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Place Names Register Extract

Nannette Helder Overpass

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Name Nannette Helder Overpass
Type Designation Bridge
Place Id 25004
Place Type Feature
Status Registered
Date Registered 22 November 2021
Location (Datum GDA94)  
Latitude: -14° 24' S (Decimal degrees -14.408335)
Longitude: 132° 11' E (Decimal degrees 132.199718)
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Locality / Suburb  
Local Government Area  
  Katherine Town Council
History/Origin Ms Nannette Johanna Michaela Helder was born in Groningen, the Netherlands, on 23 April 1962. In 1981, while on a working holiday in the Swiss Alps, Nannette formed a friendship with an Australian, whom she joined in Sydney, New South Wales, the following year. In 1982 Nannette was reportedly one of only two female students out of a cohort of about 60 studying surveying at the University of New South Wales. Undeterred, Nannette completed her Bachelor degree in 1985 and started her working career in suburban Sydney.

Quickly becoming disenchanted with the city work lifestyle, Nannette seized a graduate surveyor opportunity in the late 1980s with an American oil and gas exploration company, Western Geophysical. This brought her experience to the remote and challenging work environment of outback north-western Australia.

In 1992, Nannette decided to call Katherine, Northern Territory (NT), home; and with her partner welcomed two daughters: Zoe in 1992 and Georgia in 1994. Nannette worked a variety of jobs in Katherine, including mapping all the power poles in the greater Katherine area, surveying segments for the Alice Springs to Darwin railway, and surveying the record breaking 1998 Katherine River flood.

In 2001 Nannette became reputedly the first female licensed surveyor in the Northern Territory. After existing surveying businesses abandoned Katherine in 2002, she co­founded Territory Development Consultants (TDC). TDC provided professional surveying services to a region almost half a million kilometres square; between the Western Australian and Queensland borders, and from Pine Creek to Tennant Creek. In her capacity heading a remote surveying business, Nannette single-handedly provided survey expertise distinct for its breadth of works, and committed to supporting local business with local proficiency. Nannette's focus on and commitment to resident, regional services were recognised in 2008, when she became the first Territorian, and the first female, to win the Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Award for Spatial Professional of the Year.

Nannette remained committed to providing dedicated, quality professional services to the remote Katherine region in, what compared to urban experiences would be described, a challenging work environment. The hot, humid local climate, coupled with distance from the services and opportunities provided by larger centres, contributed to high staff turnover and a lack of skilled staff. Nannette dedicated herself to broadening her own professional development to fill skills gaps in the local community, as well as supporting the education and development of local skills to fill job opportunities. Nannette described her choice to pursue a career in remote, regional NT as a 'lifestyle' rather than 'just a job'. Nannette's commitment to providing a local based surveying business brought a consistency and continuity to local development that enabled other local business to thrive on opportunities. Nannette also demonstrated her enthusiasm by voluntarily sharing her knowledge with the wider community; of note, public star­gazing opportunities and mentoring local high school students in their maths studies.

In 2014 Nannette semi-retired and moved to Alice Springs to spend more time hiking, camping, canoeing and gardening. She also became the first female member of the NT Board of Surveyors, representing Central Australia from 2017-2020. Nannette was an advocate for greater opportunities for female workers and for flexible working arrangements for men. She maintained a life-long love of the outdoors, bushwalking and gardening, and despite her self-declared dislike for the heat, never looked back on her escape from city life for the outback NT. Nannette passed away in Alice Springs on 11 April 2021.

Register & Gazettal information

Date Gazettal Comment
22/11/2021 Plan S2021/072 Certified Plan S2021/072
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