Vale – John Austin (Jack) Yarra

(1 October 1922 – 2 November 2012)


Vice Commodore Jack Yarra from image supplied by Peter Forster;

Canberra Yacht Club Flag Officers 1974-75.



John Austin (Jack) Yarra was born at East Malvern, Victoria, on 1 October 1922. He enlisted in the Citizen Military Forces in September 1941 at 3 Military District Royal Park, Victoria.


He served with Land Headquarters Cartographic Company transferring to the Second Australian Imperial Force in September 1942, and served with 1 Australian Mobile Lithographic Unit in Northern Australia.


Transferred to 2/1 Field Survey Company Royal Australian Engineers, 2AIF in 1943, which was later renamed, 2/1 Australian Army Topographic Survey Company, which served in the South West Pacific Area 1943-1945, New Guinea, Dutch New Guinea, Morotai, Halmahera Group.


Returned to Australia in November 1945 Jack was deployed to LHQ Cartographic Company to accumulate discharge points and await discharge which occurred in April 1947.


At discharge he had the rank of Sergeant and the skills of a Photogrammetrist, Topographic Draftsman, Field Survey Assistant.


John joined the National Mapping Section of the Department of the Interior in Canberra as a cartographic draftsman on 24 January 1951 and rose to the level of Chief Draftsman in Nat Map. John was an expert with the air brush for depicting hill shading and the 1:5 million scale map of Australia (hill shaded below) was one of his recognised achievements. John retired as a Chief Draftsman, Grade 2 on 2 November 1981 at age 59 years.


Jack was the last WW2 member of the Canberra Survey Corps Association. He died in Canberra on 2 November 2012 at age 90 years.



Details kindly provided by Charlie Watson with minor updates by Laurie McLean in August 2019.



RASvy have their own Vale for Jack in the March 2013 ACT Newsletter on pages 25-27.




Copy of Nat Map 1: 5,000,000 scale Australian Land and Seabed Relief Map

which is recognised as one of John’s achievements.