Vivienne Ann Wraith (1935-2014)

Nat Map/AUSLIG 1974-1991


Prepared by Laurie McLean

May 2020


Ann Wraith at Dandenong in 1984.

Extract from Nat Map staff photo.


Between 1974 and 1991, Ann Wraith worked in Clerical Assistant and Technical Assistant positions in the Technical Services Section at National Mapping’s Melbourne offices, firstly in the Rialto Building and later at Ellery House Dandenong.  Ann was much respected by her work colleagues, she had an outgoing personality and a well-developed sense of humour.  But above all, Ann was a loving wife and a devoted mother of her 3 daughters.  Ann brought a tone of higher culture to the Nat Map workplace as she was conversant with the arts, especially music.


Nat Mapper Tricia Hatfield (née Booth) worked closely with Ann Wraith during the 1970s and early 1980s.  Tricia recently recalled that Ann was an active sportswoman who enjoyed tennis and skiing.  Tricia also recalled that Ann was a dedicated funds raiser for the Save the Children aid and development agency.  Ann was also health conscious and careful with diet and in maintaining an adequate daily water intake.


Ann’s husband Graham was the Manager of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for some years.  Ann was often called on to entertain people associated the Orchestra including visiting conductors and other musicians.


One such visitor was the renowned Italian operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007).  Pavarotti’s signature aria was Nesum Dorma from the Giacomo Puccini opera Turandot.  (The Italian opera composer Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini lived from 1858 to 1924 and Turandot was posthumously completed by Franco Alfano in 1926).  Ann told of Pavarotti’s special handkerchief signal to the conductor if he felt his voice would not reach the High C (sometimes called Top C) at the finale of the aria.  In such cases a cymbal would sound at the critical moment to mask the tenor’s voice.


This article is a somewhat belated tribute to Ann Wraith and her contribution to the national mapping of Australia.  Following research for the article a number of gaps remained in Ann’s life.  Nevertheless, hopefully this article will give the reader some useful knowledge about Ann Wraith.


Early life

Vivienne Ann Wraith was born in Victoria on 30 April 1935.  Ann was the second child of George Frederick Siemering (1904-1994) and his wife Nellie Jean Irene Siemering née Smith (1908-2003).  Ann’s only sibling was her older brother Graeme William Siemering (1934-2000).


Ann’s parents George Siemering and Jean Smith were married in Victoria during 1933.  George Siemering was born at Kyneton in 1904 and Jean Smith was born at Brunswick on 3 November 1908.  George’s parents (Ann Wraith’s paternal grandparents) were Wilhelm Siemering (1853-1931) and his wife Bertha Johanna Siemering née Lange (1867-1911).  Wilhelm Siemering and Bertha Lange married in Victoria in 1891.


Ann Wraith’s paternal grandmother Bertha Johanna Lange was born at Mount Gambier, South Australia on 20 November 1867.  Her parents were Joachim Lange and his wife Dorathea Lange née Ruwold.  Sadly, on 21 November 1911, at age 44 years, Bertha Siemering died from head injuries sustained when she was thrown from a horse-drawn gig at Calivil about 55 kilometres north west of Bendigo.


Ann Wraith’s paternal grandfather Wilhelm Siemering was born at Bremen, Germany in 1853 and died at Ballarat, Victoria in 1931 at age 78 years.


Ann Wraith’s maternal grandparents (Jean Siemering’s parents) were William Smith (circa 1877-1933) and his wife Ruby Lorena Annie Smith née George (1883-1930).  In records discovered for this article Ruby George’s second name varied.  It was Lorena on her birth registration, Laurina on her marriage registration, Laurence on her daughter Jean’s birth registration, Laurine on electoral rolls in the early 1900s, Lannin on several other electoral rolls in the 1920s, and Laurine on her death registration.


William Smith and Ruby George married in Victoria in 1907.  Their daughter Nellie Jean Irene (Ann Wraith’s mother) was born at Brunswick in 1908.  In 1909, William and Ruby Smith resided in Hope Street Brunswick where William’s occupation was listed on the electoral roll as gripman.  (A gripman was a cable tram operator who released and locked the constantly moving cable under the tram to hold the tram at its stopping places and to then start it moving again.)


By at least 1917, William and Ruby Smith were residing at Murrayville, a town on the Mallee Highway in far north west Victoria in what is now called the Sunset Country.  Murrayville is about 140 kilometres south west of Mildura and about 20 kilometres east of the South Australia border.  In a cropping and grazing area serviced by reliable underground water, Murrayville was first settled in 1910 and by 1921 had a population of about 540 people.


On electoral rolls for 1917, 1919 and 1924 William and Ruby Smith were listed as residing at Murrayville.  William’s occupation was listed as a carrier and Ruby was engaged in home duties.


William Smith and his wife Ruby were listed as residing at Armadale on electoral rolls annually from 1924 until 1928 and William was also listed in 1931 (after his wife’s death).  On these electoral rolls William and Ruby Smith was listed as residing at 11 Stawell Street Armadale.  William was listed as being of independent means while Ruby was listed as being occupied in home duties.


Ruby Smith died at her home at 11 Stawell Street Armadale on 5 November 1930 at age 47 years and was buried at St Kilda Cemetery on 7 November 1930.  William Smith died at 11 Stawell Street on 29 September 1933 at 56 years of age and was buried at St Kilda Cemetery on 30 September 1933.  Both funerals were from 11 Stawell Street to the Cemetery, a distance of about 700 metres.


The Smith-Siemering family home at 11 Stawell Street Armadale.

Google street view image January 2019.


More on Ann Siemering’s parents

On a 1931 electoral roll , Ann Siemering’s father George Frederick Siemering was listed as a commercial agent residing at Saxton Street in Numurkah.  As mentioned above, Ann’s parents George Siemering and Jean Smith married in Victoria in 1933.  On an electoral roll for 1934 (the year Ann’s brother Graeme was born), George and Jean Siemering were listed as residing in Allan Street Kyabram where George was occupied as a salesman and Jean was occupied with home duties.


On electoral rolls for 1936, 1937, 1943, 1949, and 1954, Ann parents were listed as residing in Jean’s parents’ former home at 11 Stawell Street Armadale.  On these rolls George Siemering was listed as a salesman and Jean was listed as being engaged in home duties.  Thus Ann Siemering would have grown up at 11 Stawell Street.  No information on Ann’s schooling was discovered during research for this article.  However, as mentioned below by 1957 at least, Ann was experienced as a bookkeeper.


When Ann Siemering married in 1960, her parents George and Jean Siemering resided in Apartment 12 at Arundel 628 St Kilda Road Melbourne.  The Arundel apartment block is still standing today on the south western corner of St Kilda Road and Union Street.  George and Jean Siemering were first discovered on an electoral roll listing as residing at 12/628 St Kilda Road Melbourne on a 1963 roll.  On that roll George’s occupation was listed as salesman and Jean’s was listed as home duties.

On electoral rolls for 1967, 1968, 1977 and 1980, Ann Wraith’s parents George and Jean Siemering were listed as residing in Apartment 2 at 17 Goldsmith Street Elwood.  On these rolls George’s occupation was listed as publicity agent and Jean was listed as being occupied with home duties.


Ann Wraith’s father George Frederick Siemering died on 12 October 1994 at around 90 years of age.  His remains were cremated at Springvale Botanical Cemetery on 17 October 1994 and the cremated remains were scattered at the Cemetery.  Ann Wraith’s mother Nellie Jean Irene Siemering died at Wantirna on 5 October 2003 at the age of 94 years.  Her remains were cremated at Springvale Botanical Cemetery on 9 October 2003 and the cremated remains were collected from the Cemetery.


Visit to England 1957

In 1957, Ann Siemering spent 6 months on a tourist visit to England.  It is not known whether Ann undertook any other tourist travels while in England.  Ann arrived at the Port of London onboard the Pacific and Oriental Steam Navigation Company’s liner RMS Arcadia on 27 March 1957.  On her arrival in London, Ann’s address was care of Australia House in the Strand.  On departure from London, Ann’s UK address was care of the Bank of New South Wales at 47 Berkeley Square London.  Ann departed London onboard the P&O liner RMS Iberia, a sister ship of the Arcadia.  Ann left the Port of London on 24  September 1957 bound for Melbourne.


Ann had her 22 birthday (30 April 1957) on this trip, presumably in England.  Ann’s travel records indicated that her then occupation was bookkeeper.  When the Iberia arrived at Fremantle on 17 October 1957, Ann’s destination address was given as the Flood Gate Hotel Port Melbourne, it was located at the corner of Crockford and Inglis Streets.

RMS Arcadia 1953-1979.

New Zealand National Maritime Museum website image.


Marriage to Graham Wraith 1960

On Saturday 3 September 1960, Ann Siemering and Graham Stanley Wraith (1926-1990) married at the All Saints' Anglican Church, St Kilda East.  The Church is located at the corner of Chapel Street and Wellington Street/Dandenong Road in St Kilda East.  Between late 1949 and 1959, Nat Map’s Melbourne office was located at the All Saints Anglican Church Hall (Gregory Hall) next to the Church.


At the time of their marriage Ann was 25 years of age and Graham was 33 years old.  Ann and Graham Wraith were to have 3 children, daughters Vivienne, Abigail, and Elizabeth.


Ann Siemering and Graham Wraith on their wedding day in 1960.

Image from The Age 5 September 1960.


About Graham Wraith

Graham Stanley Wraith was born at Fairfield, Victoria on 26 October 1926.  He was the second son of James Stanley Wraith (1890-1957) and his wife Hephzibah Wraith née Burgin (1887-1972).  Graham’s older brother was James Thomas Wraith (1923‑1977).


Graham Wraith attended the Ivanhoe Grammar School in The Ridgeway at Ivanhoe.  Here Graham studied under the direction of Sydney Leonard Buckley (1882-1964) who was the Principal from 1915 to 1947 (but served as a Chaplin in World War I).  Later, Graham Wraith became a Worshipful Brother of the Ivanhoe Grammarians Lodge that was consecrated in 1946.  Graham became part of the Grand Lodge ceremonial team and, in a death notice for him, the Lodge referred to Graham as a Past Senior Grand Deacon.


Prior to joining the Royal Australian Navy in 1945, Graham Wraith had been employed as a bank clerk and resided with his parents at 26 Studley Road Heidelberg.  Later, Graham’s parents moved to 28 Salisbury Avenue Ivanhoe, opposite Darebin railway station.


On 17 July 1945 at the age 18 years, Graham Wraith enlisted for Word War II service with the Royal Australian Navy; his service number was PM8607.  Graham served at the shore station HMAS Lonsdale in Beach Street Port Melbourne and at HMAS Cerberus, a naval base at Crib Point on Western Port about 65 kilometres south east of Melbourne.  After 1 year of service as an Ordinary Seaman, Graham Wraith was promoted to Able Seaman on 17 July 1946.  He was discharged from the Royal Australian Navy on 30 April 1947.


Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

For many years Graham Wraith was the much respected manager of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.  The oldest professional orchestra in Australia, the MSO was founded in 1906.  In 1934, the MSO became one of several Australian Broadcasting Commission radio orchestras.  The ABC was founded in 1929 as the Australian Broadcasting Company and renamed as the fully government-owned Australian Broadcasting Commission in July 1932.  It became the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in July 1983.


Between 1965 and 1994, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra had its studios in the Waverley Theatre premises at 92 Waverley Road East Malvern, about 1.8 kilometres west of the Wraith family home at 5 Albert Street East Malvern.  Opened in 1936 as an independent cinema, the Waverley Theatre operated until 1958.  The building was leased to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from 1965 until the building was sold in 1994.  The MSO then relocated to Hamer Hall in the Arts Complex at Southbank.  Around 2000, the Waverley Theatre was converted into separate apartments.


Death of Graham Wraith 1990

Sadly, Graham Wraith died suddenly on Tuesday 28 August 1990.  He was 63 years of age.  Graham’s funeral was held on 31 August 1990.  Afterwards his remains were cremated at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery where the cremated remains were scattered.


Frankston to East Malvern

Ann Siemering’s name was not discovered during searches of electoral rolls when preparing this article.  Ann and Graham Wraith’s names were first discovered on an electoral roll for 1963.  At that time Ann and Graham were listed as residing at Kanya Court Frankston, which is about 2 kilometres south east of the Frankston business centre.  On that roll Graham’s occupation was listed as clerk and Ann’s occupation was listed as home duties.


Ann and Graham Wraith’s names were next discovered on an electoral roll for 1967.  On that roll Ann and Graham were listed as residing at 5 Albert Street East Malvern.  Their respective occupations were then listed as home duties and clerk.  Ann and Graham Wraith remained listed on electoral rolls at 5 Albert Street until at least 1980 which is the latest year that the rolls can be publicly searched.  During the period from 1967 to 1980 both Ann and Graham’s listed occupations were unchanged (home duties and clerk) even though their respective occupation did change during this period.


A recent view of the Wraith family home at 5 Albert Street East Malvern.

Google street view image 2019.


Daughters’ education

As Ann and Graham Wraith’s 3 daughters, Vivienne, Abigail, and Elizabeth, grew older Ann’s immediate priorities shifted from hands-on at home parenting to financially assisting her daughters’ education.  The family decided that the girls’ secondary education would be at the Korowa Anglican School for Girls in Ranfurlie Crescent Glen Iris.  To help meet the school fees at Korowa (currently around $35 000 per annum) Ann took up full time employment with National Mapping.


National Mapping-AUSLIG 1974-1991

Ann Wraith joined the Melbourne office of Division of National Mapping on 26 April 1974.  The Division was then within the Department of Minerals and Energy and the Melbourne office was located in the Rialto Building at 497 Collins Street towards the western end of the city centre.  Ann was employed initially as a Clerical Assistant Grade 1 (Fourth Division) in the Technical Services Section of the Survey and Mapping Services Branch.


In April 1975, Ann Wraith was promoted to a Clerical Assistant Grade 2 position in the Technical Services Section.  In that position Ann’s specific duties were to maintain photomap* and orthophotomap* negative libraries and the contour film positive library.  These duties included issuing and receiving negatives and contour sheets to and from the photographic services contractor.


*Orthophotomaps provide a fully rectified photo image where the map detail is in true plan position.  Conversely, photomaps are not fully rectified and provide a perspective image where the map detail is not in true plan position.


In June 1976, Ann Wraith was promoted to a Clerical Assistant Grade 3 position in the Technical Services Section.  In that position Ann’s specific duties were to maintain custody of the aerial photograph print and diapositive library; issue and receive all such material required by field and office staff.


In the mid-1970s, Nat Map Assistant Director Len Turner together with Laurie Worsnop, then Assistant Inspector Personnel and Establishments in the Department of Minerals and Energy, undertook a functional review of National Mapping.  A new organisational structure arising from that review was implemented in 1977.  In Melbourne, the new structure was put in place when the office was relocated to Dandenong during March-April 1977.


One aspect of the new office structure was translating a number of clerical grade positions to equivalent levels in the technical grades.  As a consequence, in March 1978, Ann Wraith was promoted to a Technical Assistant, Grade 2 (Fourth Division) position in the then Survey and Map Records Section.  In this new position, Ann’s duties included making additions and alterations to survey control overlays and control station summaries, preparing layouts for miscellaneous forms and cards and attending to counter inquiries.


About Nat Map’s Melbourne Technical Services Section functions

The Technical Services Section in Nat Map’s Melbourne office maintained extensive repositories of map compilation material, photomaps, orthophotomaps, aerial photography film negatives, aerial photography film diapositives, aerial photography paper prints and printed map sheets.  Most of this material was for Nat Map internal use in the office or by field survey parties.  However, much of the map compilation and orthophotomap material also moved to and from Nat Map’s Canberra office where it was used for final map preparation prior to map printing.  The aerial photography was also available for public inspection and for the ordering of various related products through the photographic services contractor, Air Photographs Pty Ltd.


From the early 1970s until shortly after the operational opening of the Australian Landsat Station in November 1979, Nat Map's Melbourne Technical Services Section maintained a library of Landsat satellite imagery over Australia. This library held film positive and film negative Landsat images in 3 spectral bands. This imagery was mainly used to prepare photographic products through the photographic services contractor to meet public requests.


There were no public sales of printed map products from Nat Map’s Rialto office.  The public sale of maps was then undertaken by Nat Map’s parent department from its Victorian Regional Office a few blocks away at 460 Bourke Street Melbourne.  Nat Map took over this function in both Canberra and Melbourne around the time the Melbourne office relocated to Dandenong in early 1977.


The Technical Services Section in Melbourne also maintained a library of National Mapping Council survey control station summaries and related survey control information including 1:250 000 scale transparent horizontal control overlay sheets covering most of mainland Australia, computer printouts of survey control station coordinate values on the Australian Geodetic Datum as well as height values on the Australian Height Datum.  Terrestrial and aerial spot photography films and paper prints of survey control stations and related records were also maintained.  Vertical control records were also maintained.  These records included 1:250 000 scale transparent vertical control overlay gravity sheets, bench mark summaries, and computer printouts of height values for the bench marks in the numerous sections of the National Levelling Survey on the Australian Height Datum.


The Melbourne Technical Services Section also maintained and operated a repository of various types of field books that were used on field survey operations by Nat Map staff to record various field observations in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Antarctica.  The types of these field books included astronomical observations, traversing, levelling, Tellurometer, Geodimeter, survey station establishment, Aerodist master, Aerodist remote, and standard black (for miscellaneous recordings).  Field books were serial numbered accountable documents that had to signed in and out of custody.


The Section also maintained registers of accountable survey control station numbers, and aerial photography and terrestrial photography film numbers.  Blocks of such numbers were formally issued to field survey party leaders for operational use.  Field party leaders were responsible for advising the Melbourne Technical Services Section of details of the use of such numbers and for the formal return of any unused numbers at the end of a survey operation.


Nat Map’s Melbourne Technical Services Section staff

When Ann Wraith joined the Survey and Mapping Services Branch in 1974, it was headed by renowned Nat Map senior surveyor David Roy Hocking (1920‑2000) who worked with Nat Map from 1948 to 1985.  The Technical Services Section was then headed by Alan Spencer Colvin (1915‑1975), Senior Technical Officer Grade 1.  However, throughout much of 1974, Alan Colvin was on extended periods of leave to help cope with ill health from lung cancer.  Sadly, Alan Colvin died on 21 January 1975 at 59 years of age.


Throughout much of 1974 and up to March 1978, the Technical Services Section was led by Norman Keith Hawker (1926-1995) who was promoted to the Senior Technical Officer Grade 1 position in March 1975.  Norm Hawker worked with National Mapping from 1954 to 1956 and from 1964 to 1978.


Other Technical Services Section staff with whom Ann Wraith worked in the Rialto Building until early 1977 included: Alan Clayton Mason (1927-1994); Alan Leo Chaikin (1924-1999); Milton Ralph Biddle; Louise Hansford; Evelyn Therese (Enid) Ditty (1921-2006); Maria Esther Ronay (1926-2007); Patricia Joan Booth (later Mrs Tricia Hatfield); and Salvatore (Sam) Rizzo.


During March-April 1977, the National Mapping Melbourne office relocated to Ellery House at 280 Thomas Street Dandenong.  Some of the Technical Services Section staff who were at the Rialto Building decided not to move to Dandenong.  As with any organisation, there were various other staff movements in and out of the section over the time that Ann was in Ellery House.


Staff who joined the then Technical Support Section in Dandenong included: Laurie McLean; Henry Leonard (Harry) Simpson; Stanley Harold (Stan) Stafford (1918-1990), Penelope (Penny) Thomas, Judy Rodriquez, Elizabeth Victoria (Vicki) Charman (later Mrs Vicki McRae), Eric William (Blue) MacGibbon and Michael Terence (Micky) Lloyd.  After Norm Hawker retired in March 1978, the Senior Technical Officers in charge of the section included, John Allen, Alan Mason (acting), Gregory Ross (Joe) McRae, and Robert George (Bob) Foster (1928-1997).


Public Service retirement 1991

On 13 February 1991, nearly 6 months after her husband Graham’s death, Ann Wraith retired formally from the Australian Surveying and Land Information Group within the Department of Administrative Services as a Technical Officer Level 1 after some 17 years of Commonwealth public service.  When she retired Ann Wraith was 55 years of age. Prior to departing from AUSLIG, a farewell function for Ann was held on the 5th Floor at the Ellery House office in Dandenong.


Ann was to enjoy some 24 years after her public service retirement.



Ann Wraith died peacefully at her home on 15 June 2014.  She was 79 years of age.  As mentioned Ann’s husband Graham had pre-deceased her.  Ann was survived by her 3 daughters Vivienne, Abigail, and Elizabeth and their 3 respective partners: Philip, Graham, and Philip.  Ann was also survived by 7 grandchildren: Patrick and Christian, Wesley, Mitchell and Ryan, Samantha and Christopher.


Ann Wraith’s funeral service was held at the Toorak Uniting Church in Toorak Road on Friday 20 June 2014; it commenced at 2:00 pm.  Afterwards Ann’s funeral proceeded to the Springvale Botanical Cemetery where her remains were cremated and the cremated remains scattered at the Cemetery.  The funeral arrangements were conducted by Tobin Brothers Funerals of Malvern.


Ann Wraith’s passing further depleted the ranks of former Nat Mappers.  Ann will be sadly missed but fondly remembered by all Nat Mappers who knew her.