Trevor Glen Trevillian

 (28 November 1922 Ė 11 June 1995)

Trevor Trevillian speaking at his Natmap retirement function on 10 March 1981

(Courtesy Colin Kimber)



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 Trevorís older brothers. Trevor was the first baby born in the Kingston (Canberra) Power House cottages.

Trevorís 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). Tom Trevillian was born in Williamstown, Victoria. He married Christina Nilsson of Rutherglen in 1911. When Tom was appointed to the position of shift engineer with the Canberra Powerhouse in 1919, the family lived in Queanbeyan. Tom Trevillian had previously run a power station in Goulburn that produced direct current electricity. In January 1922, the Trevillians moved into one of the first 10 brick government cottages built in Canberra, and what became known as the Power House cottages. They lived in this house on the corner of Telopea Park and Jardine Street Kingston until 1929. Tom then bought a privately built house on the opposite side of Jardine Street, Kingston, the postal address of which was then The Powerhouse via Eastlake. 6 Jardine Street was the family home until Christina passed away in the 1960s.

Around 1923, Tom was appointed Station Operating Engineer and in 1928, Power House Supervisor. He retired from that post in 1951 aged 67. Tom built from bits of scrap the whistle that blew at the Powerhouse at 8am, 12 noon and 5 pm daily. On 19 November 2009, the name Trevillian Quay near the shore of Lake Burley Griffin in Kingston was gazetted for the Trevillians as Kingston pioneers.

The Kingston Powerhouse was designed by John Smith Murdoch and constructed between 1913 and 1915, as the planned city of Canberra was coming into being. The Powerhouse was the first permanent public building in Canberra. Originally intended to be a temporary structure, it supplied Canberra with coal generated electricity until its closure in 1929. However, the Powerhouse was reactivated for periods between 1936 and 1942 and between 1948 and 1957. It was sited on the banks of the Molonglo River using the river water to convert to steam for the generation of electricity. This site was also located alongside the railway line, which brought coal to fire the boilers. The impressive coal elevator remains affixed to the Northern side of the building today. The elevator lifted coal from the trains into the hoppers in the boiler room. Kingston Powerhouse is today Canberra's oldest public building and listed by the ACT Heritage Council. It has been converted, and now houses the Canberra Glassworks which opened in May 2007.

Growing up, Trevor attended Telopea Park School followed by Canberra High School. The Canberra Times of Tuesday 27 November 1934, on its page 2 under Primary Schools, Results of Final Examination listed pupils who had qualified for entrance to Telopea Park Intermediate High School and lists Jack Trevillian and Trevor Trevillian then from Telopea Park Primary. Trevor completed his Intermediate Certificate as shown in The Canberra Times of 25 January 1939, on page 2 under Intermediate Examination Results. Trevorís marks were listed as : 1B, 2B, 5B, 11A, 17B, 18A, 19A (with 1-English, 2-History, 5-Mathematics II, 11-Elementary Science (Physics and Chemistry), 17-Technical Drawing, 18-Woodwork, 19-Metalwork).

Trevor completed his Leaving Certificate at Canberra High School at the end of 1940. He completed his secondary schooling with the following external examination results : English : B; Maths-I : B; Modern History : B; Physics : B; Chemistry : L; and Technical Drawing : B. The Grade B was a second class pass and the Grade L was a lower class pass. These results were reported on page 3 of The Canberra Times on 9 January 1941. (Canberra High School was constituted at the beginning of 1938 at the Telopea Park School site in New South Wales Crescent. In August 1939 the school moved to a new building that is now the School of Art at Design within the Australian National University at Childers Street Acton. In August 1969, the school moved to its present site in Bindubi Street Macquarie.)

In early 1941, Trevor sat a Commonwealth Public Service Examination (Number 2306) the then precursor to entering the Third Division of the Commonwealth Public Service as a Clerk or as a Cadet. His merit ranking was 16 out of the 24 candidates who sat an examination in Canberra. This result was promulgated on page 367 of Commonwealth Gazette No.31 on 20 February 1941. Trevor was appointed as a Clerk, Third Division in the Department of Trade and Customs on 6 March 1941 as promulgated in Commonwealth Gazette No.43, page 465.


War Service

World War II intervened early in Trevorís public service career. Between November 1941 and October 1947, Trevor served in the ranks with both the Australian Army and later the Royal Australian Air Force.

Trevor had a short but intense and bloody 18 month career in the Australian Army as an infantryman. During that time Trevor served on the Kokoda Track and elsewhere in Papua and New Guinea. He was one of a relatively small force of Australian soldiers that saved our country from the invasion planned by the forces of the Japanese Empire.

Trevorís Army service was as a national serviceman in a Militia Infantry Battalion. The Militia, which later became known as the Citizens Military Forces, was a part-time force in peace time but was mobilised during war time. During World War II, national servicemen could not be sent to overseas theatres of war. However, as Papua and New Guinea were then Australian Trust Territories, the Curtin Government mobilised national service conscripts to serve in that theatre.

†††††† Australian Army

Trevor enlisted as a national serviceman in the Militia at Canberra on his 19th birthday (28 November 1941); Service Number N243364. He served as a Private in the Third Infantry Battalion. He arrived in Port Moresby in May 1942 and served on the Kokoda Track from 5 September 1942 at Ioribaiwa, Imita Ridge, Templetonís Crossing and Oivi with 7 Platoon, A Company of the 3rd Battalion until November 1942. The 3rd Battalion was disbanded in 1943.

The 3rd Infantry Battalion was raised in 1921 as a Militia unit known as the Werriwa Regiment. By 1937 the Battalion was based around the Goulburn area, as part of the 14th Brigade. Before the Second World War the 3rd Battalion held occasional camps and paraded in the evenings.

In 1942 with the start of the Pacific campaign, the Battalion was mobilised for full-time service and brought up to strength with national service recruits. These additional men came from the Southern Highlands, Canberra, the South Coast, and from other towns as far south as Delegate, on the Victorian border. In January 1942 the 3rd Battalion went into camp at Greta, west of Maitland, before moving to defensive positions along the coast near Newcastle in New South Wales in March 1942. At the start of May 1942, the Battalion returned to Greta, where, after only a few days leave, it moved to Port Moresby at the end of the month. The Battalion then settled into garrison duties at Port Moresby while the Japanese were moving into Papua.

In the third week of July 1942, Japanese forces landed in the Gona area on the north coast of Papua and then moved inland. The first clash between Australian troops, from the 39th Infantry Battalion and the Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB), and the Japanese occurred at Awala on 23 July. On 8 August the 39th Battalion counter-attacked at Kokoda but being outnumbered and short of ammunition it fell back to Deniki. By 14 August 1942 the 39th Battalion and PIB had fallen back to Isurava.

3rd Infantry Battalion on the Kokoda Track in 1942

On 23 August 1942, the 2/14th and 2/16th Battalions from the 7th Division 21st Brigade also reached the area. The Japanese resumed their advance on 26 August.† Despite hard fighting the Australians were forced back to Eora Creek on 30 August, Templeton's Crossing on 2 September, and Efogi three days later. Exhausted, the 39th Battalion (the Hawthorn-Kew Regiment) was relieved and sent down the track to Koitaki. The 39th had suffered 135 men killed and 253 men wounded. By now, the Australians were reinforced by the 7th Division 25th Brigade, as well as the 3rd Infantry Battalion and the 2/1st Pioneer Battalion.

The 3rd left Port Moresby and started up the track on 5 September, reaching Ioribaiwa the next day. The 3rd and the Pioneers came under the command of the 21st Brigade and later the 25th. The 3rd patrolled around Ioribaiwa and, along with the composite 2/14th-2/16th Battalion and 2/6th Independent Company, helped to hold off the Japanese. Ioribaiwa was held for four days before the Australians withdrew to Imita Ridge on 17 September. However, the Japanese had reached their limit and on 24 September began to withdraw. Thereafter, the 3rd participated in the advance back along the track, patrolling and then occupying Ioribaiwa, Menari and Efogi, Myola and Templeton's Crossing. The patrol was constant and the fighting bitter. From 24 to 29 October the Battalion rested at Myola before returning to the front.

The Australians reoccupied Kokoda on 2 November, followed a day later by the 3rd Battalion, which assumed responsibility for the area around the village. Shortly after, the 3rd Battalion moved on to Oivi behind the 2/1st and 2/2nd Battalions from the 6th Division 16th Brigade. The 3rd Battalion reached Wairopi on 15 November and Soputa, on the east coast of Papua, five days later.

Having pushed the Japanese back across the Owen Stanley's, the Allies moved into the final phase of the Papuan campaign - the Battle of the Beachheads. The 16th and 25th Brigades, as well as two inexperienced American regiments, were engaged in bitter fighting at Buna, Gona, and Sanananda. The Japanese positions were well prepared and heavily defended.

On 25 November 1942 the 3rd Battalion, now supporting the 25th Brigade, attacked Gona. Previous attacks on the area had failed and, although their casualties were lighter, the 3rd Battalionís attack was also stopped. Another attempt four days later was again stopped by Japanese machine-gun fire and snipers. The 21st Brigade was brought in to reinforce the exhausted Australians and Gona was finally captured on 1 December 1942. The 3rd Battalion returned to Popondetta and then Soputa from where it was flown back to Port Moresby.

At the start of 1943 the 3rd Battalion returned to Australia and went into camp at Wondecla on the Atherton Tablelands. This was a period of reorganisation for the 3rd as it became part of the 30th Brigade within the 6th Division. Between April and July 1943, the 30th Brigade composed of the 3rd, 39th and 49th Battalions was disbanded.

This reorganisation came as a disappointing surprise to the 3rd Battalion, which had fought gallantly across the Kokoda Trail and at Buna. The national servicemen serving with the 3rd Battalion became part of the 36th Infantry Battalion. Volunteers for overseas service were merged with the survivors of the 2/22nd Battalion to form the 3/22nd Battalion. Shortly afterwards the 3/22nd was absorbed into the 2/3rd Battalion.

The 3rd Battalion had suffered 52 men killed and 62 men wounded. During most of its time in Papua and New Guinea, the 3rd Infantry Battalion was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Allan Gordon Cameron DSO and Bar (1909-1960). Throughout the campaign the Battalionís officers held only temporary rank. Cameronís substantive rank was Captain and all other officersí substantive ranks were Lieutenants. Higher ranks held during the campaign were on a temporary basis although Cameronís and several other officersí temporary ranks were later substantiated.

Most likely due to the loss through administrative actions of the Battalion which he had served during some of the most bloody fighting in New Guinea and Papua, Trevor sought his discharge from the Army which became effective on 1 June 1943.

†††††† Royal Australian Air Force

On 3 June 1943, Trevor enlisted in the RAAF at Sydney; Service Number 433881.

In the RAAF, Trevor trained as a pilot at No.10 Elementary Flying Training School, Temora New South Wales. In March 1944, he embarked for Canada and the Empire Air Training Scheme that trained pilots for service in England during World War II. Throughout 1944 Australiaís contribution to the scheme was wound back at Britainís instigation. Although the scheme effectively ended in October 1944, it was not formally suspended until 31 March 1945. By this time, over 37,000 Australian airmen had been trained as part of the scheme. Trevor returned to Australia in 1945.

Trevor was discharged from the RAAF on 10 October 1947. At discharge he held the rank of Flight Sergeant and had been serving with No.5 Service Flying Training School at Uranquinty near Wagga Wagga New South Wales.


National Mapping

A few months earlier Commonwealth Gazette No. 98 of 5 June 1947, on page 1505 recorded that Trevor was promoted (albeit at slightly lower salary) from a Clerk in the Department of Trade and Customs to the newly created position of Cadet Draftsman (Cartographic), in the National Mapping Section of the Property and Survey Branch, Department of the Interior, Canberra.

In 1947, the National Mapping Section had been established within the Property and Survey Branch of the Department of Interior and existing staff were transferred to the new Section.

For the 1950 field survey season, Trevor as a Cadet Draftsman (Cartographic) along with Graham Stanton Gus Murray (1922-2005) as a Driver (Survey) formed a Laplace observing party under Dimitrius Jim Fominas (1914-1984) then a Geodetic Survey Computer. Russian-born Jim was then a Lithuanian national who held a master's degree in engineering from Brno University, Czechoslovakia (in March 1966, the Division of National Mapping reclassified the position of Geodetic Survey Computer 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 (Commonwealth of Australia, 1966)). The three man party travelled up the Stuart Highway undertaking Laplace observations with a Wild T4 theodolite at selected locations. These Laplace observations are believed to be the first such observations undertaken by National Mapping.

Trevor with Wild T4 theodolite mounted on the Fundamental Point pillar, ANZAC Hill, Alice Springs in 1950

(by Graham Murray, courtesy Andrew Murray)


After marrying Betty (Ruby Elizabeth) in the 1940s, the couple lived at 5 Tench Street Kingston (although Trevor was still registered at his parentsí address at 6 Jardine Street Kingston). Ruby Elizabeth Trevillian is listed on electoral rolls at 5 Tench Street in 1949, 1954, and 1958. On all these rolls however, Trevor Glen Trevillian is listed at 6 Jardine Street. No electoral roll listing was found for Trevor Glen Trevillian prior to 1949.

Later in the early 1950s, after studying at night school to supplement his hands-on work at National Mapping, Trevor qualified as a draftsman within the Department of the Interior. Page 3260 of Commonwealth Gazette No.68 of 11 November 1954, shows Trevorís subsequent promotion from Draftsman, Grade 1 (Photogrammetric) in the Photogrammetric Survey Subsection of the National Mapping Section, Canberra to Draftsman, Grade 2 (Photogrammetric). His duties in this position were listed as : under direction carry out special photogrammetric drafting assignments requiring considerable drafting experience.

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, as shown in the map below, is off the coast of Mac. Robertson Land, Eastern Antarctica (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 (on the north west corner of Gooreen Street). The Trevillian family was listed on electoral rolls at 65 Coranderrk in 1963, 1968, 1972, 1977, and 1980 which is limit of Ancestry electoral roll searching.

Section of map of Antarctica showing location of Trevillian Island enclosed within green rectangle


In 1961, Trevor was promoted from Draftsman, Grade 2 to Senior Drafting Officer, Grade 2 in National Mappingís then Map Production Branch. His new duties were : control and direction of map production and cartography in a section of the branch (Commonwealth Gazette No.57 of 13 July 1961, page 2667).

At one stage Trevor managed the Photolithographic Laboratory which offered 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 March 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.

Trevor and his Thematic Mapping staff were acknowledged by Reg Ford in his 1979 paper, The Division of National Mappingís part in the Geodetic Survey of Australia, for producing the many progress maps the paper contained.

Trevor with the other staff of the Resources Sub-Section of Natmapís Thematic Mapping Branch in the 1960s

(XNATMAP image 1960s)

Both inside and outside of Natmap Trevor was active in sport and sports administration. As early as 1946, Trevor had played Grade Cricket for Kinston. Much later, in November 1972, Trevor was elected president of the Woden Valley Junior Rugby League Football Club on the retirement of Mr Sinclair. At the Canberra Builders Supply Merchants Associationís 25th Annual Golf Day in April 1979, Trevor was listed amongst those to tee-off.

Natmapís John Payne recalled that Trevor was indeed a real character and a great pleasure to work for. He certainly always had a smile and a fantastic sense of humour. Friday nights at the original Civic Pub were also memorable for many reasons as well as the buck's nights out at Kambah Pool and the Pialligo Quarry; Trevor always led the singing. Some of the antics that Trevor used to get up to in the office were legendary as John Knight recalled Trevor encouraging and participating in putting competitions in the hallways at lunchtime with a roll your own cigarette hanging out the corner of his mouth; bit of a rough diamond, a real character and a lovely man, very well liked and respected.

Colin Kimber recalled that Trevorís son William Robert (Bill) followed in his fatherís footsteps working with Colin at Natmap as a draftsman for some 4 years. It is understood that Bill then went into the building supplies industry.


Natmapís Director Tony Bomford holding the presentation gift for Trevor with Trevorís wife Betty lower left of frame and Trevor himself at his retirement function on 10 March 1981

(Courtesy Colin Kimber)



Sadly, Trevor Trevillian passed away at his home in Reid on 11 June 1995, at age 72 years of age. Trevorís 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). With Trevorís passing one of the original and greatly respected Natmappers left us.


Compiled by Paul Wise, 2017-18.




The assistance of Laurie McLean, John Knight, John Payne and Colin Kimber 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 :


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