Ian Jeffrey Miller

 (26 May 1946 - 9 October 2017)

Ian Miller (1986 XNATMAP Image)

Ian Jeffrey Miller was born in South Australia on 26 May 1946, and joined Natmap from the South Australian Mines Department as a draftsman. From 28 September 1966 to 27 September 1968, Ian was a Sixth Intake National Service conscript with the Australian Army (Army Number: 4718694). He served with the Royal Australian Survey Corps. After recruit training Ian was posted to the Army Survey Regiment that was located at Fortuna a rambling villa at Chum Street Bendigo in central Victoria. Here Ian was promoted to the rank of Corporal. Upon discharge from the Army he briefly rejoined the Mines Department.

Before being recruited by Natmap, as a draftsman, Ian had come to live in Canberra in August 1970. Ian moved up through Natmapís drafting ranks, working mostly on the Topographic Mapping Program of Australia. During that time, he attained a drafting certificate in 1974 from the New South Wales Department of Technical Education, and went on in 1980 to earn a degree of Applied Science in Applied Geography from the then Canberra College of Advanced Education, now Canberra University.

In the 1980s, Ian left drafting for the technical and clerical ranks to head up the Sales and Distribution of Natmapís map and air photography sales. Here Ian was classified as a Clerk (Class 8). In this position he had to manage not only a mix of technical, clerical and storeman positions but he also had daily contact with a range of customers from wholesalers, retailers, the general public, government representatives and many private sector companies. Due to his sociable nature and sense of fairness this was a job Ian did particularly well and received many accolades from his staff, satisfied customers and his managers. Ian was also personally responsible for approving copyright releases for third party use of Nat Map's mapping and aerial photography materials and data.

One occasion that John Payne recalled, was when Ian had a problem with a staff member who had been upsetting others by his actions and attitude (as a work colleague, John Payne knew Ian for over 40 years from when Ian first started work at the Division of National Mapping). Ian thought that he and John had better counsel this person and warn him of pending disciplinary action if the activity continued. Just after the counselling had begun this person stood up and said this is a lot of *#@^* , I resign, and stormed out. Ian and John looked at each other in utter amazement and thought that they had achieved the quickest dismissal in public service history. About a minute later the person stormed backed in and demanded to know how quickly he could get his severance money. Ian, quick as a flash, said how quickly can we get your written resignation; they had the document within 10 minutes.

Not long after joining Natmap, Ian became very active in the union movement representing his work colleagues first as a union delegate for the Association of Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Draftsman of Australia (AAESDA). He rose to become ACT President, and was for many years on the Federal Executive of the Association. Ian also saw the Association through the difficult amalgamation with the Metal Workers Union. For many years he became the focal point of union activity in the ACT. For this activity Ian was recognised with his election to the position of President of the Canberra Labor Club.

Ian represented his union members with the upmost devotion and was not afraid of confronting management if he thought that his members were being wrongly treated. †In the latter days of Natmapís demise he was well known and respected for his ability to confront, probably shirtfront is the more appropriate term, our new managers on matters of disagreement.

At one stage in their working together, John noticed that Ian had begun returning very late from lunch on one day a month without any explanation. John as Ianís supervisor thought that he had better have a word with him. John and Ian sat down to discuss the matter, but Ian using his excellent union acquired negotiating skills, explained that as President of the Canberra Labor Club, Carlton United Brewery had invited him to join their monthly beer and beef luncheon. He went on to say that as he knew that John also had a liking for beer and beef that John might also care to attend. From the next month on, there were now two people late back from lunch. Ian could be very persuasive.

Ian will always be remembered for his communication skills, his genial nature, and his willingness to help others. This was evident after his retirement in 2001 when he organised regular lunchtime gatherings for his work colleagues, both retired and still working. He continued to do this for many years despite his health declining over the latter years.†

In the last year or so Ian was in hospital, either in Sydney at the Prince of Wales Hospital or in the ACT at The Canberra Hospital. He would just about recover from one health issue when another would strike and lay him low again. Nevertheless, through all these challenges he never gave up and fought right to the end. Ian is survived by his wife San Neo Ong, son Rene and daughter Hannah; to whom Ian's Nat Map and Survey Corps friends and colleagues extend their sincere condolences.

Ian was farewelled by not only family and friends but by his colleagues from Natmap, the Army, the former Australian Survey Office and the ACT Union Movement. His farewell was held in the Chapel of the Norwood Park Crematorium, Mitchell on Monday, 16 October 2017. In addition to Natmapís John Payne, Ianís ex-Army buddy and long term friend, Bob Campbell, and San Neo's brother (Ian's brother-in-law) Henry, spoke during the ceremony.


Compiled by Paul Wise, 2017, from eulogy supplied by John Payne and additional information by Laurie McLean.