Mapping & surveying

Queensland Surveyor Thor Hjelm Jensen and team Queensland Surveyor Thor Hjelm Jensen and team, about 1910. (Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying, acc. No. C 26, courtesy of Miss T. Jensen) Staff Surveyor Robert McDowall reading angles on the Darling Downs Staff Surveyor Robert McDowall reading angles on the Darling Downs for the trigonometrical survey of Queensland, about 1885. (Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying, acc. No. I 119) Surveying the Cairns-Herberton Railway, 1888.Surveying the Cairns-Herberton Railway, 1888. Surveyors are taking levels in Herberton. (Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying, acc. No. PE 1428, courtesy of Mrs M. Stephenson)Captain Thomas Vance’s party at a trig station in south-east QueenslandCaptain Thomas Vance’s party at a trig station in south-east Queensland, 1920s. Beneath the beacon is a plane table. (Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying, acc. No. SC 570, courtesy of Mrs G. Vance)Loaded buck board at Queensland Surveyor H.G.G. Blakeney’s camp about 1928.Loaded buck board at Queensland Surveyor H.G.G. Blakeney’s camp about 1928. (Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying, acc. No. T 280, courtesy of Mr P. Rea)Queensland-New South Wales border tree Queensland-New South Wales border tree near Stanthorpe marked by Surveyor F.E. Roberts. (Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying, acc. No. SM 355) Surveyor J.R. Atkinson working in the Cressbrook area Surveyor J.R. Atkinson working in the Cressbrook area, 1908. (Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying, acc. No. PE 135)

Mapping and Surveying worldwide has a rich history and dates back to the earliest times. These activities have been of critical importance to the planning and development of Queensland since colonisation.

In Queensland, European land surveying began in 1839. The first surveyors arrived at Moreton Bay, then part of the colony of New South Wales, to prepare for the opening the district to free settlement. These surveyors were Dixon, Stapylton and Warner. They arrived in May of 1839 and began carrying out surveys for the town of Brisbane and surrounding areas.

Surveying Queensland

In a newly colonised district such as Moreton Bay, where there were no previous surveys of the land, the surveyors initially spent considerable time on feature surveys. This was to locate the rivers, creeks and ranges, some of which would later become the boundaries of runs, parishes and counties. Surveys establishing property boundaries followed. In Queensland the sequence of pastoral settlement evolved from the south-east corner of the colony in 1842 until the whole of the colony was divided into pastoral districts by 1873.

Survey plans were drawn from surveys undertaken by Queensland surveyors. These survey plans in turn, were used to create cadastral maps.

Maps

Cadastral maps are maps that show boundaries and subdivisions of land and sometimes also tenure and ownership. A number of series of cadastral maps were drawn over Queensland and included Pastoral District maps drawn from the 1860s to early 1900s, county maps drawn along the coast, 4 Mile series, and 2 Mile series. Over time these maps were revised to add any changes. As settlement grew, subdivisions increased, and more detailed maps were required. Parish and town map series were the result.

Other types of maps drawn over Queensland include:

  • Topographic maps show the contours and natural features of an area as well as constructed features in the shapes of towns, roads, railways, bridges, telegraph and power lines, etc. The first were drawn in the 1880s over the coastal area of Brisbane to help plan for the perceived threat from Russia. The army realised the importance of this type of mapping during World War I, and between the1920s and the early 1930s created topographic maps of the south east corner of Queensland. The next major push for this type of map came during World War II.
  • Orthophoto maps are a more recent development. These are maps that are based on an aerial photograph image transformed using a ‘orthophoto verification’ process to remove distortions. Additional information, for example contours, are added to create the map.
    Mapping and surveying in Queensland has played and continues to play a major role, underpinning planning, development and growth.

You may also be interested in the Museum of Lands Mapping and Surveying.

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