There is no doubt that the history of surveying in this sunburnt country is a fascinating one.
You may have already read one of our previous blog articles looking into Australian surveying history. Reading about it is one thing, however – seeing it is another!
Retracing the footsteps of the surveyors that mapped Australia is made an easier task thanks to the tireless work of those that have striven to preserve that history. Across the country there are museums and collections dedicated to not just taking care of historical surveying artefacts and curiosities, but also celebrating them.
So where is the best place to get a snapshot of surveying yesteryear? Read on.
Exploring Victoria’s surveying history
Stepping into the Melbourne Museum in Carlton will reveal some of the surveying secrets of the past.
Looking for a walk down surveying history memory lane? Melbourne Museum has some fascinating surveying equipment from yesteryear on ongoing display, accompanied by a written history of how surveying helped build Australia.
On top of this, the museum has an extensive collection behind closed doors in their science and measurement stores – including sextants, theodolites and much more.
Additionally, Canberra’s National Museum of Australia has a featured collection on the Victorian exploits of legendary Burke and Wills. If Victoria is too far a trek for you but you reside in the nation’s capital, it is well worth exploring.
Mapping out Queensland’s surveying history
Established in 1982, and today located at 317 Edward Street in Brisbane’s CBD, the Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying is a treasure trove of surveying maps, artefacts, photographs, plans, registers and more.
On top of this, visitors can even peruse surveyors’ and cartographers’ biographies and diaries.
If this sounds like an exhaustive list of historical surveying pieces, then there is good reason – it turns out that the Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of its type in the world. In fact, it is actually a recognised sub-branch of the Queensland Museum.
You can find out more about the museum’s collection – and its history – by clicking on the following link. Better yet, you can contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a tour of the museum.
Tracing coastal borders in New South Wales
New South Wales’ rich surveying history can be explored at a number of museums and galleries around the state.
One of the most impressive is located at Jervis Bay Maritime Museum. This Surveyors Gallery is a unique opportunity to examine the changes in surveying and measurement equipment from the industrial revolution through land development practices in the 19thand 20thcentury.
If you aren’t likely to be in the neck of Jervis Bay anytime soon, the University of New South Wales has a fascinating – and online accessible – Surveying Instrument Museum, which is available for you to explore here.
Smaller collections and items of historical significance exist in a few other locations. The NSW State Government Spatial Services Department offices in Bathurst contain a small number of fascinating items. If you’re booking a Harbour Bridge Climb, you may be able to spot some impressive control survey equipment in the Bridge Climb offices. And of course, the famous Surveyor General pub in Berrima features photographs of the state’s roster of surveyor generals.
Discover more about surveying
Surveying’s past is hugely interesting, and so is its future. To find out if you want to be a part of that future, read up on surveying jobs here.