FIG Working Week 2000, 21-26 May, Prague

The Turner Survey Post - A Mystery Solved

by Alan J. Middleton

Key words: Historical, surveying, research, field investigation,…


1. Introduction

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.

2. Research

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.

5. Conclusion

Sets out the results of the research and field investigation and reaches conclusions on research into historical surveying activities.

Alan J Middleton
Senior Surveyor
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
State Government Offices
402 – 406 Mair Street
Ballarat 3350

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