Last changed 16 July 2021

1965 Wongela Geophysical helicopter gravity survey

In June 1965 Wongela Geophysical Pty Ltd carried out a helicopter gravity survey under contract to BMR (Flavelle 1965).  Alan J. Flavelle was the representative of the BMR, and Geoff F. Lonsdale was Project Supervisor.

Lindsay Ingall (1927–99) was the the founder and CEO of Wongela. He visited the field party west of Tennant Ck, as recorded in his diary:
26/6/65 drove Aileron to Tennant Creek
    stayed overnight in field camp caravan (access by vehicle)
28/6/65    left Tennant Creek for Alice Springs
29/6/65    returned Sydney

The typical operation of the helicopter gravity survey is described by Phil McSharry from Peter Mewkill (1940–2001): search for 'Lindsay Ingall' in

See especially Plate 4 in Flavelle 1965, showing the DD, DJ, DE and DF lines of bench marks, and 'Vaughn Strip' at DE-50.

The survey used helicopters of Rotor Work, Sydney:
2 Bell 47G3B VH-AHF, VH-AHH
Bell 47G2 VH-WHS
Hillier 12C VH-THA
with pilot and engineer Gordon Anderson and Jim Hilferty

Wongela Geophysical was based at 22 Kurraba Rd, North Sydney NSW:
22 Kurraba St

When I visited Lindsay Ingall he showed one of the gravity meters used in the survey:
 gravity meter

gravity meter

Wongela name

Lindsay Ingall business card

Lindsay Ingall told me he chose the company name, meaning 'boomerang', from a book of Aboriginal words. This very likely derived from the entry
    Boomerang    wongela
published in Curr 1886 vocabulary No. 153 'The Barcoo River, 40 Miles West Of Blackall, Yangeeberra Tribe', by John Ahern. Breen's 1990 Salvage studies of Western Queensland Aboriginal languages groups this with evidence from other languages of the district to reconstitute the word as wangala, that is, with pronunciation ['waŋala]. Lindsay Ingall pronounced his company's name [won'gilə], and others may have said [won'ʤilə].


Visit with Lindsay Ingall, North Sydney, 29 November 1990.

Flavelle, Alan J. 1965. Helicopter survey by contract, N.T. & Qld. 1965, Part I.  BMR Record 1965/212 (unpublished).

Smith, Mike (compiler). 2017. Memories of Lindsay Ingall.

Lindsay Ingall’s grave at Leura Memorial Gardens

With thanks to Laurie McLean for sources on Lindsay Ingall.
To Karlantijpa page

2021 David Nash
Created 31 May 2021
Modified 16 July 2021