The Turner Survey Post - A Mystery Solved
by Alan J. Middleton
Key words: Historical, surveying, research, field
The story of an old iron survey post starts, or so it was thought,
in 1965, when it was uncovered by the author in a remote part of
Australia. Background to the discovery is given and then the narration
moves forward to 1999 when the same or similar post is located in the
Victorian Surveyor-General’s Office. It bears a statement that it
was placed in 1884 by ‘Authorised Surveyor’ Tom H Turner.
Very little is known of the Surveyor. Hence the mystery. The author
determines to solve it.
Research is undertaken in a variety of sources to trace the life of
Surveyor Turner. His career is determined from his birth in 1854 in
the goldfields to his death in Melbourne, 64 years later. Descendants
are located, one through an amazing co-incidence and family heirlooms
are found to be his instruments.
3. Survey Records
Records are found of the 1884 survey and other sources used to
chart its progress. The reasons behind the placement of iron survey
posts and the possible existence of several more posts on the site of
the survey are determined.
4. Field Investigation
An expedition is undertaken into the Big Desert region to search
for surviving iron posts.
Sets out the results of the research and field investigation and
reaches conclusions on research into historical surveying activities.
Alan J Middleton
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
State Government Offices
402 – 406 Mair Street