David Morris (Taffy) Roberts

(23 February 1940 - 3 July 2020)

Taffy Roberts in 1967 during second order map control traversing in Western Australia; extracted from group photo, courtesy Pater Langhorne.


Compiled by Peter Langhorne, July 2020


David Roberts joined the Division of National Mapping in early 1966 as a Field Assistant in the Geodetic Branch based in the old Rialto Building in Collins Street, Melbourne. I joined about the same time and initially we worked together preparing for the 1966 field program due to start in March. We went on to form a 2 man survey team under the leadership Reg Ford as part of the 15 person party that carried out the second order traverse from Helen Springs in the Northern Territory to Ord River in Western Australia.

While David started in National Mapping as a Field Assistant it soon became clear that he had the attributes to do more, with an eye for detail and the ability to get his head round the mathematics involved and the precision required. This was recognised by that hard taskmaster Reg Ford and he was soon promoted to a Technical Assistant Grade 2 position and as such responsible for carrying out survey observations in his own right.

In both the Field Assistant and Technical Assistant positions, he was involved in geodetic and topographic surveys using vehicles and helicopters in the remotest parts of Australia. From 1966 to 1969 David worked on the:

       Helen Springs NT - Ord River, WA, second order Theodolite/Tellurometer traverse (including towers) for mapping control.

       Cassilis - Burleigh Queensland, second order Theodolite/Tellurometer traverse (including towers) for mapping control. 

       First order Geodetic Traverse Borroloola - Pellew Islands, NT.    

       Aerodist station selection, marking and clearing in the Barkly Tableland and a first order connection to a Wild BC4 Camera site at Culgoora, NSW

       Theodolite/Tellurometer second order mapping control traversing including track making in the Port Hedland - Marble Bar - Warrawagine areas, WA. 

       Theodolite/Tellurometer second order mapping control traversing by helicopter in the Port Hedland, Roebourne, Millstream and Mt Newman areas, WA.

       Second Order Mapping Control traversing - Shark Bay area WA

       Helicopter borne second order traversing WA - two contracts in 1968.

       Houtman Abrolhos Island connection

       Muchea, WA - Mt Drysdale, NSW, simultaneous reciprocal azimuths.

       Caversham BC 4 Camera - Darling Ranges, WA, horizontal angles, azimuths

David was never short of offers from Party Leaders to join them and the respect that Reg Ford held for Davidís technical skills was evident when David was selected by Reg to join him as a two man team to carry out the Caversham BC4 Camera connection.




The Age, Melbourne

7 July 2020

ROBERTS David Morris

Born 23rd February 1940 in Bala, Wales.

Died on 3rd July 2020 at home.

Loved husband of Judy, father of Mat and Paul, father-in-law of Lindy and Lorna, Taff to Pippa, Charlotte, Alfie, Coco, Wilfred and Frankie.

Private cremation in accordance with David's wishes.