View in the catalogue The Pictures collection includes material in a wide variety of formats which document significant people, places and events in Australian history and society and to some extent, the activities of Australians overseas, especially in Antarctica and Papua New Guinea. Comprising photographs, prints, drawings, watercolours, cartoons, miniatures, paintings, architectural plans, objects and sculpture, the collection documents the lives of past and present Australians, and the communities and landscapes they inhabit. People seeking historical images of Australian towns and landscapes, portraits of public figures, images of colonial life, early illustrations of Australian flora and fauna, political cartoons or contemporary photographs of popular culture and current events, will find the collection invaluable.
Of German descent, the son of one of the diplomatic staff of the Hessian legation in London, Alt had served as a distinguished British soldier Old town embark in australia essay his career and, having some experience of building roads in Scotland inwas appointed by Governor Phillip to one of the key official posts to be filled in the new colony.
When the Fleet landed with its cargo of convicts and military men, the only two known places in the distant continent described by James Cook and Joseph Banks were Botany Bay and the Endeavour River: Governor Arthur Phillip carried the authority from the Colonial Office to assign land grants, but in the absence of free settlers or emancipists able to rent lands in the immediate months of settlement, the task of land survey and assessment was quiescent.
Augustus Alt was in his late fifties when he accepted the post of Surveyor-General and, reduced by ill health byPhillip employed the astronomer, Lieutenant William Dawes, and the master of convicts, David Burton, to conduct the business of surveying settler farms.
The youthful Dawes, skilled in cartography and map making, claimed the laying out of Sydney and Parramatta and the government farm at Sydney as his work.
Stationed initially on the Hawkesbury River, Grimes proved an energetic officer. During he was engaged in surveys at Concord, the Field of Mars, Prospect, Parramatta, Toongabbie, Hacking River, and Portland Place, and drew up a general plan of all the settlements and names and locations in the colony.
Granted leave to take official documents to Britain inGrimes was absent from Australia until when he made another comprehensive map of the settlements of New South Wales.
Initially, surveying in early Australia was essentially about land settlement, the measuring of land grants and land sales, and keeping the records of a moving frontier. One, however, James Meehanborn in Ireland and transported for his part in the Irish rebellion, was assigned as a servant to Charles Grimes.
Fixing the boundaries of land grants and registering the thrust of land settlement, Meehan contributed to the mapping of the colony with a notable map of Sydney in After John Oxley assumed the position of Surveyor-General inGovernor Macquarie appointed Meehan deputy-surveyor of lands and, inadded to his tasks, collector of quitrents tax imposed on freehold or leased land and superintendent of roads, bridges and streets.
Meehan resigned his posts in Evans left the service in The arrival of John Oxley as Surveyor-General in brought a distinctive player to the field. Returning to England inhe was commissioned lieutenant and returned to Australia in After six months of hazardous journeying down the coast, he reached Newcastle in November In he explored Moreton Bay and the Brisbane River and recommended that another penal settlement be established there.
Oxley developed strong pastoral and cultural interests in Australia. In he was one of the first four members of the Legislative Council, a member of the early Philosophical Society under Governor Brisbane and, for a time, director of the Bank of New South Wales.
But his handling of financial interests reflected a negative aspect of his character and endeavours and he died, aged 42, in severe debt and ill health in May The long absence of senior men on journeys of exploration had left the registration and marking of land sales in chaotic arrears while departmental administration — with its assigned convict workers often taking bribes for settling land sales — was seriously malfunctioning.
The question of new and upgraded equipment was also urgent.
First developed init was a chain totalling 66 feet Along its 66 feet it had links marked by a brass ring every ten links that enabled ten square chains to measure one acre. It was not until that a Ramsden 10 feet rod arrived in New South Wales and was applied to standardise the chains used for measurement.
By locating magnetic north, a parcel of land could be aligned along its boundaries.
The plane table, with a sight rule to hand for marking off natural or man-made features, was also a simple and reliable measuring tool for opening up virgin territory. Equipment, however, was a continuing problem. As Oxley complained, three years could pass between ordering and receiving equipment.
In addition, the instruments built to British specifications, were often unsuitable for the mountainous terrain and rough work demanded in the colony.
Two theodolites had at last arrived in but, with Oxley away from work through illness, they were not put to use. The advent of Major Thomas Livingstone Mitchell in Sydney as Deputy-Surveyor in was to transform the department and the profession of surveying in Australia.Ski resorts like Aspen and Park City may be the popular choice, but for low-key, charm-packed alternatives, try these Old West mountain towns.
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