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the survey regularly forward, embracing all the available land in its progress. On an average the division of the land in South Australia into sections containing generally about 80 acres each, cost*, including the marking out the roads surrounding the different blocks, to which each section had access, as well as all other roads through the settled districts, the close picketing of the boundary lines of each section, and marking and trenching the corner posts, with all other details relative to the survey of such portions of the natural features of the ground as came within the limits of the chain survey, from 3d. to 4d. per acre; and each party, consisting of a non-commissioned officer of Sappers, with four or five labourers, according to the difficulties of the country, marked out on an average, perhaps, about 30,000+ acres per annum; a very large proportion of their time, particularly towards the close of the work, being occupied in moving from one distant part of the colony to another to meet the varying demands for land.
The triangulation of the settled parts of the province, and in some directions far beyond this, did not amount to įd. per acre; including, as did also the average of the sectional survey, all expenses of transport of men, provisions, and camp equipage, with the wear and tear of the latter; and that of the necessary instruments; in fact, all expenses excepting those connected with the central establishment, where the plans were drawn and exhibited, and where the preliminary business of the land sales was conducted.
Even had this cost been doubled, or increased in a still greater proportion, it would have been false economy to have shrunk from it, and have put the settlers in possession, or rather to have allowed them to take possession, of land the boundaries and contents of which could not have been relied upon, or subsequently verified. The expense of the surveys in all new colonies is now defrayed out of the proceeds of the sales of land; and proof of the recognition of the advantages of the accurate delineation of the boundaries of property, features of the ground, and main lines of
* This average has no reference to the first settlement of the province in 1838; it applies more particularly to the period between the years 1842 and 1848 inclusive.
+ Occasionally, under favourable circumstances, three times this average was produced for limited periods.
roads, &c., is given by the system adopted by the New Zealand Association, in the establishment of the “Canterbury Settlement, of charging for all land the uniform price of 31. per acre* (instead of the 1l. fixed as the lowest upset price in the other Australian colonies, where the plan of selling land by auction is in force), to provide funds for a superior nature of survey, and a variety of works of a public character; the proportions being, 10s. per acre as the price of the waste land; 10s. per acre for the cost of the surveys, formation of roads, and other miscellaneous expenditure; 20s. per acre to be devoted to the purposes of emigration; and another 20s. per acre to ecclesiastical and educational purposes.
The boundaries of what in the Australian colonies are termed Runs,” for depasturing sheep and cattle, are not generally marked out during the survey, but are described by reference to the trigonometrical stations, and other known fixed points ; the approximate distances and bearings of the lines being stated. As portions of this land are at all times liable to be purchased by individuals after a due stipulated notice to the occupier of the run, who pays yearly a trifling sum for his licence, it would of course be a waste of labour to mark out such temporary divisions; but the settlers themselves very frequently define their respective limits, either by blazing the trees in a wooded country, or by running a plough line across it in an open one.
As regards the interior division of a colony into Counties, &c., the following general regulations, established many years since, are still in use :Counties are to contain, as nearly as may be, 40 miles square;
; hundreds, 100 square miles; and parishes, 25 square miles.
Natural divisions, such as rivers, streams, highlands, &c., to constitute as much as possible these boundaries; and, for the purpose of obtaining a well-defined natural boundary, a smaller or greater quantity than the above averages is permitted; but not to exceed or fall short of such established areas by more than one-third of each.
Formerly land used to be sold in South Australia at the uniform fixed price of 1l. per
The system of selling by auction was introduced by the Australian Waste Land's Act in the year 1843. There are various opinions as to the comparative merits of these opposite systems, the first of which was introduced by Mr. E. G. Wakefield; and its advantages are strongly set forth in the pamphlet upon Colonial Surveying, recently published by his brother, Mr. F. Wakefield.
Reserves are allowed to be made for all necessary public roads and other internal communications, either by land or water; also for the sites of towns, villages, school-houses, churches, and other purposes of public utility and convenience.
When the division between Provinces or Counties, or other lines of territorial demarcation, is represented, either altogether or in part, by a meridian line; or a line having any fixed angle with the meridian; or by a portion of the arc of a parallel (as is the case in many of the Australian provinces); it is of course necessary to be
; able to determine and mark upon the ground with accuracy such meridian or parallel, directions for which are given in the last chapter on Practical Astronomy. Most useful practical information upon this subject will also be found in the narrative of the survey, and marking of the boundary between the British possessions in North America and the United States of America, in 1842, published by Major Robinson, Royal Engineers, in the second and third volumes of the “Corps Papers.”
Operations of this nature, if conducted with the very great care and precision that were bestowed upon the boundary alluded to, involve the perfect knowledge of the manner of using and adjusting the transit, and altitude and azimuth instruments; and also the management of chronometers. The boundary line between South Australia and what now constitutes the province of Victoria, (the 141st degree of east longitude) was however determined (and since marked on the ground for a considerable distance,) under the New South Wales Government, by one of their surveyors *, with only a sextant, a pocket chronometer, and a small 34-inch theodolite; but though the work was performed with the greatest care and attention, and with probably as great a degree of accuracy as could be obtained with these imperfect instruments; the result can of course only be looked upon as an approximation far too vague for the determination of a division of importance. The North American boundary, on the other hand, may perhaps have been defined with more precision than was absolutely necessary in a line of demarcation running for its whole length through a wild uncleared country.
* Mr. Tyers.
Having now gone through the method of dividing the land into minute sections for occupation, and its further division for territorial purposes; this chapter will conclude with a short reference to the objects to be held in view in conducting exploring expeditions beyond the bounds of the settled districts, for the purpose of adding to the geographical knowledge of the country and developing its resources; which objects are very similar in character to those described in page 3, when treating of the preliminary operations of a survey in a newly-formed colony.
The nature of the country to be traversed will, as far as this is known, indicate the method of travelling that must of necessity be adopted. Extensive inland water communication, as in the Canadas, points to the canoe as the readiest mode of transport; comparatively open and generally grassy land, as in Australia and Southern Africa, requires the use of horses and oxen; whilst in many other countries the thick underwood can, in parts, be traversed only on foot; and barren deserts by the aid of camels. These different modes of locomotion evidently all require different preliminary arrangements. The objects in view, however, are much the same in all cases * ; viz. a knowledge of the climate, soil, native population, geological formation, botanical character, of the country, and its resources of all kinds; as well as the delineation (as perfect as the time and means that are available will admit) of the natural features of the ground.
All points known as portions of the settled country being soon left behind, the explorer has to trust to his own judgment as to the best directions in which to conduct his party; to his own energy in overcoming the natural obstacles that he will be certain to encounter; and his own practical skill in fixing at proper intervals his
; different positions by means of astronomical observations, and mastering rapidly the general massive features of the ground for the purpose of making a rough sketch of the country passed over, showing more particularly the directions of the principal ranges of hills, and of rivers, and watercourses.
In a large party these labours may often be subdivided advantageously; but the leader must remember that the entire responsibility still rests with him; and if he does not actually participate in every portion of the work, he must nevertheless exert a general influence over the whole.
* Expeditions for one single definite object, such as tracing the sources of a river, &c., are not intended to be here referred to.
As regards the fixing, with as much accuracy as may be attainable, the various positions of encampments, the directions and sources of rivers, and all marked prominent features; much assistance is to be obtained by carrying on, as far as it can be done, a species of rough triangulation (with a sextant or other portable instrument), from the extreme trigonometrical stations, or any prominent landmarks the positions of which are known and represented on the plans. This may however very soon become impracticable from the nature of the country or other causes, and the traveller then finds himself much in the same predicament as at sea, having little beyond his dead reckoning to trust to for the delineation on paper of his day's work. In this position he must look to the heavens for his guide; and hence the necessity for his becoming himself, or having with him, a good and rapid observer.
At sea, the latitude is always obtained at noon by a meridian altitude of the sun* (when visible); "sights," as they term observations of single altitude for time, having been taken three or four hours before. The latitude obtained at noon is then reduced by dead reckoning to what it would have been at the time and place of the morning observation, (using the traverse table;) and with this deduced latitude the hour angle is computed t, and the equation of time, plus or minus, applied for the mean local time; which, when compared with the Greenwich time, shown by the chronometer, (allowing for its rate and error), gives the longitude east or west of Greenwich at the time of the morning observation.
By applying, by dead reckoning, the change in longitude between that time and noon, the longitude of the ship at noon is obtained,
the latitude has already been found by direct observation,—and the two determinations afford the means of recording upon the chart the position of the ship at noon on that day.
Somewhat similar to the above proceeding must be that of the
* For the method of calculating the latitude from a meridian altitude, see chapter xi. + See chapter xi.