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This is where you will be able to find selected historical information relevant to the surveying and mapping of Australia under the following headings :
Australian Exploration (pre 1787)
- From flat-earth to Phillip, a series of papers about the discovery and first settlement of Australia (source unknown).
- We easily remember Arthur Phillip and James Cook as part of Australia's history. However, we should not overlook the impact on that history of the Longitude Act, John and William Harrison, Nevil Maskelyne and the other navigational improvements the Act funded. With the idea of a Longitude Reward being revived in 2014, this article The Longitude Reward - its association with the founding and settlement of Australia covers these other aspects especially Harrison's work on obtaining accurate longitude at sea.
- Following the success of Larcum Kendall's copy K1, of John Harrison's marine timekeeper H4, as reported by Lieutenant James Cook, K1 operated for another twenty years with only minor repairs. Several mariner-navigators, whose names are closely associated with early Australian discovery and settlement, all used Kendall's timepieces during their voyages as described in this article Marine Timekeepers used by Cook, Phillip and Flinders.
Colonial Australia (1788-1900)
- The Empire, a former Sydney newspaper, published on its page 3 of Wednesday 2 September 1857, a lecture on Land Surveying given by then Australia's first Governor General, Sir William Denison. Denison described Geodesy, Geometry, Geography and Trigonometry as used by the surveyor to map out or divide the surface of the earth into portions of different sizes to suit the wants of its inhabitants. He also talked about the evil of the system whereby the expedient allocation of land lasts way beyond the need for such a temporary measure and thus results in the likelihood that the same piece of land be allocated to two people and the ultimate recourse to litigation to resolve the problem.
- Had it been considered important a Victorian newspaper headline on Friday 4 July 1873 may have read :
Geodetic Survey of Victoria :
"It will be done when completed and cost what it costs" Ellery tells Victorian Government
Robert Lewis John Ellery (after whom Natmap's Dandenong premises was named) as Superintendent of the Geodetic Survey was responding to a request by the then Honourable James Joseph Casey MP, Minister of Lands and Agriculture. Ellery's report was tabled in the Victorian Legislative Assembly on the night of Thursday 3 July 1873. On Monday 7 July 1873 the Argus newspaper published Ellery's response on page 6! This example of the Victorian government's intransigence to the surveying and mapping of its colony, followed a similar occurrence in the earlier colony of New South Wales. Both governments wanted organised settlement but neither wanted to pay for it to occur. Seems this became a recurring theme when Australian governments considered the surveying and mapping of their administrations!
- Colonel William Light's (1786-1839), initial trig formally monumeneted by a plaque in the Adelaide CBD as shown in this article from the Adelaide Advertiser of 28 April 2018 courtesy Bill Stuchbery.
- This article Australia : Colonies, States/Territories & Federation is an update of the one that was printed in the NatMap News No. 50 of December 1984. In checking its currency the attached two papers were found which provide a similar overview albeit from 1894 and 2013, plus a 1971 paper focusing on the instruments of establishment or alteration of the various boundaries.
Post Federation Australia (1901-1946)
- Astronomy and Geodesy in Australia to 1914 is extracted from a longer paper by Pietro Baracchi, F.R.A.S., the then Government Astronomer of Victoria. His original paper was included in a Handbook specially prepared for the use of members of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, at the Australian Meeting of 1914. He reports on how astronomy in Australia from the earliest times laid the foundation for Australian geodesy including the resolutions of the 1912 meeting of Surveyors-General in Melbourne.
- Kidson the geophysicist, 1914 camel trek from Prieview : Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Issues 115 & 116 of April & June 2005 respectively.
State or Territory related (post 1946)
- Just over a century ago Surveyor's Harry Mouat and Frederick Marshall Johnston met on the now Australian Capital Territory - New South Wales border, thus completing the demarcation survey. While this was an important event in the history of the ACT these two papers Some Historical Aspects of Australian Capital Territory Mapping and its Map Grid and Some of the early Survey Work of Thomas Alexander Vance (1882 - 1959), cover lesser known elements associated with the surveying and mapping of the ACT.
- The 1800 kilometre long, north-south border between the state of Western Australia and the states of South Australia and the Northern Territory runs east-west for over one hundred metres at latitude 26 degrees south. The opportunity to make the border a single straight line was rejected by the States involved in 1967. More detail can be found in this article.
- Jackey Jackey airfield was named after Galmahra, an aboriginal youth selected to accompany the explorer and assistant surveyor Edmund Besley Court Kennedy (1818-1848) and eleven other men on an expedition to Cape York Peninsula. However, over the years this airfield has had other names and is today the Northern Peninsula airport. This article covers the origin and some history of this airfield.