John Robert Dewar, CBE

John Robert Dewar, CBE

Male 1883 - 1964  (81 years)


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Two letters written by John Dewar to Australian Surveyor Magazine.

Copies of letters researched and compiled by Ly Mok in Singapore and kindly provided for publication on this site.

The Australian Surveyor, January 1928, p 17.


Office of the Surveyor-General.
F.M.S. & S.S.
Kuala Lumpur.
November 29th, 1927.

The President,
of the Surveyors’ Institute,
Brisbane, Queensland,

I have the honour to forward for your information the copy of a letter which I have addressed to the Surveyor-General of your State, and I shall be grateful for any assistance which you can lend him in the selection of suitable officers.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) J. M. DEWAR.
Surveyor-General, F.M.S. & S.S.

28th November, 1927.

I have the honour once more to solicit your assistance in recruiting Surveyors for service in Malaya. The developments which are taking place have increased the requirements of the Government far beyond those which obtained when I visited Australia last year.
I am particularly anxious to recruit young surveyors, newly qualified, before they marry or settle down to a practice, in order that they may be of the type whom I can send into the jungle to do field work. It is very difficult to house married officers at present, and if they are married in their first term of four years it is almost impossible to employ them to the best advantage. The terms that are offered should, I think, prove attractive to the young surveyor, and should even induce young men still at school or University to take up surveying as a profession.
The initial salary is £560 + 56 equals £660 a year rising in 16 years to £1,120 + 112 equals £1,232 a year for a bachelor or £1,344 for a married officer. The supplementary amount represents what is known as the temporary allowance of 10% for a bachelor and 20% for

a married officer, but it is almost certain that this will not be taken off. It is more likely to be consolidated into the salary. This means that, if a surveyor joins at 23 he will, before he reaches the age of 40 be drawing more than £100 a month, and will enjoy leave privileges on full pay.
In addition he will earn a substantial pension. The qualities we require in return are that he shall be efficient and energetic, and that he shall be socially acceptable. In addition to the salaries above quoted there are 18 appointments, i.e., about 20% of the total number carrying salaries varying from £1,300 to £1,850 a year for a bachelor, or £1,420 to just over £2,000 for a married man.
As I am particularly anxious that our surveyors should be recruited from our Colonies I should be most grateful if you would do what you can to assist me. My requirements are 15 in 1928 and 7 each year for the next four years after 1928, and I should be very much obliged if you would advise me what you think my chances are of obtaining some of them from your State.
I am addressing this letter to the Surveyors-General of the other States, and of New Zealand. The alternative to recruiting in Australasia is to get young men from the English Universities and to train them here. If we have to rely entirely on this expedient it will inevitably have the effect of eventually closing this country to the Australasian youth who takes up surveying, and I imagine will lessen your reserve of surveyors, who, though they may be serving away, still belong to their country of origin, and eventually return there in their later days, with the added experience they gain here.
I need scarcely add that this Government is prepared to pay any expenses that may be incurred in recruiting, and to provide immediately for the passages of any officers engaged.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your obedient servant,
(Signed) J. M. DEWAR,
Surveyor-General, F.M.S. & S.S.

Linked toLetter to The Australian Surveyor; John Robert Dewar, CBE

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