When we spoke with John McLean, our knowledge of surveying was minimal. After speaking with him, we have a newfound respect for the work of surveyors and, in particular, the work John undertook during his career.
‘Back in the 1950s, once you finished your leaving certificate unless you were going on to further study, you filled out a form for the state public service, and off you went,’ he said.
John went to the state public service and started working as a draftsman. He spent a couple of years there before national service training, which placed him outdoors for 6 months with the Air Force at Richmond. After that, he says he could never go back to an office environment.
‘I just loved the outdoors. I loved the variety of the work and being able to be out and about all the time. It was much more appealing than working in an office every day,’ he said.
‘After the Second World War, all the maps needed to be reviewed and improved. That's when the Central Mapping Authority came about, and we looked after the New South Wales area,’ he said.
From Richmond in Sydney's northwest across to Broken Hill, Bourke and Condobolin in rural New South Wales. John worked (and sometimes walked) his way across the regions measuring and surveying the area.
While working mainly in the technical areas of surveying, John saw a significant amount of change in the industry. Especially as technologies advanced.
‘The times have changed quite a lot, and even more so in the last 15 years, I would imagine. The concept of surveying has simplified quite a lot,’ he said. ‘The technology we had back in the 50s and 60s has changed and advanced, and there's no need for as many people to do the job anymore,’ he said.
Despite the changes in the industry over time, John recalls fond memories of his time as a surveyor. Particularly the varying work and work environments.
‘Every day was different, which was exciting. Working in the Central Mapping Authority back then was very exciting. We never knew where we'd be going. You looked forward to every day,’ he said.
After his career as a surveyor, John finished his working life with Douglass Hanly Moir, a pathology company producing petri dishes for medical clinics and hospitals. Working there for 10 years kept John ‘out of mischief’ before he retired.
‘It’s quite comfortable, and we feel very well looked after. All in all, it’s worked out very well.’
After moving into Pittwater Village, John and his wife Jan say they’ve never been happier.
‘We sort of reached a point where I'd had enough of my working life, and our family had all moved away, so we looked and looked. Pittwater Village was the place we decided we would go. And we love it,’ he said.
John thoroughly enjoys the beautiful community at Pittwater Village. He loves the flexibility and freedom to come and go as he pleases while enjoying a variety of activities within the village.
‘We've got no reason to want to leave or do anything else. It's quite comfortable, and we feel very well looked after as well. All in all, it's worked out very well,’ he said.
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