activities…began with the Wild T4 in 1950.

In his 1973 paper, Geodesy in Australia, 1956-72, Klaus Leppert wrote : The Australian Geodetic Survey is particularly strong in azimuth due to the great number of Laplace stations along the traverse network. Despite these mentions of Laplace observation activity there was little known about the early Laplace observation program. Recent research found that details of the first Laplace field work did exist. Like Ford’s (1979) mention, the information was a few lines in Dave Hocking’s 1985 paper Star Tracking for Mapping.


Figure 1 : 1950 Natmap survey party members at Quorn Railway Station (L-R) Jim Fominas, Bill Griffiths, Trevor Trevillian, Reg Ford, Dave Hocking, Phil Lennie, Ted Caspers, Clyde Denton (by Gus Murray, courtesy Andrew Murray).



Natmap 1950 field staff and vehicles

At the end of Dave Hocking’s (1985) paper, the table Astrofixes and Field Party Members 1948-52 contained the entries :


1950 Ord-Victoria River Area N.T. and Kimberly District W.A.

D.R. Hocking

Survey Computer, OIC Field Operations

P.H. Lennie

Field Assistant (Survey)

W.T. Griffiths

Cadet Draftsman (Photogrammetric)

E.J. Caspers

Field Assistant (Survey), Party Leader

R.A. Ford

Field Assistant (Survey)

C.V. Denton

Cadet Draftsman (Cartographic)

1950 Stuart Highway Traverse, Wild T4 Laplace Observations

D. Fominas

Geodetic Survey Computer (#)

T. Trevillian

Cadet Draftsman (Cartographic)

G. Murray

Driver (Survey)

(#) Please refer to Annexure A for more detail.


These nine Natmappers, please refer to Figure 1 above, originated from both the Canberra and Melbourne offices as follows :


Melbourne office


David Roy (Dave) Hocking

1 April 1948

Phillip Hartland (Phil) Lennie

8 January 1953 (*)

Edward John (Ted) Caspers

29 November 1948

Reginald Arthur (Reg) Ford

4 May 1951 (*)

Canberra office

Dimitrius (Jim) Fominas

Not found

Clyde Vercoe Denton

11 March 1948

William Thomas (Bill) Griffiths

5 June 1947

Trevor Glen Trevillian

5 June 1947

Graham Stanton (Gus) Murray

Not found

(*) Lennie commenced in November 1949 and Ford in early 1950


At this time only five of these men were permanent Public Servants; two were to be appointed later. Jim Fominas and Gus Murray however, were apparently employed on a short-term basis as no record of any later public service has been found to date. As Jim Fominas was only naturalised in 1953 he could not have been a Public Servant in 1950. Jim, a recent arrival from Europe in 1948 or 1949, may have seen his first employment with Natmap. Please refer to Figure 2 below.



Figure 2 : (left) Jim Fominas and (right) Gus Murray in 1950 (courtesy Andrew Murray).


Gus Murray and Trevor Trevillian were well acquainted. Gus and Trevor had both attended Telopea Park Primary in the Australian Capital Territory, and both qualified in 1934 for entrance to Telopea Park Intermediate High School. It is through Trevor that Gus may have heard about the work opportunity and was subsequently employed by Natmap. It should be remembered that this was not long after WW2 had ended and there were manpower shortages everywhere; of course, after being away at war not all wanted to leave family again for an extended trip into the Australian interior. Brief profiles on Jim Fominas, Gus Murray and Trevor Trevillian are at Annexure B.


Figure 3 : 1949 photograph of two new 25cwt, 4 cylinder, 14 Horsepower (British) Commer trucks and 1942 Ford Jeep with trailer, at Quorn Railway Station, ready for transport by train to Alice Springs

(photographer Hocking, courtesy Peter Hocking).


As we only have Dave Hocking’s side of the story from his 1985 paper we have to read between the lines. It is safe to say however, that in 1950 a group from the Natmap Melbourne office and a group from the Natmap Canberra office met at Quorn to travel (men and vehicles) to Alice Springs on the Ghan. Staff of the Melbourne office had travelled from Quorn to Alice Springs by train in the preceding years (please refer to Figure 3 above). Having both groups meet and travel together may have been a way to ensure that the first-time Canberra party members learned the ropes. More likely however, was that because of the different work planned, all nine of the men needed to be at Alice Springs on the same day. Please refer to Annexure C for more information on the town of Quorn.


Figure 4 : Members of the two 1950 Astrofix field survey parties (L-R) standing : Reg Ford, Phil Lennie, Ted Caspers, Dave Hocking; front : Bill Griffiths and Clyde Denton (after Hocking, 1985).


At Alice Springs, the nine Natmappers and their vehicles detrained and Dave Hocking with Phil Lennie and Bill Griffiths formed one survey party while Ted Caspers led a second party of Reg Ford and Clyde Denton. These two parties then undertook astrofixes in the Ord-Victoria River Area of the Northern Territory and Kimberly District of Western Australia. Please refer to Figure 4 above.

Dave Hocking (1985) recorded that for the 1950 field season : two new International KB5 trucks and two new short wheel base 4WD Land Rovers and trailers being shared between the two [astrofix] field parties, each of three men. The International KB5 truck was only two wheel drive and so did not venture off-road any further than was practical. Thus, the International truck operated as a supply base for the four wheel drive Land Rover as it operated across country. More detail is at Annexure D.


Figure 5 : A Wild T4 astronomical theodolite weighing some 50 kilograms (Wild Heerbrugg Virtual Archive image).


Figure 6 : Trevor Trevillian with Wild T4 theodolite mounted on the Fundamental Point pillar, ANZAC Hill, Alice Springs in 1950 (by Gus Murray, courtesy Andrew Murray).



Stuart Highway Traverse, Laplace Observation Program, 1950

The three man survey party of Jim Fominas with Trevor and Gus travelled the Stuart Highway undertaking Laplace Observations with a Wild T4 theodolite at selected locations. Their vehicles were identified as being two Chevrolet 6 cylinder, 2WD, 1ton trucks, as shown in Figures 7 and 8 below. The only anecdotal/pictorial facts available about this party’s work was that they built and observed at the Fundamental Point pillar which is 13.51 metres almost due west of the ANZAC memorial obelisk on ANZAC Hill, Alice Springs, observed near Muckaty, and travelled through to Darwin. After reaching Darwin, this survey party returned to Alice Springs to travel back to Adelaide on the Ghan. From Adelaide the men travelled via the Princes Highway to Geelong, Melbourne and back to Canberra. Please refer to Figures 5 and 6 above and 9 below.


Figure 7 : Last vehicles shown are the 1950 Laplace party’s Chevrolet 6 cylinder, 2WD, 1ton trucks (by Gus Murray, courtesy Andrew Murray).


Figure 8 : Laplace party camp at Wauchope with Chevrolet 6 cylinder, 2WD, 1ton trucks (by Gus Murray, courtesy Andrew Murray).


Ford (1979) recorded that in 1957 when the geodetic survey of Australia reached the region around and north of Alice Springs : …the Laplace pillar on Anzac Hill was incorporated into the [geodetic] scheme…it was now August [and]…during this observing period several connections were made to the Stuart Highway Traverse (a high quality ground traverse from Alice Springs to the vicinity of Muckaty Bore. This was measured by the NT Lands and Survey 1945-46; immediately prior to joining National Mapping the Chief Topographic Surveyor, GRL Rimington completed a considerable portion of this traverse)…a two leg spur traverse [off the geodetic survey]…was to connect to R602 the northern terminal point of the Stuart Highway Traverse which was also a Laplace station, the observation being done by National Mapping in 1950. (George Robert Lindsay Rim Rimington (1908-1991) joined the Northern Territory Administration as a Staff Surveyor in 1935, mainly doing pastoral boundary surveys. During this time, he developed the meridian transit method for observing astronomical fixes which was extensively used by Natmap. In 1945, Rim started the first post war geodetic project with the early sections of the first order traverse planned between Alice Springs and Darwin. When the National Mapping organisation was formed in 1947 Rim was appointed Chief Topographic Surveyor in Melbourne responsible for geodetic and topographic surveys and mapping.)



Figure 9 : Left is Wild T4 theodolite mounted on the Fundamental Point pillar with ANZAC memorial obelisk in the background in 1950 (by Gus Murray, courtesy Andrew Murray) and right is ANZAC memorial obelisk on ANZAC Hill, Alice Springs, looking south (XNATMAP photo from late 1950s).


Dave Hocking’s 1985 paper listed the identifiers for the three stations the Laplace party occupied in 1950, being H168, R602 and T356. Station R602 was found to be just north of the turn-off to Muckaty Bore and Homestead (620 kilometres north of Alice Springs) as depicted in Figure 10 below in a section of the R502 series 1: 250,000 scale SE5310 Helen Springs map sheet. This confirmed Reg Ford’s description of R602’s relationship to Muckaty and its use as a 1950 Laplace station. The fact that R602 was not only occupied for a Laplace observation but was also the northern terminal point of the Stuart Highway Traverse is significant. This fact indicated that the Laplace observation was used to check the azimuth of the Stuart Highway Traverse after some 600 kilometres of roadside traversing.

Just south of Ti-Tree (190 kilometres north of Alice Springs) station H176 was found depicted on SF5309 Napperby R502 series map sheet and some 12 kilometres further south H163 was also shown. Thus, station H168, listed by Hocking (1985) as being used for a Laplace observation in 1950, must have been somewhere along that 12 kilometre stretch of highway. Please refer to Figure 11 (left) below.



Figure 10 : Left is photograph of observing tent at R602 near Muckaty and centre (L-R) is Gus Murray and Trevor Trevillian with Wild T4 theodolite and timing equipment inside the observing tent (both photographs courtesy Andrew Murray) and right is section of R502 series, 1: 250,000 scale map SE5310 Helen Springs showing location of R602 (green underline) relative to Muckaty.


Lastly, depicted on the SF5302 Bonney Well R502 series map sheet was T344 just north of Wycliffe Sandridge. The next of the plotted T-series station identifiers was T353 at Wauchope. Given the progression of the T-series station identifiers north, T356 listed by Hocking (1985) as also being used for a Laplace observation in 1950, must have been located in the region of Devils Marbles (please refer to Figure 11 (right) below). T356 would thus have been some 415 kilometres north of Alice Springs. Please refer to Figure 12 below to see the location of the points depicted on the R502 series map sheets relative to each other and Alice Springs.



Figure 11 : (left) Section of R502 series, 1: 250,000 scale, SF5309 Napperby map sheet showing plotted stations H163 and H176; (right) section of R502 series, 1: 250,000 scale SF5302 Bonney Well map sheet showing plotted stations T344 and T353.


From Muckaty it is still some 800 kilometres to Darwin. While it is clear that the party travelled north to Darwin, no further Laplace observations are recorded. No conclusion as to why this extra travel was incurred can thus be drawn.


Figure 12 : Section of 1: 5,000,000 scale map of Australia showing the locations of the identified stations from the R502 series maps relative to each other and Alice Springs.


The 1950 Laplace observing program is summarised in Table 1 and depicted in the map, at Figure 13 below, as reported by the National Mapping Council of Australia in 1966.


Table 1 : Possible 1950 Laplace Observing Program

Survey point ID


Fundamental Point

Anzac Hill, Alice Springs


South of Ti-Tree


Near Devils Marbles


Just north of the turn-off to Muckaty


Figure 13 : Laplace observation sites for the period 1945 to 1955 as extracted from National Mapping Council of Australia (1966);

in addition to the four 1950 sites in the Northern Territory (orange) another four sites (green) were occupied during this period but no other detail is available.  


It is known that the party returned to Adelaide on the Ghan and then drove via Geelong on their return to Canberra. This route meant travelling through Melbourne. As these observations were the first attempted by Natmap, is highly likely that the aim was for the group to brief applicable Melbourne office staff on their work and hand over their results. If nothing else, Rim would have wanted to know about the quality of his earlier traverse, as revealed by the Laplace work. Please refer to Annexure E for additional photographs taken during the 1950 Laplace field work.



Of necessity, this article has taken the few documented and reliable facts and extrapolated a possible scenario. Nevertheless, then Natmappers Jim Fominas, Trevor Trevillian and Gus Murray were part of a group of Natmappers that travelled from Quorn to Alice Springs on the Ghan in 1950. From Alice Springs the three man field party drove the Stuart Highway, undertaking Laplace Observations with a Wild T4 theodolite at selected locations. As with the later geodetic survey, these Laplace observations appear to have been to primarily control/adjust azimuth along the earlier Stuart Highway traverse. The additional benefit of these observations in producing a highly accurate and reliable position fix would have provided an additional check on the original survey’s quality and allowed its further adjustment if required. For just a few months of field survey work some 600 kilometres of highway survey could have been checked/upgraded to a sufficient accuracy for use as mapping control. This control along with that provided by the astrofix program would have provided the framework for the mapping then been undertaken by Natmap on both sides of the Stuart Highway.

The 1950 program of Laplace observations was the first to be undertaken by National Mapping. Programs of Laplace observations, at stations along the loops of the geodetic survey, then continued to be part of the Natmap geodetic program, up to the beginning of the 1970s.

In 1989, Graham Stanton Gus Murray who was a member of the 1950 Natmap Laplace field party and recorded most of the photographs in this article on his Box Brownie, visited Alice Springs with his wife Margaret. Below at Figure 14, is a photograph of Gus at the Fundamental Point pillar on ANZAC Hill, Alice Springs, in 1989. In the intervening 39 years the top of the hill had been levelled meaning that over half the pillar is now buried (please refer to Figures 6 and 9 above).


Figure 14 : Graham Stanton Gus Murray at the Fundamental Point pillar on ANZAC Hill, Alice Springs, in 1989 (courtesy Andrew Murray).


Compiled by Paul Wise, 2017-18, significantly revised May 2020.




The assistance of Andrew Murray, son of 1950s Natmapper Graham Stanton Gus Murray, and Laurie McLean, in the preparation of this article is gratefully acknowledged.





Anonymous (1965), Dimitrius Fominas, in The Canberra Times of Saturday 22 May 1965, page 17, accessed at :


Commonwealth of Australia (1966), Offices Reclassified, Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, No.22, Thursday 3 March 1966, pp.1444.


National Mapping Council of Australia (1966), Work Completed 1945-1965, Division of National Mapping, NMP/66/24.


Ford, Reginald A (1979), The Division of National Mapping’s part in the Geodetic Survey of Australia, The Australian Surveyor, Vol. 29, No. 6, pp. 375-427; Vol. 29, No. 7, pp. 465-536; Vol. 29, No. 8, pp. 581-638.


Rimington, George Robert Lindsay Rim (1992), Obituary accessed at :


Hocking, David Roy (1985), Star Tracking for Mapping - An Account of Astrofix Surveys by the Division of National Mapping during 1948-52, Proceedings of the Institution of Surveyors Australia, 27th Survey Congress Alice Springs, Paper 3, pp.13-26.


Lennie, Ruth (2010), Phillip Lennie, National Mapping Work Record at :


Leppert, Klaus (1973), Geodesy in Australia, 1956-72, Proceedings 16th Australian Survey Congress, Canberra, pp.A1-A6.


Lambert, Bruce P (1963), The Australian Geodetic Survey – An interim report on the utilisation of electronic distance measuring equipment, In Report of Proceedings, Conference of Commonwealth Survey Officers, Cambridge, 1963, Paper 8, pp. 72-75.


Lambert, Bruce P (1964), The Role of Laplace Observations in Geodetic Survey, The Australian Surveyor, Vol.20, Issue 2, pp.81-96.


McLean, Lawrence William (2019), George Robert Lindsay Rimington (1908-1992), XNATMAP website, accessed at :



Murray, Andrew (2017), personal communications.




Annexure A


National Mapping’s Position of Geodetic Survey Computer


The initial establishment for a National Mapping Section within the then Department of the Interior was promulgated in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on 20 March 1947. That establishment provided for one position of Geodetic Survey Computer, Third Division, with an annual salary range of £522-£558. That position was within the National Mapping Records, Information, and Research Sub-section in Canberra.

(In the same Gazette, a position of Survey Computer, Third Division with a salary range of £414-£486 was established within the Photogrammetric Survey Sub-section. Owing to office and housing accommodation shortages in Canberra at that time, it was intended that the Photogrammetric Survey Sub-section would be located in Melbourne on a temporary basis. However, the sub-section which went on to become Nat Map’s Melbourne office remained in that city throughout National Mapping’s existence.)

In March 1966, the Division of National Mapping reclassified the position of Geodetic Survey Computer then in the Geodetic Survey Branch to Surveyor Class 1. The salary was changed with the reclassification from the range £1,692-£1,940 to the range £1,360-£2,646 (see Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No.22, 3 March 1966, page 1444).




Annexure B


Dimitrius Jim Fominas


2 August 1914 (Lithuania) – 17 May 1984 (Sydney)


Image TROVE 1965 Canberra Times


According to a 1965 article in the Canberra Times newspaper, Dimitrius Fominas of Canberra was a migrant who spoke seven languages fluently. He was a specialist geodetic surveyor, with a master's degree in engineering from Brno University, Czechoslovakia.

Dimitrius was buried at Woronora Memorial Park, Sutherland NSW.



Graham Stanton Gus Murray


14 August 1922 (Canberra) - 1 September 2005 (Canberra)


Image courtesy of Margaret Murray


Mother : Sarah Ruby Elizabeth

Father : Ernest

Service : Australian Army

Date of Enlistment : 11 August 1942

Place of Enlistment : Kolodong, NSW

Address at Enlistment : “Kurrumbene” ACT

Date of Discharge : 12 October 1944

Rank : Private

Posting at Discharge : 2/10 Battalion

School(s) Attended : Telopea Park School, Canberra Grammar School

Occupation : Grazier


Graham Murray grew up on his parent's property at Kurrumbene, which covered parts of modern day Fyshwick and Narrabundah. On page 2 of the Canberra Times of Tuesday 27 November 1934, Graham Murray along with Jack and Trevor Trevillian, are listed as students from Telopea Park Primary who qualified for entrance to Telopea Park Intermediate High School.

Graham initially enlisted as a Trooper with the 7th Light Horse Regiment (C Squadron) on 10 August 1940 in Canberra. While posted to Kolodong near Taree the 7th Light Horse was redesignated as the 7th Australian Motor Regiment and Murray enlisted in the AIF on 11 August 1942.

Murray transferred to 2/10 Battalion on 3 July 1943 and arrived in Port Moresby the following month. He fought with the 2/10 Battalion in New Guinea at Shaggy Ridge in the Finisterre Mountains in January and February 1944. The following month Murray was evacuated suffering from malaria and was discharged in October 1944. After the war, he became a grazier in the Tinderry area for many years and later at Burra. His father, Ernest, served in World War 1. Graham Murray died on 1 September 2005 and is buried in the Tharwa Road Cemetery, Queanbeyan.



Trevor Glen Trevillian


28 November 1922 (Canberra) – 14 June 1995 (Canberra)


Trevor at his retirement function on 10 March 1981

(Courtesy Colin Kimber)



Mother : Christina Nilsson

Father : Thomas Henry

Service : Australian Army

Date of Enlistment : 28 November 1941

Place of Enlistment : Kingston, ACT

Address at Enlistment : Jardine Street, Kingston ACT

Date of Discharge : 1 June 1943

Rank : Private

Posting at Discharge : 3 Battalion

Service : Royal Australian Air Force

Date of Enlistment : 3 June 1943

Place of Enlistment : Sydney, NSW

Date of Discharge : 10 October 1947

Rank : Flight Sergeant

Posting at Discharge : 5 Service Flying Training School

School(s) Attended : Telopea Park School, Canberra High School (1934-1940)

Occupation : Public Servant


Trevor Glen Trevillian was born in Canberra on 28 November 1922. He was the youngest son of Tom and Christina Trevillian. Thomas Henry Harry and Jack Nilsson Johnny were Trevor’s older brothers. Trevor was the first baby born in the Kingston (Canberra) Power House cottages. Trevor’s parents Thomas Henry Tom Trevillian (1884-1962) and Christina Trevillian nee Nilsson (1884-1968) were among the first residents of the suburb of Kingston in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

On page 2 of The Canberra Times of Tuesday 27 November 1934, Trevor Trevillian along with his brother Jack and Graham Murray, mentioned above, are listed as students from Telopea Park Primary who qualified for entrance to Telopea Park Intermediate High School. Growing up Trevor attended Telopea Park School followed by Canberra High School. At the completion of his schooling Trevor sat the Commonwealth Public Service Examination (Number 2306) as a then precursor to entering the Commonwealth Public Service. He was successful ranking 16 of 24, as shown on page 367 of Commonwealth Gazette No.31 of 24 February 1941, thus being eligible for appointment to the Third Division of the Commonwealth Public Service as Clerk or as Cadet. Trevor received his clerical appointment to the Department of Trade and Customs in Commonwealth Gazette No.43 of 6 March 1941, page 465

Trevor enlisted with 3 Battalion (also referred to as the Werriwa Regiment, a militia battalion) on 28 November 1941. He arrived in Port Moresby in May 1942 and served on the Kokoda Track from 5 September 1942 at Ioribaiwa, Imita Ridge, Templetons Crossing and Oivi with 7 Platoon, A Company of the 3rd Battalion until November 1942.

When 3 Battalion was disbanded in 1943 he enlisted with the RAAF on 3 June 1943. Trevor trained as a pilot at No.10 Elementary Flying Training School at Temora before embarking for Canada in March 1944 as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme. However, shortly afterwards the scheme was wound back as the need for pilots lessened and Trevor returned to Australia in 1945. When he was discharged in October 1947 he was attached to the No.5 Service Flying Training School at Uranquinty NSW.

A few months earlier page 1505 of the Commonwealth Gazette No.98 of 5 June 1947, recorded that Trevor moved from a Clerk in the Department of Trade and Customs to Cadet Draftsman (Cartographic), Property and Survey Branch, Department of the Interior. After marrying Betty (Ruby Elizabeth) in the 1940s, the couple lived at 5 Tench Street Kingston. In 1947, the National Mapping Section was established within the Property and Survey Branch of the Department of Interior and existing cartographic staff were transferred to the new Section. Thus in 1950, Trevor as a Cadet Draftsman (Cartographic) along with Graham Stanton Gus Murray as Driver (Survey) formed a Laplace observing party under Lithuanian-born Dimitrius Jim Fominas then a Geodetic Computer with a master's degree in engineering from Brno University, Czechoslovakia.

Studying at night school, Trevor qualified as a draftsman within the Department of the Interior. Page 3260 of Commonwealth Gazette No.68 of 11 November 1954, shows Trevor’s promotion from Draftsman, Grade 1 (Photogrammetric) in the Photogrammetric Survey Subsection of the National Mapping Section, Canberra to Draftsman, Grade 2 (Photogrammetric).

Between 1956 and 1972, Trevor was responsible for the compilation of maps for ANARE (Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions) and an island was named in his honour. Trevillian Island is off the coast of MacRobertson Land, Australian Antarctic Territory (coordinates 67 degrees 38 minutes South, 62 degrees 42 minutes East).

By the early 1960s, Trevor and his family had moved to 65 Coranderrk Street Reid. In 1961, Trevor was promoted from Draftsman, Grade 2 to Senior Drafting Officer, Grade 2 in National Mapping’s then Map Production Branch.

At one stage Trevor managed the Photolithographic Laboratory which produced a large range of photographic and printing services for not only Natmap but external clients as well.

By the time Trevor retired from the Public Service in 1981 he had risen to the position of Chief Cartographer, Thematic Mapping Branch. In this role he had overseen the production of Atlases covering the themes of Australian Resources, Population and Housing, and Australian People, the Australian Small Scale Thematic Map Series, and various small scale national maps. On the lead-up to the 5 yearly Australian censuses of population and housing, the significant task of producing the various maps for each of the census districts had to be completed.

Sadly, Trevor passed away at his home in Reid on 11 June 1995, at age 72 years of age. Trevor’s funeral service was held in the Anglican Parish Church of St John the Baptist Reid on 14 June 1995. At the conclusion of the service the funeral left for the Norwood Park Crematorium. Trevor was survived by his wife Betty, and children Susan (Mrs Bruce Mills), William Robert (Bill), Thomas John (Tom), Phillip James (Phillip) and Judy (Mrs Terry Dowdall).






Annexure C


Quorn Railway Station, South Australia : 1950 & 2009


1950 Natmap survey party members at Quorn Railway Station (L-R) Jim Fominas, Bill Griffiths, Ted Caspers, Trevor Trevillian mostly hidden by Dave Hocking, Phil Lennie waving, Clyde Denton squatting and Reg Ford holding onto his hat (by Gus Murray, courtesy Andrew Murray)


2009 photograph of Quorn Railway Station with Transcontinental Hotel in the right background (courtesy Laurie McLean)




A site for the town was surveyed by Godfrey Walsh in 1878 and named after Quorndon in Leicestershire.

The town of Quorn had begun with the surveying for the railways. Nothing came of the earlier railway schemes, but on 27 June 1876 the Act to construct a line from Port Augusta to Government Gums (now Farina) was assented to by the then South Australian Governor, Sir Anthony Musgrave (1828-1888). Quorn would eventually become the junction of the Sydney-Perth and Adelaide-Darwin railway systems.

In February 1879 WC Greenslade opened his Transcontinental Hotel which he said had Unrivalled accommodation, Commercial Rooms, Bath, Billiards, Superior Wines and Spirits. Later that year the line to Quorn was completed and opened for traffic on 15 December 1879. From now on Quorn's population increased rapidly, not just because of the railway employees but also business people to cater for them and the people who travelled on the train. Quorn also served the farmers on the newly opened Willochra plain. It soon had its post office, police station, church, bank, transport facilities, brewery, water supply, baker, butcher and school. The first school was opened in 1879.

Later the Railways built workshops adding further population and the need for even more support services. The first teamster to provide transport services in and around Quorn was William Abbott, who operated from Saltia where he started carting materials for the Overland Telegraph Line.

By 1883 the town had become big enough to have its own council and on 25 October 1883 Quorn was incorporated. William C. Barton was elected its first mayor.

At the turn of the century Quorn had several churches, Methodist, Anglican, Lutheran, Catholic as well as the Salvation Army. It had just as many hotels, The Criterion, Grand Junction, Transcontinental and Pinkerton, later changed to Austral.

A hundred years later however, with the rerouting of the Sydney-Perth and Adelaide-Darwin railway systems, Quorn was no longer a railway hub and turned to servicing the tourist industry.


Extracted from :





Annexure D


International KB5 Model Truck


1953 photograph of Reg Ford and Bill Griffiths with a Natmap short wheel base 4WD Land Rover and trailer and an International KB5 truck, loaded on train at Quorn Railway Station, SA, (after Ford, 1979)



Both above photographs show reading atmospheric pressure from a battery of four Short & Mason 5" aneroid barometers by Lennie and Griffiths (standing) with International KB5 truck in background

(photographer Hocking, courtesy Peter Hocking)






Annexure E


Other photographs taken by Gus Murray, courtesy Andrew Murray, during the 1950 Laplace field work

Gus in camp at Muckaty

Trevor in camp at Muckaty

Dimitrius Jim near Barrow Creek

Main street of Quorn

In main street of Marree

At Coward Springs

Looking north to Heavitree Gap, Alice Springs

Looking south to Heavitree Gap, Alice Springs

Looking west to Central Mount Stuart with Jim in foreground

Main street of Tennant Creek with left the then Goldfields Hotel

Graves of Tom Nugent, Boss of Banka Banka Station on left, and Stockman Archibald Cameron right, at the old Tennant Creek Telegraph Station with its outbuildings including cellar building fartherest left, in background

Trevor and Gus at Banka Banka

At Daly Waters

Signpost at Darwin

Darwin Park


Trevor and Gus at Geelong on way back to Canberra