Trevor Plumb (Commendation)

Citation for the Professional Service Award Trevor Plumb
Conferred Canberra, August 1987

Trevor Plumb’s long contribution to applied geography has been in the field of atlas preparation and thematic mapping at the national level. In 1956, he assumed editorship of the Atlas of Australian Resources and for the next 26 years provided the leadership for one of Australia’s most internationally respected geographical products. The success of the Atlas as reflected in the demand generated from schools, libraries, researchers, government organisations and the international geographical fraternity required further editions. The redesigned Second Series of the Atlas and the first two volumes of the Third Series appeared before Trevor’s retirement from the office of Head of the Geographic Section, Division of National Mapping, in 1982.

Trevor’s career encompassed many facets of thematic mapping and associated commentary preparation. Requests for reports on regional resources from State governments were paralleled by studies of national overviews of water resources, land use, nature conservation reserves, Aboriginal demography and lands, and census data with special reference to urban population and housing.

Trevor represented Australia on several international committees, including the IGU Commission on National and Regional Atlases and the joint IGU/ICA Working Group on Environmental Atlases. As an acknowledged expert, he has been invited to advise on atlas projects in locations as far apart as Ottawa and Paris. For several years, Trevor also served on the Academy of Science’s National Committee for Geography and in 1978 his public service was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours by the award of the MBE.

For young geography students Trevor had always sympathy, kindness and encouragement and many, who are no longer young, remember his consideration and freely available expertise with affection. From the student seeking work experience to the graduate seeking technical advice, all were welcomed and assisted in Trevor’s office in the Division of National Mapping.

Since retirement Trevor has given freely of his time to advise on the historical atlas of the Australian Bicentennial History Project. The editors John McQuilton and Jack Camm have acknowledged the debt they owe to Trevor in the successful completion of the project with its publication last year.

In reviewing his career therefore the Institute wishes to acknowledge in the Professional Service Commendation its appreciation of:

Trevor’s outstanding role in the establishment and professional guidance of the major national cartographic document—the Atlas of Australian Resources,
the long term liaison undertaken throughout his career with Australian and overseas government and educational bodies and the successful promotion of geographical approaches to resource management strategies; his personal stimulus to, and sympathetic support for, young geographers, and his significant behind-the-scenes contribution to the major geographical component in the Bicentennial History Project—namely Australia—a Historical Atlas.

 

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