Apostolos (Apos) Anagnostou (1910-1990)


Apos at the Rialto in the 1970s (an XNatmap image).


Nat Mappers who worked in the Rialto Building during the 1950s to the 1970s will recall Apostolos Anagnostou as a quietly spoken and retiring gentleman who generally was very economical in his conversations with fellow work colleagues.† For Apos, English was very much his second language after Greek and many Nat Mappers had a little difficulty when conversing with him.


Apos joined Nat Mapís Melbourne office in the Rialto Building at 497 Collins Street on 20 November 1959 and spent most of the next ten years working as a Survey Computer engaged on geodetic survey field data reductions and computations.† This was in the time before personal electronic computers or electronic hand-held calculators with trigonometric functions were in use.† Accordingly, the survey computing work that Apos undertook between 1959 and 1969 was all by hand.† His technology included Chambers, Shortread and other logarithmic trigonometrical tables and later Peters and other natural tables as well as a Facit desktop mechanical calculator.† Towards the end of Aposís time as a Survey Computer with Nat Map, the fledgling electronic computing era was making this hands-on technology obsolete.


Nat Mapís Geodetic Survey Branch relocated from Melbourne to Canberra after the end of the 1969 field season.† Many of the field staff who didnít want to move to Canberra then drifted away from Nat Map.† However, several of the more senior staff managed to find positions elsewhere in the Melbourne office.† Apos was one of these.


By the late 1960s or early 1970s Apos became involved with breaking airborne profile recorder charts to obtain photogrammetric vertical control for the 1:100,000 scale national topographic map programme.† For this task Apos worked in the Topographic Survey Branch that became the Control Survey Branch in 1970.† Between 1962 and 1971 the contractor Adastra Aerial Surveys supplied about 200,000 kilometres of terrain profiles.† These chart-based vertical profiles came from a Canadian-sourced radar profiling system that was flown at some 3,000 metres above ground level.† At that height the radar sampled an area on the ground of about 50 metres in diameter.† This sample was then considered sufficient for photogrammetric mapping control over inland areas of generally low relief.


Between 1970 and 1979, Nat Map operated the laser terrain profiler that was developed by the Weapons Research Establishment. †This more accurate system was used to fly over 250, 000 kilometres of laser terrain profiles that provided vertical photogrammetric control for plotting an area of some 2.7 million square kilometres at 1:100,000 scale with a contour vertical interval of 20 metres.† The terrain profiles obtained from this system were also chart-based.† After the charts from radar profiles were completed, Apos moved on to breaking the charts from the new laser terrain profiler.


While engaged in this work, Aposís appointment as a Technical Officer (Surveying), Grade 1 was promulgated in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on 22 June 1972.


Apos was a respected and diligent worker who quietly got on with the task at hand.† He preferred to be left alone to work independently on his tasks.† While somewhat reticent and quietly spoken, Apos demonstrated a keen sense of humour. †During his days on the laser charts Apos was credited with assigning nick-names to some of his work colleagues that resonated with others and have stuck to this day.† Graeme Lawrence became Groom and Laurie Edebohls became The Boy.


Unfortunately, little is known of Aposís early and pre-Nat Map life.† The following information has been gleaned from recent research on readily available documents.† Apos had become a displaced person early in his life and as such had considerable empathy from other Nat Mappers whose families had similar experiences. †Among these work colleagues were Bob Bobroff (1922‑2013) (Nat Map 1959-1982), Rom Vassil (Nat Map 1965-1987) and Ed Burke (Nat Map 1961-1989).


Bob Bobroffís parents had to flee the 1917 Communist revolution in Russia as Bobís father was a Ural Cossack and had been an officer in the Russian Army as well as a forestry surveyor.† Bob was born in 1922 in a village then named Nikolsk‑Ussuriysk that was located at a rail junction on the Trans-Siberian Railway about 80 kilometres north of the far south-eastern Russian sea port of Vladivostok.† (Bob was the supervising surveyor in charge of the Control Survey Branch during Aposís later years with Nat Map.)


Rom Vassilís late father Vasili Vassiliades was of Greek heritage and was born in 1903 in the then Constantinople (now Istanbul) that was in Asia Minor on the western (European) side of the Bosphorus.† In 1922 following the Greco-Turkish War, Vasili and his family along with the rest of the local Greek population were expelled from the new Republic of Turkey.† Vasili fled to Salonica and later to Alexandria before coming to Australia.† (Rom was the senior surveyor in charge of the Terrain Profile Surveys Section during Aposís chart-breaking years.)


Jason Perides, Ed Burkeís late father-in-law was also of Greek heritage.† Along with the survivors of his family and the rest of the local Greek and Armenian population, Jason had to flee his home in Smyrna following the catastrophic fire, sacking and looting that took place under Turkish forces in mid-September 1922 and saw many thousands of people killed.† Today known as Izmir, Smyrna was about 35 kilometres east of Aposís birth place at Vourla in Asia Minor.


Apostolos Dimitriou Anagnostou was of Greek heritage and born in the largely Greek populated city of Vourla on 17 April 1910.† (However, it appears that when joining Nat Map, Apos may have understated his age as a staff list indicated that he was born on 17 April 1912.)† Vourla was located on a peninsula that extends into the Aegean Sea from Asia Minor (Anatolia) and was about 270 kilometres east of Athens and about 350 kilometres south west of Istanbul.† Today Vourla is known by the Turkish name of Urla and is a city of about 50,000 people in the Province of Izmir.


Asia Minor was the south western part of Asia and comprised most of present‑day Turkey.† Alexander the Great conquered Asia Minor in about 333 BC and in about 133 BC the area came under Roman rule.† After the fall of Rome, Asia Minor became part of the Byzantine Empire from about 476 AD.† In 1299 AD Asia Minor became part of the Ottoman Empire ruled by the Ottoman Sultanate.† In 1922 the Ottoman Sultanate was abolished and the Ottoman Empire was dissolved; Asia Minor then became the Republic of Turkey.


Vourla was the site of a terrible massacre towards the end of the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922.† Greek troops departed Minor Asia between late August and early September 1922. †Turkish forces then marched on Vourla and razed it to the ground, slaughtering and plundering much of the local Greek population. †The surviving Greeks later fled across the Aegean in American and Greek ships and settled in Greece or elsewhere.


In 1954 Apos migrated to Australia on the MV Fairsea that was then operated by the Sitmar Line.† Built in the United States in 1941 as the Rio de la Plata, the Fairsea was a diesel powered vessel of 11,833 tons and could make 16 knots.† Prior to a refit in 1957, the vessel provided minimal accommodation with large open dormitories and stark surroundings.† In December 1953 the Fairsea sailed from the German North Sea port of Bremerhaven under Captain Gievanni Gladioli as a migrant ship with 929 Third Class passengers onboard.† A further 335 migrant passengers embarked at Genoa.


Afterwards the Fairsea called at Piraeus which has been the port for Athens since ancient times.† Here a further 519 migrant passengers embarked including Apos, Billy and Catherine Anagnostou who became passenger numbers 1309, 1310 and 1311, respectively.


Before entering the Suez Canal, the Fairsea called at Port Said on Egyptís Mediterranean coast where a further 32 migrant passengers embarked.† Most of the 1815 migrant passengers on this voyage were bound for migrant camps at either Fremantle or Bonegilla.† However, many others onboard were bound for private addresses in metropolitan or regional areas and a few were on-bound for New Zealand.


MV Fairsea in 1957 (Museums Victoria image.)


Fortunately, the three Anagnostous had private accommodation to go to when the Fairsea docked in Melbourne on 11 January 1954.† The passenger addresses for all three were recorded as 391 St Georges Road North Fitzroy.† From electoral roll entries in the early 1960s, a Dimitrios Anagnostou, confectioner, resided at that address.


From electoral rolls between 1963 and 1980 (the last roll currently accessible) Apos resided at 171 Coppin Street Richmond and on all such rolls gave his occupation as draftsman.† (It is not known if Apos ever worked as a draftsman with Nat Map.)


Around the mid-1970s Apos was badly injured as a pedestrian in a traffic accident.† Afterwards he was no-longer steady on his feet which made taking public transport to work difficult for him as well as constraining various other activities.† Apos retired a year or more prior to Nat Map moving its Melbourne office to Dandenong in early 1977.† Fortunately, Apos was able to enjoy around 15 years in retirement.


Sadly, Apos Anagnostou died at Richmond on 1 July 1990; at the age of 80 years.† Apos was a loving husband, father and grandfather as well as a respected Nat Mapper.† His remains now lie at peace in Box Hill Cemetery.





Prepared by Laurie McLean in December 2017 following consultations with Paul Wise, Rom Vassil and Ed and Nicole Burke; each of whom provided valuable information and insights.