Henry Leonard Simpson (1923-2009)


Harry-The Map Man


Nat Map Melbourne 1973-1986


by Laurie McLean August 2020


Harry Simpson at Nat Map Dandenong in 1984.

Extract from a Nat Map staff photo.


Harry Simpson worked with the Division of National Mapping’s Melbourne office for some 13 years between 1973 and 1986.  Harry was nearing 50 years of age when he came to Nat Map and was soon recognised as one of the Division’s great characters.  Although at times somewhat prickly and more than little difficult to deal with, Harry was generally greatly respected by his work colleagues.


When Harry Simpson joined National Mapping in 1973, he was employed as a Technical Assistant, Grade 2.  Initially, Harry worked in the then Examination Surveys Section of the Topographic Survey Branch in Nat Map’s Rialto Building office at 497 Collins Street Melbourne.


The Rialto Building circa 1977.

XNatmap image from Eric MacGibbon.


At the Rialto Building 1973-1977: Examination Surveys Section

The Examination Surveys Section was established at the Rialto Building in late 1969 under Senior Surveyor John Donal Madden (1936‑2011).  Its main function was to field check the detail on map compilation sheets prior to the (final) fair drawing stage.  This checking was necessary to verify the photogrammetric plotting from aerial photography and also to pick up any changes in detail that may have occurred between the time the aerial photography was flown and the time of the actual photogrammetric compilation.  The field checking was undertaken by on the ground inspections and by aerial inspections from light aircraft.  Where detail changes were extensive, supplementary aerial photography was taken.  Where necessary, changes were made to the map compilation sheet prior to fair drawing and the map sheet was dated at the time of the field examination.


The Examination Surveys Section also assessed the accuracy of detail on some printed 1:100 000 scale National Topographic Map Series sheets.  The horizontal accuracy standard for this series was that a significant point of detail shown on the map must be within 50 metres of its true position on the ground.  The vertical accuracy standard was +/- 25 metres (ie half of the standard contour vertical interval of 50 metres).  The Section’s accuracy assessment work was mainly undertaken adjacent to the Queensland coast during the Section’s early years of operation.  This field work evaluated planimetric and altimetric accuracy parameters using Tellurometer connections and Johnson Ground Elevation Meter traverses.


Other staff in the Examination Surveys Section during some of Harry’s time there from 1973 to early 1977 included: Robert Arthur (Bob) Cross, David Alastair (Dave) Bruce, Milton Ralph Biddle, Guan Chin (Khoo) Khoo (1943‑2015), Reginald Clary (Reg) Helmore, Kalen Noel Sargeant, Jeffrey Fox, Olwyn Baker, Christine Vernon, and Eric William (Blue) MacGibbon.


During March-April 1977, the Division of National Mapping’s Melbourne office relocated to Ellery House at 280 Thomas Street Dandenong.  A revised organisational structure was implemented with the move to Ellery House.  As a consequence, the work previously undertaken by the Examination Surveys Section became a map completion task that included field inspection programs undertaken by jointly managed Project Teams in the Topographic Compilation Branch.


At Ellery House 1977-1986

Initially, upon moving to Ellery House at Dandenong in early 1977, Harry Simpson was assigned to a Project Team in the Topographic Compilation Branch.  Harry’s Project Team was jointly managed by Senior Surveyor John Madden and Senior Technical Officer (Surveying), Grade 2 Kevin Arnold (Kev) Moody (1935-2012).


Around May 1977, Harry Simpson accompanied Khoo and John Madden on a field inspection program in the Booligal, Lake Cargelligo and Warren area of central western New South Wales.  During a 2-week period, this field party inspected 12 map sheet areas using a light aircraft hired from Griffith.  This inspection program was to be Harry’s last field trip with National Mapping.


By August 1977, Harry Simpson had moved to a fully office-based position as a Map Sales Officer (Technical Assistant Grade 2) in the Survey and Map Records Section of the Technical Services Branch.


In early 1977, Anthony Gerald (Tony) Bomford (1927-2003) became the Director of National Mapping.  He implemented a policy of selling Nat Map’s maps and other products directly to the public.  Previously, the sales of the Division’s maps and related products was undertaken by the parent organisation, then the Department of National Resources.  As well as a network of private sector map retailers, the Department had map sales facilities at its head office then at Tasman House in Hobart Place at 26-30 Marcus Clarke Street in the Canberra city centre.  The Department also had a sales facility at its Victorian Regional Office in 460 Bourke Street Melbourne.


From early 1977, the Division established map sales facilities in its own offices in Morisset House at 9 Morisset Street Queanbeyan and in Ellery House Dandenong.  When Nat Map’s Melbourne office relocated to Dandenong in early 1977 a dedicated ground floor Map Sales Shop was established at Ellery House.  Harry Simpson operated this facility from August that year with support from other Survey and Map Records Section staff.  The shop operated until circa 1982.


Ellery House Dandenong circa 1977.

Note Map Shop entrance at far right on ground floor.

XNatmap image.


When Harry Simpson joined the Survey and Map Records Section it was headed by Norman Keith (Norm) Hawker (1926-1995) who was then a Senior Technical Officer (Surveying) Grade 1.  Other staff in the Section during Harry’s time there included: Alan Clayton Mason (1927‑1994), Alan Leo Chaikin (1924‑1999), Milton Ralph Biddle, Vivienne Ann (Ann) Wraith (1935‑2014), Patricia Joan (Tricia) Booth (later Mrs Tricia Hatfield), Salvatore (Sam) Rizzo, Stanley Harold (Stan) Stafford (1918-1990), Laurie McLean, Penelope (Penny) Thomas and Judy Keogh (later Mrs Judy Rodriquez).


When National Mapping moved to Ellery House in 1977 it occupied the entire building, including the ground floor.  However, over the following years Nat Map relinquished office space in the building that became surplus to its requirements.  One of the first areas to be relinquished was the ground floor including the Map Sales Shop which closed circa 1982.  Other floors in Ellery House were later relinquished and the then Australian Surveying and Land Information Group office eventually closed in December 1997.


After the ground floor Map Sales Shop closed, the map sales function shifted to the main area of the Survey and Map Records Section on the 2nd Floor of Ellery House.  Harry Simpson also shifted to that area.  However, Harry was not happy with the loss of the street-front sales facility into which he had expended considerable personal effort.  Harry made no secret of his displeasure with the shift to all levels of Nat Map management.  Nevertheless, he continued at Nat Map for another 4 years or so.


Harry’s working life prior to Nat Map

Unfortunately, little information on Harry Simpson’s working life prior to coming to Nat Map in 1973 was discovered during research for this article.


During conversations with fellow Nat Mappers, Harry indicated that he had worked for some years as a survey chainman with the State Electricity Commission in north east Victoria.  Some of the SEC survey work that Harry was involved with was in connection with the Kiewa Hydroelectric Scheme in the Australian Alps about 200 kilometres directly north east of Melbourne.  The construction of this scheme was undertaken between 1937 and 1961 but was delayed during World War II.


On a 1972 electoral roll, Henry Leonard Simpson was listed as residing at Nyah West which is a small town near the River Murray about 320 kilometres (direct) north west of Melbourne.  On the 1972 electoral roll, Henry Leonard Simpson was listed as being employed in horticulture.  Nyah West is in a prosperous irrigation district that today produces wine, dried fruit, vegetables and wool.


Harry Simpson’s early life

Henry Leonard Simpson was born at his parents grazing property Mt Charles, South Australia on 2 December 1923.  Harry was the third of the 5 children born to Leonard Charles Simpson (1875‑1953) and his wife Katie Allen Simpson née Simpson (1887-1965).  Harry’s birth was registered at the Nairne registry district in the Adelaide Hills.  At the time of Harry’s birth his parents were farming and grazing on their property Mt Charles about 2 kilometres south east of Charleston on the eastern side of the Onkaparinga Valley.  Mt Charles was about 12 kilometres north of Nairne and about 30 kilometres east of central Adelaide.


Mount Charles and Charleston on a 1951 map extract.

From Onkaparinga, Co Adelaide sheet, call number MAP G9011.G46 svar, Department of Lands, Adelaide 1951; accessed from National Library of Australia.


Harry Simpson’s 4 siblings were:

·       older sister Violet Amy (Nadia) who was born in Adelaide in 1919

·        older brother Walter James (Jim) who was born in Adelaide in 1921

·       younger sister Nancy Lavinia (Nancy) who was born in Adelaide in 1927

·       youngest sister known as Jean but whose birth registration was not found in searches of Genealogy South Australia records.


Unfortunately, no further information on Harry’s early life or on his schooling was discovered during research for this article.


Harry’s parents

Harry Simpson’s father, Leonard Charles Simpson was one of the children born to Walter Peacock Simpson (1826-1918) and his wife Emily Mary Simpson née Colley (1836 1912).  Harry’s father, Leonard Simpson was born at Sandhurst (now called Bendigo) on 2 April 1875.  He died in Adelaide on 3 July 1953 at the age of 78 years.  Leonard Charles Simpson’s remains were cremated and later interred in Adelaide’s West Terrace Cemetery.


Prior to his marriage in October 1915, Leonard Charles Simpson worked from Melbourne as a commercial traveller.  In 1909 his residential address was with his parents at Dresden in Fitzroy Street St Kilda.  When enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force in 1915, Leonard Simpson gave his occupation as commercial traveller and his address as care of HWC Simpson, (his older brother) at Collins House, Collins Street Melbourne.


On 14 October 1915, a month or so after enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force, Harry’s father Leonard Charles Simpson married Katie Allen Simpson.  The wedding was held at the Unitarian Christian Church in Wakefield Street, Adelaide and the Reverend Wilfred Harris MA officiated.  As listed above, there were 5 children from their marriage.


Harry’s mother Katie Allen Simpson was one of the 6 children born to Alfred Muller Simpson (1843–1917) and his first wife Catherine Simpson née Allen (1846 1887).  Katie Simpson was born at the Simpson family residence Young House in Young Street Parkside (Adelaide) on 7 October 1887.  Sadly, Katie’s mother Catherine died at her Parkside home on 15 October 1887, just 8 days after Katie’s birth and at around 44 years of age.


Harry’s mother, Katie Allen Simpson died in Adelaide on 12 January 1965 at the age of 77 years.  Katie’s remains were privately cremated at the Centennial Park Crematorium on 13 January 1965 and later interred with those of her late husband at the West Terrace Cemetery.


Harry Simpson’s mother Miss Katie Allen Simpson circa 1913.

State Library of South Australia image BRG 9/36/150.


Alfred Muller Simpson’s family home Young House at Young Street Parkside in 1904.

Ernest Gall image, State Library of South Australia PRG 631/2/390.


Harry’s parent’s World War I service

Both of Harry Simpson’s parents served overseas during World War I.


Mother’s World War I service

Although formal records are sparse, Harry’s mother, Katie Allen Simpson served as a Red Cross nurse in France during World War I.  From a listing in the United Kingdom World War I service medal and award rolls 1914-1920, under Army orders, Nurse Katie Allen Simpson was awarded the Allied Victory Medal and the British War Medal 1914-18.


These awards were for service in France with the French Red Cross (British Committee) between July 1917 and March 1918 when she was 29-30 years of age.  Further details of Katie Simpson’s war service in France and her travel to and from there were not discovered during research for this article.


Father’s World War I service

Harry’s father, Leonard Charles Simpson enlisted for World War I service with the Australian Imperial Force at Melbourne in August-September 1915 when he was 38 years of age.  His Service Number was 6624.  In his Service Record, Simpson’s enlistment date varies from 9 August, 30 August to 1 September 1915.


In his enlistment documentation Simpson stated that he had 12 months prior field artillery service.  On 2 September 1915, Leonard Charles Simpson was posted as a Field Artillery Reinforcements driver with 11th Battery, 4th Field Artillery Brigade at Albert Park.


On 18 November 1915, Driver Simpson embarked at Port Melbourne onboard His Majesty’s Australian Transport A18 Wiltshire and after disembarking at Suez in Egypt joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.  By 15 March 1916, Simpson was posted to the British Expeditionary Force at Alexandria and on 19 March 1916 he disembarked at Marseille in southern France.


From Marseille, the 4th Field Artillery Brigade travelled by train some 800 kilometres to Le Havre on the English Channel coast.  Here the Brigade was equipped with 18-pounder guns and vehicles.  On 8 April 1916, the Brigade proceeded some 250 kilometres north east to Armentières at the French‑Belgium border.


On 1 May 1916, at his own request, Simpson reverted from Driver to Gunner with the 4th Field Artillery Brigade.  From Armentières, the Brigade was deployed to near Pozières which was about 80 kilometres to the south.  Here, between July and November 1916, the Brigade was engaged in constant action against the Germans during the Battle of Pozières (July-September) and the broader Battle of the Somme that continued until November 1916.


On 12 September 1916, shortly after the Battle of Pozières concluded, Simpson was posted to the Royal Artillery Cadet School that was located in the Royal Horse Artillery Barracks at St John’s Wood in north west London.  On 2 February 1917, Simpson was passed as qualified for an Artillery Commission and was appointed as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Australian Imperial Force and posted to Artillery Reinforcements.  On 24 February 1917, Lieutenant Simpson joined the Australian Field Artillery Brigade at Étaples on the English Channel coast in France.


On 5 March 1917, 2nd Lieutenant Simpson was taken on strength of 15 Battery in the 5th Field Artillery Brigade and on 1 August 1917 was promoted (full) Lieutenant.  As well as 15 Battery, other units in the 5th Field Artillery Brigade were 13th Battery, 14th Battery, 105th (Howitzer) Battery, and 5th Brigade Ammunition Column.  The 5th Field Artillery Brigade provided artillery support for the 2nd Australian Division in France and Belgium.


During Lieutenant Simpson’s time with the 5th Field Artillery Brigade it was engaged (mid-March 1917) in fighting along the Bapaume‑Avesnes‑Biefullers line during the advance to the Hindenberg Line in northern France.  The Brigade was in the Battles of Lagincourt and Bullecourt during April and May 1917 as part of the Arras Offensive.  By September 1917, the Brigade was in the Battles of Menin Road and Polygon Wood in the Ypres area in Belgium.


The 5th Field Artillery Brigade was engaged against the German offensive on the Somme in March 1918, in the Battle of Hamel in July and the Battle of Amiens in August 1918.  In September 1918 the Brigade supported the taking of Mont Saint Quentin and later was again on the Hindenburg Line.


However, Lieutenant Simpson was not with the 5th Field Artillery Brigade for all of this period.  During September-October 1917, he was admitted to casualty clearing stations and hospitals on several occasions suffering from exhaustion.  Lieutenant Simpson was granted medical leave in Paris during 18-23 October 1917.  Between 26 November and 12 December 1917, Lieutenant Simpson was granted leave in England.


On 1 May 1918, Lieutenant Simpson was seconded for 6 months duty with the Reserve Brigade Australian Artillery in England.  In early 1918, the Brigade was camped at Heytsbury on the Salisbury Plain about 140 kilometres south west of London.  Lieutenant Simpson was attached to No 2 Battery in the Reserve Brigade.  He returned to France from Southampton on 1 December 1918.  In May 1919, Lieutenant Simpson was repatriated to the 3rd General Hospital in London suffering from dermatitis.


Reserve Brigade Australian Artillery camp Heytsbury, England early 1918.

Australian War Memorial image ID JO 6314.


On 27 July 1919, Lieutenant Simpson embarked on HMAT A64 Demosthenes at London for return to Australia.  He disembarked at Port Adelaide on 12 September 1919.  Lieutenant Simpson’s appointment with the Australian Imperial Force was terminated on 4 November 1919 owing to the cessation of hostilities.


For his World War I service Lieutenant Simpson was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal 1914-20, and the Victory Medal.


Some of Harry’s parents life in the Adelaide area

Immediately after their marriage in October 1915, Harry Simpson’s mother and father resided at 21 Rochester Street in the inner eastern Adelaide suburb of Leabrook.  However, owing to Leonard Simpson’s World War I Army service overseas from November 1915 and Katie Simpson’s overseas nursing service during 1917-1918, it is not clear how long they were at this address.


In the early 1920s, after Harry’s parents had returned from World War I service, his mother Katie Simpson bought her husband a farming and grazing property Mt Charles about 30 kilometres east of central Adelaide for £7,000.  Here Leonard Simpson worked as a farmer and grazier although ultimately without success.  Katie Simpson was nominally engaged in home duties.  However, she was also the owner of the Gluepot gold mine at Mt Charles.


The quartz reef on Mt Charles was first prospected in 1884.  During 1887-1888, the Mt Charles Gold Mining Company worked the mine and installed a steam engine and pumping machinery.  The area was reworked between 1931 and 1938 on many separate claims, the most successful of which was the Gluepot which recorded the winning of 575 ounces of gold from the processing of 752 tons of ore.  (Gold is measured in Troy ounces of which there are 32.15 per kilogram or about 14.58 per imperial pound weight).  The ore from the Gluepot was crushed at the Mt Torrens Government Battery about 10 kilometres north of Mt Charles.


The Mt Torrens Battery in Cyanide Road and the associated cyanide treatment works was the first government-owned gold battery run to encourage gold mining.  The Mt Torrens battery was established in 1893 by a private mining company and bought by the State Government the following year.  Activity at the battery intensified during times of economic depression.  The present Mt Torrens gold battery was built with the aid of Commonwealth funding in 1935.  Mt Torrens is one of 5 State-owned gold batteries operated within South Australia.


However, during Katie Simpson’s time as a gold mine owner, the price of gold was well below the present price of around $US2 000 per ounce.  Between 1833 and 1934, the official world price of gold was fixed at $US20.67 per ounce.  From 1935 to 1971, the world official gold price was fixed at US$35 an ounce.  During this period, it was illegal for private citizens to own or trade gold which could only be sold to the government at the official price.  (At today’s prices, $35 in 1935 is equivalent to about $670.)


On 13 June 1923, a French made Delage motor car was reported in Adelaide’s The Register newspaper as being registered the previous month in the name of LC Simpson of Charleston.  The registration number was 21649; it is likely that the vehicle’s registration plates were manufactured by A Simpson and Sons who did such work around this time.


On 27 November 1927, the Adelaide Chronicle newspaper reported that Mr LC Simpson of Mt Charles had imported a consignment of 50 stud Corriedale ewes and a stud Corriedale ram.


Named from Dr George Webster’s Corriedale property in the low-rainfall area of the North Otago region on New Zealand’s South Island, the Corriedale breed was simultaneously developed in Australia and New Zealand from the late 1860s.  Scots-born shepherd James Little (1834–1921) was Webster’s principal breeder and later manager.  Little initially crossed Merino ewes with Romney Marsh rams.


However, after Webster's death in 1878, Little evolved the breed from Merino ewes and Lincoln rams at a property in North Canterbury.  The Corriedale breed was to provide a dual purpose animal with good meat characteristics and commercial wool production.  Another Corriedale development goal was for sheep that would thrive in lower rainfall areas and supply long-staple wool.


Simpson’s Corriedales were sourced from one of the principal breeders in New Zealand, a Mr H Ensor of Rakahuri, at Rangiora in the North Canterbury just to the north of Christchurch.  Mr Ensor’s stud was found to have had most satisfactory results under similar conditions to those prevailing at Mt Charles and this influenced Mr Simpson’s decision.  The importation was made after exhaustive enquiries through the agency of Messrs Dalgety and Company of Adelaide.


On 10 February 1935 at about 9 pm, a motor car driven by Leonard Charles Simpson of Charleston collided with a milk-truck on the Mt Barker Road Glen Osmond near the Mt Osmond golf links road turn-off.  As a result of the collision, the milk‑truck turned over and a Mr Minchin who was travelling on the back of the truck with the milk cans was injured when thrown to the road.  During June-July 1935, Leonard Charles Simpson faced the Traffic Court charged with driving under the influence of liquor as to be incapable of exercising proper control.  Simpson was eventually acquitted of the charge as it could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt.


Some time later Mr Minchin succumbed to his injuries and consequently a judgement debt for £325 arising from a collision was given against Leonard Simpson.  In November 1936, Leonard Simpson’s assets were sequestered on his own bankruptcy petition.  His assets were then estimated at £20 and his liabilities were estimated at £431; principally from the Minchin judgement debt.


The South Australian Police Gazette reported that in Adelaide on 28 October 1943, Leonard Charles Simpson, age 68 years,  appeared on summons for offensive behaviour and was fined £1-10 shillings with costs of 10 shillings in default of 4 days imprisonment.


In an application to the Bankruptcy Court in September 1948, Leonard Charles Simpson, then age 73 years of Allinga Avenue Glenunga (a south-eastern Adelaide suburb), sought an annulment of his bankruptcy.  However, the application was refused by Judge Paine who ruled that it was not a case that warranted removal of the stigma of bankruptcy.  His Honour ruled that instead the circumstances could be dealt with by an application for discharge.


During the Court proceedings, Katie Simpson stated that from 1924 to 1934 she had advanced her husband between £12 000 to £13 000 to enable him to carry on farming at Mt Charles.  In 1934, the Mt Charles property was transferred to Katie Simpson’s ownership.  His solicitor told the Court that Leonard Simpson had been a liability to anyone connected with him since he began farming.


From electoral rolls for 1939 and 1941, Leonard and Katie Simpson resided at Charleston, presumably at the Mt Charles property, where they were respectively engaged with farming and grazing and with home duties.  On a 1943 electoral roll, Katie Simpson was listed as still residing at Charleston and engaged in home duties.  However, on another 1943 electoral roll Leonard Charles Simpson was listed as residing at 27 Glenunga Avenue Glenunga in Adelaide’s inner south east and being occupied in munitions.


The 1943 electoral rolls were the last to be found during research for this article on which Leonard and Katie Simpson were listed.  However, as mentioned above Leonard Charles Simpson’s address for a 1948 Bankruptcy Court case was given as Allinga Avenue Glenunga.  Leonard Charles Simpson’s death in 1953 was registered in the Norwood district of inner eastern Adelaide.  In her newspaper death notice in 1965, Katie Simpson was listed as late of Kensington Gardens which is in Adelaide’s inner east.


Harry’s paternal grand parents

Harry Simpson’s paternal grandmother was Emily Mary Simpson née Colley who was born in Lancashire county in north west England in 1836.  Details of Emily’s family and her immigration to Australia were not discovered during research for this article.  In 1859, Emily Mary Colley married Walter Peacock Simpson in Victoria.  They were to have at least 6 children: 4 sons and 2 daughters.  However, Victorian parliamentary records for Walter Peacock Simpson indicated there were 6 sons and 2 daughters from the marriage.


Details of Emily and Walter Simpson’s children discovered during research for this article were:

·       Henry Walter Courtney Simpson who was born at Tylden (about 65 kilometres south east of Bendigo) in 1861 and died in 1930; he practised as a solicitor, in later years from chambers in Collins House, 360-366 Collins Street Melbourne (this Collins House was built in 1911 and demolished in 1974)

·       Edgar Neighbour Simpson who was born at Dunedin, New Zealand in 1863 and died of diphtheria at 6 years of age at Epsom (Bendigo) in 1869

·       Ethel Emily Emma Simpson who was born at Bendigo in 1871

·       Blanford Hatton Colley Simpson who was born at Bendigo in 1872 and died at Elsternwick in 1940; he was an engineer by profession

·       Leonard Charles Simpson (Harry’s father) who was born at Bendigo in 1875 and died in Adelaide in 1953 at age 78 years

·       Stella Constance Simpson who was born at Bendigo in 1878 and died at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne on 1 February 1909, circa age 30 years.


Harry Simpson’s paternal grandmother, Emily Mary Simpson died at 76 years of age at Miss Farrington’s private hospital in Williams Road Windsor on 2 November 1912.  Emily’s remains were buried at the Brighton Cemetery on 4 November 1912.


Harry’s paternal grandfather Walter Peacock Simpson was born at Middlesex, in London on 11 December 1826.  In 1849, Walter Simpson travelled to South Australia and briefly worked on the land and for Sir Samuel Davenport (1818‑1906) an early South Australia settler and landholder who was a nominated member and later an elected member of the Legislative Council where he served from 1846 to 1866.  Davenport was commissioner for public works for a few months in 1857.


Walter Simpson returned to England in 1850.  Afterwards he intended to try his luck on the California goldfields.  However, before sailing to the United States Simpson heard of gold discoveries in Australia and as a consequence he arrived in Melbourne in 1852.  Simpson mined for alluvial gold about 10 kilometres south west of central Bendigo (then Sandhurst) along a creek line he named Crusoe Gully; apparently after Daniel Defoe’s 1719 fictional shipwrecked mariner Robinson Crusoe.  Bendigo’s biggest gold nugget, of just over 377 ounces, was unearthed in Dead Bullock Gully to the north of Robinson Crusoe Gully on 15 March 1861.


Also in the late 1850s, Walter Simpson went into business as an auctioneer in various Victorian towns and in Dunedin, New Zealand from around 1861 to 1864.  After  his return to Victoria, Simpson settled in Bendigo as a stock and station agent.  He joined the firm of L Macpherson and Company, property agents and auctioneers.  Later Walter Simpson became the sole proprietor of this company which he operated from Bendigo.  From June 1886, following a by-election (after the death of an inaugural member Francis Robertson in March 1886), Walter Simpson served as one of the members for Northern Province in the Victorian Legislative Council until he resigned in June 1889.  Centred on Bendigo when created in 1882, Northern Province included the areas of: Echuca Shire, Echuca Borough, Marong, Raywood, Huntly, Waranga, Sandhurst North, Sandhurst Central, Sandhurst South and Eaglehawk.


After his time in Parliament Walter Simpson retired to St Kilda in Melbourne.  From electoral rolls, in 1906 Walter Simpson and his family resided at Tolarno in Fitzroy Street St Kilda.  In 1909, the Simpson family resided at Dresden also in Fitzroy Street St Kilda.  In 1912, the Simpson family was listed as residing at St Leonards in Fitzroy Street St Kilda.  Also from 1912 until their deaths in 1912 and 1918, respectively, Emily and Walter Simpson were listed as residing at 80 Williams Road Windsor.  This double storey property is still standing and adjoins the Mt Erica Hotel in High Street Prahran.  Number 80 Williams Road last sold in August 2011 for $2.1 million.


Harry’s maternal grandparents

As mentioned above, Harry’s mother Katie Allen Simpson was the youngest of the 6 children born to Alfred Muller Simpson (1843–1917) and his wife Catherine Simpson née Allen (1846-1887).  Katie Simpson’s older siblings were:

·       Alfred Allen Simpson (1875-1939), married Janet Doris Hubbe (1887‑1950) at Upper Kensington in 1910

·       Frederick Neighbour Simpson (1877-1954), married Myra Louise Wilcox (1887-1966) in North Adelaide in 1910

·       Harold MacKellar Simpson (1880-1881)

·       Sarah Simpson (1882-1957), married Owen Crompton (1875-1923) in Adelaide in 1904)

·       Catherine Harriet Simpson (1884-1972), married Dr Cyril Howard Welch (1884-1965), in London in 1920.


Harry’s grandparents Alfred Muller Simpson and Catherine Allen married at the Allen family residence Reed Garden in Thomas Street Unley on 18 October 1871.  The Reverend John Crawford Woods BA (1824-1906) of the Unitarian Church of South Australia officiated at the wedding ceremony.  In 1882, Reverend John Woods married Catherine Simpson (1842-1917); an older sister of Alfred Muller Simpson.


In 1880, the Simpson family purchased Young House a property in Young Street Parkside from John Lorenzo Young.  This property (pictured below) became the family home for Harry Simpson’s maternal grandparents, Alfred and Catherine Simpson and their children.


Harry’s maternal grandmother Catherine Simpson née Allen (1846-1887) in 1887.

Thomas Adcock photographic portrait, State Library of South Australia BRG 9/36/255.


Harry’s maternal grandmother

Harry Simpson’s maternal grandmother Catherine Allen (1846-1887) was born in Adelaide.  Catherine was the first of the 4 daughters of English‑born James Allen (1816‑1881) of Reed Garden, Thomas Street Unley and his wife Harriet Allen née McKellar (circa 1814‑1896).  Catherine Allen’s siblings were: Emma (born 1848) and twins Frances and Lavinia (born 1851).


Catherine Allen’s mother Harriet McKellar was the fourth of the 6 daughters born to Robert McKeller (1774-1837) and his wife Catherine McKellar née Ross (1779‑1830) of Inverary in Argyleshire, Scotland.  There were also 4 sons from the marriage.


After her father’s death, Harriet McKellar immigrated to Australia onboard the Lady Lilford and arrived in Adelaide in 1839, just 3 years after the founding of the Adelaide settlement.  Harriet travelled to Adelaide with 5 of her siblings: Catherine, Georgina, John, Donald and James.  The McKellar sisters remained in Adelaide but the brothers moved interstate.


James Allen and Harriet McKellar married at Melbourne Street North Adelaide on 29 July 1844; the Reverend Robert Haining (1802-1874) officiated.  Haining was a Presbyterian minister.  At the time of his marriage, James Allen was a druggist of Hindley Street Adelaide.  Later the Allen family resided at Reed Garden in Thomas Street Unley.


Miss Lavinia Allen and Mrs Sarah Crompton (née Simpson) with Crompton children at the Allen family residence Reed Garden, Thomas Street Unley in August 1923.

State Library of South Australia image B 19387.


As previously mentioned, sadly Harry’s grandmother Catherine Simpson died at her home Young House Parkside on 15 October 1887, just 8 days after her youngest child Katie was born.  Catherine Simpson was around 43 years of age when she died.  Her remains were buried at the West Terrace Cemetery in Adelaide.


Harry’s maternal grandfather

Harry Simpson’s maternal grandfather Alfred Muller Simpson was born in London on 4 April 1843.  Alfred Muller was the youngest child and only son born to Alfred Simpson (1805-1891) and his wife Sarah Anne née Neighbour (1807-1874).  Alfred and Sarah Simpson also had 2 daughters: Sarah (1840‑1850) and Catherine (1842–1917).


Harry’s grandfather, Alfred Muller Simpson arrived in Adelaide with his parents and 2 sisters in 1849.  He attended John Martin's Academy that operated in Pirie Street Adelaide between 1853 and 1856 as well as at other locations.  Alfred M learnt drawing at Mrs Hill's School of Arts in 1861.  He joined his father’s business as an apprentice on his 21st birthday in 1857.


Harry’s maternal grandfather Alfred Muller Simpson in 1900.

Image from the National Library Australia.


Alfred Muller Simpson’s marriage to Violet Laura Sheridan

On 23 August 1888, some 10 months after the death of his first wife, Alfred Muller Simpson MLC married Violet Laura Sheridan (1842-1921) at St John's Anglican Church in Halifax Street Adelaide.  The wedding ceremony was conducted by the Reverend Canon Frederic Slaney Poole MA (1845-1936).  Violet Sheridan was the first of the 4 children born to Dr John Sheridan (1805‑1858) and Jane Avis Frances Martin née Keith (1807-1882).  Dr Sheridan had been a medical practitioner in Edinburgh.


Later Dr Sheridan became the editor of London’s Morning Advertiser that was founded in 1794 by the London Society of Licensed Victuallers and included Charles Dickens among its contributors.  Jane Keith was a daughter of the Reverend Daniel Keith DD (1760-1811) and his wife Jane Keith née McPherson (1777-1824).  (Dr Keith had been a chaplain to His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, the father of Queen Victoria.)


When Violet Sheridan and her 3 siblings were born their mother Jane Avis Frances Keith was married to Dr Robert Montgomery Martin (1801-1868).  Jane Keith married Robert Martin in Sydney in 1826 but there were no children from that marriage.  In 1831, Jane Martin eloped with John Sheridan who she married in 1848 after her marriage to Robert Martin was dissolved by divorce in 1847.


Violet Laura Simpson died at her residence in Young Street Parkside on 28 June 1921 at around 81 years of age.  Her remains were buried at West Terrace Cemetery.


As well as being a leading industrialist, Alfred Muller Simpson was a prominent civic figure who took on numerous public duties throughout his life.  These activities included being a Member of the South Australian Legislative Council (for the Central District) from 1887 to 1893.  He was opposed to the payment of salaries for members of parliament and donated all of the 6 years of his parliamentary income amounting to £1 200 for an annual shooting prize, the Simpson Rifle Trophy, that continues today.


Some of Alfred Muller Simpson’s other public duties included: trustee of the State Bank of South Australia, member of the State Board of Conciliation, chairman of the Adelaide and Suburban Tramway Company, chairman of the Port Adelaide Dock Company, director of the South Australia Gas Company, president of the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society, member of the board of governors of the Botanic Gardens, treasurer of the Unitarian Christian Church, a deputy grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of South Australian Freemasons, president of the Adelaide Chess Club, and treasurer of the South Australian Institute for the Blind and the Death and Dumb.


Alfred Muller Simpson died of cancer in Adelaide on 28 September 1917 at age 74 years.  He was survived by his second wife Violet Laura Simpson and by 2 of the 3 sons and the 3 daughters from his first marriage.  His remains were interred at Adelaide’s West Terrace Cemetery.


Harry’s maternal great grandparents

In 1848, Harry’s maternal great grandparents Alfred and Sarah Simpson and their 3 children emigrated to South Australia as intermediate passengers on the John Woodhall.  This 380-ton barque was built at Kingston upon Hull in 1826.  For the Simpson family voyage, she departed London on 15 September 1848 under Captain Hill and arrived at Port Adelaide on Wednesday 17 January 1849.  (Intermediate passengers did not have separate cabins but were in better accommodation than steerage which was usually below decks.)


In Adelaide, Alfred Simpson initially tried several business ventures but these were unsuccessful.  He also twice tried is luck with visits to the goldfields (a pursuit that Harry Simpson’s mother later undertook).  Also during these early days, Sarah Simpson gave piano lessons.  By 1853, Alfred Simpson had found success as a tinsmith under the business name Colonial Tinware Manufactory which operated from premises in Topham Street Adelaide.  Initially Simpson manufactured cooking pots and pans.


In 1862, Alfred Simpson leased premises in Gawler Place Adelaide.  From 1867, Simpson supplied tins for George McEwin’s Glen Ewin jam factory at Houghton about 20 kilometres north east of central Adelaide.  Alfred Simpson personally taught McEwin's Glen Ewin factory workers to solder the lids on to the jam tins.


Simpson Family manufacturing enterprise

Harry’s grandfather, Alfred Muller Simpson, was apprenticed to his father (Harry’s great grandfather) Alfred Simpson in 1857.  In 1864, Alfred Muller became a partner in the business then called A Simpson and Son.  Alfred Muller greatly expanded the business and extended the product range from tin ware to include Adelaide patent fire and thief roof safes, munitions, food processing equipment, laundry equipment, bedsteads, machine tools, gates and many other items.


When Alfred Simpson (senior) died in 1891, A Simpson and Son had the largest metal manufacturing plant in Australia.  New works opened in Wakefield Street in 1894 and eventually extended over 3 acres.  From 1898, the company began enamel plating with porcelain and its reputation in the other Australian colonies grew.


Alfred Muller Simpson's 2 surviving sons, Alfred Allen (Allen) and Frederick Neighbour, joined the firm when they finished their schooling.  The business was incorporated in 1910 as A Simpson and Sons with Alfred Muller as chairman and Allen and Frederick as directors.  By 1924, the company had expanded with offices, factories and warehouses around Adelaide.


During World War II, a new factory opened at Dudley Park in Adelaide’s inner north and moved into the manufacturing of whitegoods.  Simpsons also entered into partnerships with Rheem and with Bush Radio making televisions and hot water systems.  In 1963, the company merged with Pope Industries to form Simpson Pope Holdings and Allen Simpson’s son (Harry’s cousin) Alfred Moxon Simpson AC CMG (1910 2001) was appointed chairman.  At the time of this merger, Simpson was focussed almost entirely on whitegoods production.


In 1979, Simpson Pope Holdings changed to Simpson Holdings Limited.  In 1986 it merged with Email Limited that specialising in refrigeration, electric meters and metals distribution.  In 2001, Email was the subject of a complex takeover with the various components taken over by other different companies.  The appliances business was taken over by the Swedish multinational company Electrolux AB that continues with Simpson washers and dryers in its brand range today.


Alfred Allen Simpson

Harry Simpson’s uncle Alfred Allen Simpson CBE CMG (1875-1939) was part of the dynasty that controlled the Adelaide-based Simpson manufacturing operation that ran from the 1850s to the 1980s.  The dynasty included Allen’s grandfather, father, brother and son.  Allen Simpson was also prominent in civic affairs.  He was elected to the Hindmarsh ward of the Adelaide City Council in 1901 and served as Mayor of Adelaide from 1913 to 1915.  He was the inaugural chairman of the Metropolitan Dairies Board.


Allen Simpson shared his father's social responsibility attitude towards their workers.  He made it clear to Simpson employees that volunteers for overseas service in World War I could have their jobs back after they returned.  In 1915, Allen Simpson initiated the South Australian Soldiers' Fund and helped found the Belgium Relief Fund.  A banquet at the Adelaide Town Hall on 23 October 1919 was given by the directors of A Simpson and Sons for returned soldier employees; about 250 people attended.


Banquet at Adelaide town hall given by the Directors of A Simpson & Sons for employees returned from World War I, 23 October 1919.

WS Smith photograph State Library of South Australia image BRG 9/36/283.


Allen Simpson became a member of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia in 1896 and served as president of the South Australian branch from 1925 to 1930.  Through the Society he met Antarctic explorer/geologist Sir Douglas Mawson (1882-1958) and Mawson’s geologist colleague Dr Cecil Thomas Madigan (1889-1947).  Allen Simpson sponsored Madigan’s 1929 aerial survey of the Simpson Desert which was subsequently named after him.  Simpson also financed Madigan’s May‑July 1939 camel-borne crossing of the Simpson Desert.  In his journal, Crossing the Dead Heart, Madigan stated he undertook the Simpson Desert crossing at Allen Simpson’s request to find out what was on the ground.  Allen Simpson died in November 1939 about 6 months after Madigan’s crossing of the Simpson Desert.


Some sources state that Sir Douglas Mawson named Cape Simpson in Antarctica after Allen Simpson.  This feature is a high rocky bluff at the northern end of Ufs Island, about 19 kilometres east of Cape Bruce on the coast of Mac Robertson Land.  It was discovered on 18 February 1931 by the British, Australia, New Zealand Antarctic Research Expeditions 1929-1931 under Sir Douglas Mawson.


However, Australian Antarctic Data Centre records indicate that Cape Simpson was named by Mawson for F Simpson of Adelaide, a patron of the expedition.  Either this official record is in error or the Cape may have been named for Allen Simpson’s brother Frederick Neighbour Simpson (1877-1954) who was a director of A Simpson and Sons.  Unfortunately a request to the Australian Antarctic Division for clarification has so far been unanswered.


Harry Simpson-Melbourne residence

Only 1 Melbourne electoral roll entry was discovered for Henry Leonard Simpson, namely for 1980 when he was listed as residing at 95 Asling Street Elsternwick and employed as an assistant.  From Harry’s December 1986 post‑retirement letter at Appendix B, he was still residing at 95 Asling Street at that time.


95 Asling Street Elsternwick in December 2018.

A Google Street View image.


The Poetry of Henry Simpson

Harry Simpson had a well developed interest in writing poetry and over the years several of his short works were published in the Dandenong office newsletter The Natmap News.  A few of Harry’s poems from this source are provided at Appendix C.


Water sports interests

For many years, Harry Simpson was a keen rower in sea kayaks and Canadian style canoes.  During his time with Nat Map at Dandenong, Harry went canoeing or kayaking with some of his work colleagues.  These ventures are known to have included:

·       competing in a 45 kilometre race down the River Murray from Lake Mulwala to Cobram with Alan Mason in 1978; they came second in the touring Canadian class with a time of 3 hours 40 minutes

·       whale watching in sea kayaks at Warrnambool with Bruce O’Connor

·       numerous sea kayak paddling trips around Port Philip Bay with Bruce O’Connor

·       competing in a Yarram to Port Albert race in South Gippsland with Alan Mason in a Canadian style canoe; while Bruce O’Connor used a sea kayak in the same event.


Harry Simpson was a founding member of the Victorian Sea Kayak Club that was established in 1979.  He remained an active member of the Club over the next 3 decades.  At then age 84 years, in the year prior to his death, Harry attended the Club’s weekend‑long 2008 annual general meeting that was held at the Merricks Camp near Point Leo on Western Port.


Simpson Desert crossing re-enactment

Around 1980, Harry Simpson was approached by connections from film director and producer Philippe de Montignie’s DNM Productions to participate in a planned re-enactment of Dr Cecil Thomas Madigan's 1939 camel-borne expedition that achieved the second recorded crossing of the Simpson Desert from Charlotte Waters via (Old) Andado homestead to Birdsville.  Harry’s maternal uncle Alfred Allen Simpson had financed Madigan’s 1939 venture.  Allen Simpson had earlier sponsored Madigan’s 1929 aerial survey of that desert which resulted in the desert being named for Allen Simpson.  Allen’s second son (Harry’s cousin) Robert Allen (Bob) Simpson (1912-1996) was the radio operator with Madigan’s 1939 party.


The first recorded crossing of the Simpson was by Edmund Albert (Ted) Colson (1881-1950) and Eringa Peter an Antakurinya man.  On 26 May 1936 with 5 camels, they left Blood’s Creek on the Overland Telegraph Line about 150 kilometres north of Oodnadatta.  Using a compass for navigation they headed east along the 26° South parallel to near the Poeppel's Corner three-way border junction and arrived at Birdsville on 11 June 1936.


Just 3 days after arriving at Birdsville, Colson and Peter started their return to Blood’s Creek and arrived home on 29 June 1936.  Colson had relied on lush growth following good rains to sustain his camels.  The South Australian Government (under Premier Richard Butler) would not recognise Colson’s unofficial Simpson crossing.  Consequently, some mythology later arose around Madigan’s 1939 crossing of the Simpson being the first by a European.


Harry Simpson did not feel confident about being involved in the 1981 vehicle‑supported re‑enactment venture.  However, he approached then Nat Map senior surveyor John Manning who subsequently participated.  In preparation for the re‑enactment, John researched Madigan’s original route and campsites by analysing the narrative and photos from Madigan’s journal.  With assistance from Nat Map Technical Officer Bill Stuchbery the route was then plotted on 1:100 000 scale topographic compilation sheets and supplemented with interpretations from aerial photographs.  Later, on-foot, John guided the re‑enactment party along Madigan’s original route to Madigan’s various campsites on the Andado to Birdsville section of the Desert crossing.


A result of this venture was The Madigan Line, a DNM Productions 50‑minute documentary film that was released in 1982.  The film was directed and produced by Philippe de Montignie and narrated by Australian actor Michael Pate (1920–2008).


Harry Simpson’s National Mapping retirement

Harry Simpson retired from National Mapping after some 13 years of service on 2 December 1986, which was his 63rd birthday.  Harry’s voluntary retirement, under provisions in the Commonwealth Employees (Redeployment and Retirement) Act 1979 was promulgated in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, on 11 December 1986.


Harry was able to enjoy some 23 years after his National Mapping retirement.



Sadly, Henry Leonard Simpson died on 5 October 2009 at the age of 85 years.  Prior to his death, Harry had contacted some Nat Mappers and indicated that he was gravely ill and sought to make arrangements for the disposal of his water craft.


Unfortunately, information on the circumstances of Harry’s death and on his funeral arrangements was not discovered during the research for this article.  The only information gleaned was a death notice in the Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper on 7 October 2009 that gave the following tribute to Harry:

No more far horizons to view, No more rivers to cross, No more mountains to climb, No more seas to challenge, Hope you find the peace, That eluded you in Life. - Ian and Yvonne, Paul and Craig.


Nat Mappers who knew Harry Simpson will fondly remember him as one of the many great characters who worked for the organisation and who interacted socially with work colleagues with similar interests.



Appendix A


A Simpson and Son (later A Simpson and Sons) factories and products.


A Simpson and Son Colonial Tinware Manufactory on the north east corner of Glenfell Street and Gawler Place Adelaide in 1899.

Photograph by Ernest Gall, State Library of South Australia image B 5278.


A Simpson and Son Wakefield Street Adelaide works viewed from the Fire Brigade tower in 1899Extract from State Library of South Australia image PRG 631/2/332.


A Simpson and Sons new factory Angas Street Adelaide in April 1926.

State Library of South Australia image B 3411.


Simpson 1 200 gallons capacity copper pot still supplied to Chateau Tanunda in 1902.

State Library of South Australia image BRG 9/36/7/R.


Simpson milk cooler circa 1908-1950.

State Library of South Australia image BRG 9/39/3/88.


Simpson boiler and Giffhorn Oven in military use at Black Forest Camp Easter 1899.

State Library of South Australia image BRG 9/36/140.


A Simpson and Son gate photographed in 2008.

State Library of South Australia image B 71378/1-4.


Some Simpson family members at the Allen family residence Reed Garden, in Thomas Street Unley in October 1916.

Adults standing from left: Miss Emma Allen, Frederick Neighbour Simpson, Miss Lavinia Allen, Sarah Simpson (Mrs Owen Crompton).

Adults seated from left: Alfred Allen Simpson, Myra Wilcox (Mrs Frederick Simpson), Miss Catherine Harriet Simpson, Owen Crompton, and Janet Hubbe (Mrs Allen Simpson).

State Library of South Australia image B 19386.




Appendix B


Harry Simpson’s post retirement thank you letter*


95 Asling Street,

Gardenvale 3185


Dear Friends,

Thank you for your good wishes and generosity on my departure from The Map.  I believe the place is more peaceful now?  For this, you can thank Mr Phil O'Reilly, and Mrs Joanne Foy.  Mrs Foy's sustained efforts on my behalf; are a great credit to her, so thank you again, Joanne for your excellent work.


I am also very indebted to all those good people who worked with me, and suffered me for so many years.  (Dicky Bird [Richard Hill] suggested that I should have retired years ago; so thank you Dicky Bird.)


Without the skilled and co-operated expertise of Mrs Anne Wraith, and Pat Ryan   there would have been no food at all, at the barbecue, so thank you Ladies, it was First Class.


To Messrs Michael Lloyd and Terence Rayner; the marquee, would have neither been up nor down, and the Council would have no doubt, rolled me up in the blasted thing, and impounded me for wilful damage and misuse of Public Park Land.  (It could be that it is not what you do, but rather with what you get caught doing, that really matters!)


So thank you Michael for supervising the unloading of the chairs and tables, erecting and striking the tent; and thank you Terence, for your good work, in striking the tent, hiding all those holes made by those massive Elephant Tethering Spikes, and for stacking the tables and chairs.


Finally, to David Pickering, for his clever caricature, and sensible choice of the old Dinkum Logo, thank you David, and to all those, who signed the card and who wished me well.


Thank you folks, cheers for now,

Harry Simpson


PS: The Dog Harness is still being considered, George is going well thanks, and the Dog Book is of great value, I wish I had read it years ago.


*From the Dandenong office newsletter The Natmap News, No 57 December 1986.



From the Dandenong office newsletter, The Natmap News, No 57 December 1986.





Appendix C


Some of Harry Simpson’s Poems from the The Natmap News



Black Elm, (November 1984)

Oh, Ulmus Nigra, I do love thee, for

In truth thou art a gracious tree.


To all us weary summer marchers, who

Sought the shade beneath your branches.


Then came Autumn, the fickle fellow,

Who turned your dark gown into yellow.


With Winter's winds, that glory all was blown,

To make your beauty black, and sparsely shown.


Since this Spring's festivities have been,

You are dressed in your best, and gentlest green.


I am now within the stealth of your embrace,

Which is a such a rare and soft, intrinsic place.


As I worship thee, from where I lie,

I see your wealth, and half the sky.


Published in The Natmap News No 50, December 1984.




A Plea for the Delphinnidae (May 1974-October 1984)

Oh! Dolphins come and play with us, far from your smelly sea.

We'll feed and train you every day, in pure tranquility…

You'll find no surf nor seaweed, or evil, circling sharks!

There are no tides for tugboats, or would be Cutty Sarks!

The pool is clean and circular, with no rocks or gritty sand.

With the driveway lined in gladdies, it will be looking grand!

Of course you know, we'll never close, and always please the crowds.

Our show will be in Springvale South, the stairway to the clouds!


For all these tatty turn-outs, and piddling, plush lined pools;

It's the people, not the dolphins, who need to learn the rules!

Poor, stupid little people, with your stingy piggy banks;

You prey upon the porpoise, and plague them with your pranks.

And as they fret, and die away, from your kindness? They have just succumb…

You'll be killing, catching others, just to make your money run!

Just to make your money run, you fools! Just to make your money run!

You'll be mauling, maiming others…Just to make your money run!


Oh! Lord, lend some vision to this blatant blindness…and let the senseless, see….

That dolphins are true innocents, and just creatures of the sea.

They have no heed of petty cash, but love to swim and roam;

They're born with the wealth of freedom, the oceans, are their home!


Published in The Natmap News No 50, December 1984.




The Wildflowers of the West (20 August 1974)

I have seen the flowers of Oh! so many, many, gardens,

With those borders, in their order, in between.

Those rows of English roses, in those richly regal gardens of the Queen.


Ballarat's rare Begonias lend a beauty to that city,

In a way, that only flowers do.

Toowoomba's Floral Festival, is really quite incredible,

And a living, vivid credit to them too.


But...if all the flowers from those gardens, those many, many gardens,

Were placed so very gently, so very, very gently, side by side:

You could see them all so easily, so very, very easily;

In just a day-long easy walking ride.


But here, in Northern West Australia,

You can journey…Oh!, forever,

Through this pure, and sweetly scented Western air.

The wildflowers in their billions;

Spreading everywhere, as far as you can see.


In seeing this profusion, this Heavenly profusion,

Is something perhaps my fates had meant for me.

In truth I cannot e'er describe them,

There is nothing that I know of to compare,

These flowers and everlastings of the West.

But Oh!, the beauty and the blending,

Of that scented air ascending,

To where the larks are singing,

In that blue, and Oh! so balmy Western air.


Published in The Natmap News No 52, August 1985.




Progressions in the Practical

In some progressions mathematical,

It is positive and practical;

In knowing our proximity to the Sun

Especially when you’re swimming;

Or just 'round, and slimming?

Note carefully this distance, to the Sun:

Or your rump, maybe slightly more than underdone:


When you are pushing on from Forty,

And perhaps a little portly?

With your stomach so beautifully displayed;

In such problems Geographical?

Be positive and practical;

Indeed, be most emphatical:

And stay just a little longer, in the shade:


Should your ego, let you fancy,

A darling little Nancy;

With a vintage, somewhat later your own.

In such problems, matrimatical,

Be expansively piratical,

Woo a widow, with collateral;

And a vintage, somewhat closer to your own.


Published in The Natmap News No 3, April 1977 and in No 54, March 1986.




Sea Kayaks-(October 1984)

We lift to the sky on the great wild swells,

That roll to the Isle Gabo;

Where the gannets go in wheeling flight,

To dive deep on the fish below.


Our craft are sleek, long and sea-kindly strong,

Like those the Eskimos made.

They rise and dive, and glide like a song,

Attuned to the wave and blade.


Kismet, it is - we are really living again!

But our thanks...we firmly bestow

on those small brave men, in their slim skin boats,

From the seas where the narwhals blow!


Our spirits fly as we run the breaks

on the rolling mountains of sea!

Which are just ripples, old Earth mother makes,

As she spins through infinity…


Published in The Natmap News No 52, August 1985.