HomeWelcomeUpdatesCompanyAircraftPeopleProjectsEquipmentOperationsPhoto AlbumGuest BookSearchAdastrianaQuestions




An Aeromagnetic Survey of the Fly-Bamu Area, Papua 1953.

The following notes were compiled by Doug Morrison from a report by P.A. Rankin, Hunting Geophysics Limited, 1st Dec 1953 for Australian Petroleum Co. (Pty) Limited. Additional notes by Doug Morrison appear in brackets.

Flown by Canso CF-GKI of Aeromagnetic Surveys Limited of Toronto, Canada, associates of Hunting Geophysics Ltd.

P.S.C. Applied Research Ltd. magnetometer used. [PSC was a Hunting subsidiary in Canada].

Survey planned for broadly spaced data – nominally at 4 miles spacing but 2 miles spacing in places. Flight lines oriented N20°E to S20°W.

Flying height nominally at 1500 feet ASL by barometric altimeter.

Two 35mm cine cameras used to track Canso, one running continuously and one fired over ‘good pinpoints’, all correlated to magnetometer records.

During the survey an F.24 aerial camera was used to photograph areas such as the Fly River banks, the border with Netherlands New Guinea and some other areas. [There were no maps or photography existing in places and the detail of the Fly River delta with its various islands was unknown]

As well as the aeromagnetic survey it was a task of the contract to produce updated topographic maps of the survey areas.

The main operational base was near Kikori [believed to be the location on the Kikori River known as Middletown], with some flying out of Lake Murray later in the contract.

Accommodation was on houseboats on the Kikori and huts at the more remote Lake Murray.

APC supplied all accommodation, food, fuel, services. [There were 40 local helpers to fuel aircraft etc – from notes by co-pilot on the survey, Bob Pettus]

Radio contact was made with Port Moresby every half hour whilst on survey.

The survey was extended to cover an area identified as ‘the Paibuna area’ [an area to the west of Kikori].

A regional aeromagnetic traverse was flown over the Torres Strait and Gulf of Papua with a starting point at Mabaduam on the Fly River [up river and on the border to Netherlands New Guinea] flown south to Mulgrave Island [in Queensland], Cape York on Australian mainland, then heading north to Marsden Island [still in Queensland] then Bramble Bay [not a currently used name? possibly near Bramble Cay?] then to a point east of the Kikori [144°39'E by 7°24'S] and to Kikori itself.

Contract awarded 17 Dec 1952. [However the first crew member, unidentified, was onsite 11 Dec 1952].

Aircraft and crew arrived Port Moresby 10 Jan 1953.

Based on the Kikori and ready to start survey 13 Jan 1953. First survey flight 14 Jan 1953.

Departed Kikori 13 March 1953. Last survey flight 6 March 1953.

Total of 59 days on survey of which 44 were operational.

14,600 line miles of aeromagnetic data obtained.

623 line miles of F.24 aerial photography obtained.

After a break in Cairns, CF-GKI then went to Netherlands New Guinea for another survey [no detail shown but thought to be for Shell Petroleum]

The 35mm film was processed at Kikori with all data then sent to Hunting in England for data reduction and map production etc.

Compilation of maps was at 1:50,000 with final products produced at 1:100,000. The survey’s flight path was plotted on the maps at 1;100,000 all of which was was of varying accuracy, particularly in the Fly River delta and the far western part of the survey where there were no photos or previous mapping.

An overall index map was produced for the report at1:1,000,000 showing the survey flight path [unsighted and missing from the file]

Final maps were delivered to the customer 30th October 1953.

No map showing the areas flown have been located but it seems a considerable piece of SW Papua was regionally covered from the Netherlands New Guinea border to the Fly River delta from the south coast to a line at least level with Mabaduam on the Fly River – places such as Lake Wam and Aramia River were noted in the report’s text. There was also an extension area in the Paibuma River vicinity and the reconnaissance over Torres Strait to Cape York.

* Canso CF-GKI later joined the Adastra fleet as VH-AGB.



Mineral and Oil Detection Work
Carried out in New Guinea

An amphibious Catalina aircraft with special landing gear landed at the Cairns aerodrome last night on its way south to Sydney. The aircraft, which is owned by a Canadian concern, has been engaged by private firms in mineral and oil detection in New Guinea since the beginning of the year.

The aircraft, which was built in Canada during the last war for coastal patrol work, carried a crew of eight, most of whom were Canadian. The New Guinea work was the first time that the company had been out of Canada since it was formed about five years ago.


One of the members of the party, Mr. J. Gray, technician, of Canada, said that the actual name for the New Guinea work was known as magnetometer survey work. The name of the Canadian company was Aeromagnetic Surveys Ltd.

Mr. Gray said that the aircraft landed on the ground as much as possible. He described the New Guinea aerodromes as "pretty good" and the temporary aerodromes, made during the war, as "not too bad."

He said that the aircraft was the same as the ordinary Catalina except in the landing gears. He added that the aircraft was built because there were so many lakes in Canada.

The crew had a particularly long trip out as the aircraft flew across the Atlantic and then via Europe and the East before finally reaching New Guinea.


Included in the crew are an Australian engineer (Mr. T. Worley) and an English technician (Mr. T. Hedges). The rest of the crew which is all Canadian, is Messrs. W. Howes (captain of the party and pilot), R. Pettus (pilot), L. Fisher (navigator), M. Mugford (engineer), H. Sandau (technician) and J. Gray (technician).

Most of the party served in the air force during the last war. They are on their way to Sydney for a holiday. The plane will leave Cairns early this morning.

Reproduced verbatim from Cairns Post of Friday 13 March 1953.
Sourced via Trove.



Original issue.