Kevin Arnold Moody (1935-2012)


Kevin Moody at 2007 Nat Map reunion.


With Kevin’s passing on 1 April 2012, Nat Map lost one of its longest serving members and a friend and colleague to all.


Prior to joining Nat Map in 1961, Kevin (Service No. 6915) had served three years in the RAE (Engineers) before being assigned to the 7/55 Basic Survey Course at Balcombe, in May 1955, to learn something about surveying. On successfully passing the course, he transferred to the Royal Australian Survey Corps (RA Survey) serving a further three years. During this period he was part of two major field operations; Project Cutlass, the joint United States-Australian project to map New Ireland using the technique of shore-ship traversing/triangulation (during which Kevin was promoted to Corporal) in 1956/57 of fifteen months duration, and then the Charters Towers to Tennant Creek Tellurometer traverse of eight months duration. During this period Kevin’s address on the electoral roll was, Fortuna, Barnard Street Golden Square (Bendigo).


On leaving the army in 1959, Kevin worked for Geosurveys in South Australia and spent quite some time on survey work in Portuguese Timor, now East Timor. Reginald Claude Sprigg, AO (1919-1994) was an Australian geologist and conservationist who had studied under Sir Douglas Mawson. Sprigg founded Geosurveys of Australia in 1954 as a consulting and contracting company for geological and geophysical work. In 1962, Geosurveys was incorporated into Beach Petroleum of which Sprigg was general manager. Sprigg had also helped to establish South Australia Northern Territory Oil Search Limited. Santos Ltd was incorporated in Adelaide on 18 March 1954 with the inaugural directors being: John Langdon Bonython AO (1905-1992) (chairman), Major General George William Symes CB MC and Bar (1896 1980), Robert Francis Bristowe (1904-1959), Colonel Sir Henry Simpson Newland CBE DSO MB MS FRCS (1873–1969) and Sir Douglas Mawson OBE FRS FAA (1882-1958).


7/55 Basic Survey Course, School of Survey, Balcombe, 1955-56

Rear: Spr I.C. (Ike) Lever, Spr B.M. (Brian) Berkery, Spr J.L. (Johnny) Williamson, Spr J.R. (Joe) Farrington, Spr R.G. (Bob) Thompson, Spr J.G. (Jeff) Sweett, Spr A.P.C. (Tony) Slattery, Spr K.A. (Kevin) Moody, Spr R.H. (Bob) Beckett, Spr T.D. (David) King, Spr.S.A.(Steve) Rose, Spr J.(John) Lambie, Spr G. (George) Ullinger.

Front: Spr W.P. (Spider) Webbe, Spr R.F. (Bob) Skitch, Spr S.G.Mehling, WO2 A.B.M. (Alec) Pond, Sgt Cox, WO2 K.R.(Ken) Shaw,  WO2 J.W. (Jim)  Bounds, Spr J. (Jerzy) Gruszka, Spr M.N.(Maurie) Jecks, Cpl S.A. (Sam) Chambers.


In the Royal Australian Survey Corps Association Queensland Bulletin, Kevin wrote after revisiting Fortuna in 2009 : I began to see Fortuna as it was for me in 1956-59. I could see seven figure log books pushed to the end of a desk, to make room for a Brunsviga calculator and a small Curta equivalent nearby waiting to slide into someone's pocket. Wild T2 theodolites and Tellurometer EDMs should have been in the storeroom and Multiplex men with their red and blue spectacles who didn't leave their darkened den, but I knew where they were. A slotted template assembly lay on the floor upstairs near a group of neatly uniformed WRAACS, who performed their work with quiet efficiency.


Kevin arrived at Nat Map with a contingent of ex-RA Survey personnel, including his best mates Lou Summers and John Van de Graf. Others were Alec Pond, Bernie Snell, Blue Lalor, Bob Chomley and Darryl Parker. After working on PNG mapping, he later spent some time in the field in 1965 and 1966 in Queensland with Aerodist. His initial role, along with Terry Larkin and Bob Foster with Aerodist, was to break out Aerodist charts! During these years the electoral roll has Kevin living with his parents, Denis Henry Moody, trimmer, and Margaret Anne Moody, at 9 Coghlan Street, Niddrie. After his marriage to Myra Valma Moody, a nursing sister, their address between 1967 and 1977 is shown as 103 Quinn Grove, East Keilor.


Around the time automated photogrammetric techniques were being introduced at Nat Map the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No.2, 9 January 1969, page 299, showed that Kevin was appointed to a Drafting Officer, Grade 2, position. A later Gazette, Issue 35, 4 May 1972, page 109, has Kevin being promoted from a Technical Officer (Surveying), Grade 2 to Senior Technical Officer (Surveying), Grade 1, in the Photogrammetric Survey Section, Topocart Sub-section. His duties were : take charge of a shift engaged in the production of orthophotomaps by semi-automated methods. Supervise subordinate staff.  Select and analyse mapping control data and maintain progress records of all phases of orthophotomap production. Kevin is probably best remembered for his development work on the Wild B8 Stereomats, followed by similar work with the Zeiss Jena Topocarts and Zeiss Oberkochen SEG V rectifier. These instruments worked round the clock then, producing Orthophotomaps (OPMs).  


When I joined Nat Map in the late 60s and was being given work in all the areas to understand how it all fitted together, I spent some time with Kevin gridding on the Stereomats. Kevin was only too eager to tell of his best job – contouring a pair of female breasts on the Stereomat! It was part of an early medical study into breast cancer to see if the cancer caused deformations in the breast. If these deformations could not be seen, could they be enhanced if stereo-images were contoured and would the auto-contouring Stereomat achieve this quickly? As Kevin said in a concerned tone “this was a serious study and I was happy to help as if this method provided any early indication of cancer it could save lives, therefore you understand how I gave it my full and undivided attention” now with a laugh.


Kevin’s work with Geosurveys gave him an insight into the value of the OPM to industry as the minerals push was well underway in Australia. The mining/minerals sector required a form of map that had the detail of the aerial photograph but from which accurate coordinates could also be derived so that mining claims/mineral rights could be quickly and accurately referenced, without the need for expensive and time consuming survey. Remember that speed and secrecy was essential to the industry and in the regions being explored a nearby survey mark was not yet readily available. The Orthophotomap seemed to meet that requirement as well as being a form of rapid mapping.


During March-April 1977, the Division of National Mapping’s Melbourne office at Rialto, relocated to Ellery House in Dandenong. A revised organisational structure was implemented with the move to Ellery House. The restructure saw Kevin provisionally promoted from Senior Technical Officer (Surveying), Grade 1 to Senior Technical Officer (Surveying), Grade 2 with duties : take charge of a group or groups involved in: (i) Production of line map compilations by conventional photogrammetric or orthophotomap derived methods, (ii) Production of orthophotographs and orthophotomaps, (iii) Production of digital terrain models and contour plots. (Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, 22 September 1977, PS38, page 68).


Early 1960s at the Rialto : (L-R) Kevin Moody, Lothar Jalonik, Bob Foster, Des Young, Jerry Nuri, Clement Yong.


1965 Aerodist operations : (L-R) Terry Larkin, Terry Douglas, Kevin Moody and Andy Lukas in Queensland.


1966 Aerodist operations : (L-R) Dick Carter, Kevin Moody, Terry Larkin, Andy Lukas, Brian Daenke and Terry Douglas at Rockhampton.


Late 1960s at the Rialto : Wild B8 Stereomat Room (L-R) Kevin Moody, Alan Thomson, Rod Maruff, four Wild technicians in white shirts, John Allen.


Mid 1980s at Ellery house : Topographic Compilation Branch management team office (L-R) Ron Wilson, Kevin Moody and Rod Menzies.


From the early 1980s, Kevin jointly managed, until his retirement in 1989, one of the two teams undertaking map compilation. The Hermansburg (5450) 1:100,000 scale map sheet was not only the first to be fully compiled, by stereoplotting and table digitising, by National Mapping, it was the last map required to complete the NTMS program. Kevin had the pleasure of seeing his Team’s map endorsed by the Hon. Stewart West MP in October 1987. (Australian Government Gazette, 17 July 1980, PS29, page 88, KA Moody from Supervising Draftsman, unattached to Senior Technical Officer (Surveying), Grade 3, as a member of a management team jointly control a group of project teams engaged on the base compilation and field completion of 1: 100 000 and 1: 250 000 scale topographic mapping.)


While no Gazette notice was found for Kevin’s retirement, the Natmap News, No.64 of April 1989, recorded that Kevin, together with Adrian Wright and John Madden, were farewelled at a recent function. He was an adventurer who over several years travelled (in different craft) the course of the Murray River from its actual source to the sea. He enjoyed his golf and played in many of Nat Map’s golf days having varied success. An ardent Bombers supporter he (with others) was a frequent visitor to the old AFL Waverley ground while living at 38 Calderwood Avenue, Wheelers Hill. Around his retirement he, Myra and family moved to 37 Pomora Ave, Torquay.


Kevin’s funeral took place on Thursday 5 April 2012, at Tuckers Chapel, Barrabool Hills Centre, to the north of Torquay, before leaving for the Mount Duneed Cemetery (Methodist Section).


The top photo is probably how most of us remember Kevin, as in the later years he supported the Social Club’s 7th floor functions as we all enjoyed a drink together and had a laugh. During these occasions Kevin always had a funny story or experience to relate and his good humour seemed to make the world a better place.




Compiled by Paul Wise, 2012; updated with further research from Laurie Mclean, 2020









Queensland Branch BULLETIN - MID-YEAR EDITION – No.49 JUNE 2012


Vale: Kevin Arnold Moody

Kevin Moody passed away unexpectedly in the early hours of Sunday 1 April 2012 at his home in Torquay, Victoria.  At the time of his death he was surrounded by his family who had all been attending a family get-together in his home the night before.  Kevin’s death was unexpected because he suffered from no known ailments and was leading a fit, active and involved life.


Kevin had a relatively short period of service in the Corps, transferring from Engineers after completing the 7/55 Basic Course at the School of Survey, Balcombe in May 1956.  But in the three full years that Kevin served in Survey he was deployed on two iconic jobs of the Corps that were to set the direction of the Corps for the following two decades – Project Cutlass, the joint US‑Australian project to map New Ireland using the technique of shore-ship traversing/triangulation (during which Kevin was promoted to corporal) and then in 1958 the Charters Towers to Tennant Creek Tellurometer traverse.


In April 1959 Kevin left the Corps and joined ‘Geosurveys of Australia’, an oil exploration firm.  Following a period of oil exploration work in the more remote parts of South Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland the firm sent Kevin to Portuguese East Timor for four months undertaking further oil work and having to side step around the 1959 uprising against the Portuguese authority.  He was withdrawn by the firm and returned for a further five months in 1960. With a wedding approaching Kevin joined the Division of National Mapping where he continued through to retirement.


Kevin’s Portuguese Timor experience has remained with him and in recent years he has researched Australia’s continuing involvement with that nation both during WW2 and since then.  Kevin could never forget the warm regard with which Timorese people held Australians, and extended to him during his work there.  Kevin has recorded his own experiences in 1959 and 1960.  It makes interesting reading and in particular the very moving story of his Timorese assistant and interpreter, Celestino Dos Anjos who had become proficient in English during WW2 with the Australian 2/2nd Independent Company (‘Sparrow Force’) but who lost his own life and that of his family in the hands of the Indonesians in the 1983 pro-independence uprising.  Kevin’s story of Celestino won an RSL literary prize.


Perhaps that life was a little on the quiet side and with Lou Sommer (Survey Corps 1956-1965) they embarked of some very adventurous holidays – rafting the Franklin in Tasmania, cross-country skiing in the Australian Alps and then over three years floating, rafting and power boating (a tinny that is) the entire length of the Murray from its eastern most head-water to the Murray Mouth, claiming arguably that they were the first to do that.  Quieter pursuits were sailing on Lake Eppalock.  Kevin was well regarded in National Mapping, leaving that organisation from the Dandenong office as a senior cartographer in 1989.


In recent times Kevin became very involved with the Torquay RSL and the principal organiser of their Anzac Day observance.  He undertook other associated tasks as he saw the need, for example, the cleaning of monuments along that section of the southern coast.


Kevin’s funeral took place at Tuckers Chapel, Barrabool Hills Centre a very rural setting north of Torquay on Thursday 5 April.  His casket carried his Corps Association Beret and three medals – the Australian Service Medal 1945-75 (PNG clasp), the Australian Defence Medal and the PNG Defence Commemoration Medal (issued by the PNG Government) was attended by some 200 of Kevin’s friends and past work associates and his close family.  His Army mates attending were Lou Sommer (and his wife Gillian), John Van de Graaff (with his son Leon) and Bob Skitch.  It was a very moving ceremony and a celebration of Kevin’s life.  Lou undertook the role of MC, John gave a rendition of the old song ‘Going Home’, Kevin’s sons Peter and Michael and only grandson James gave moving tributes and Bob spoke of early days in the Survey Corps with Kevin.


Kevin is survived by wife Myrie, sons Peter and Michael and grandson James. Bob Skitch adds a further personal comment: Kevin was a special friend, a unique person.  Our families have remained close despite a separation of some 2000 kms.  Kevin’s wife Myrie is a close nursing colleague and friend of my wife Wendy and we were each ‘best man’ at each other’s wedding.  Bob sorely misses the loss of his close friend Kevin.