THE PORT PHILLIP DISTRICT OF NEW SOUTH WALES
AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE OF VICTORIA

* * * ( Part 3 ) * * *

THE BORDER BETWEEN VICTORIA AND SOUTH AUSTRALIA

I remember reading, 20 or 30 years ago in "Encyclopeadia Britannica," that international decisions as to boundaries between states or territories have been basically determined not by where the boundary is supposed to be but rather where it actually is.

Any good map will indicate that the eastern boundary of South Australia is not a straight line. It will show a 'step' to the west at the Murray River as one follows the map from north to south.

After consulting Wikipedia it seems that the Privy Council finally resolved the location of the western boundary of Victoria in 1914 by basically using those principles.

Of course there were other extenuating factors including the alienation of Crown lands by the Victorian Government in the years up to that time such that about 50% of the land in such strip (known as "The Disputed Territory") was held in private hands.

There was misplacement in the range of about 3.5 kms in the location or 141st meridian of longitude, the intended border between the states. This was primarily due to the initial determination of the starting point at the coast for the meridian was made with inferior equipment.

The work of extending the line of the meridian to the Murray River was conducted through particularly trying conditions, such as lack of water, sandy desert, stock deaths - all capped off with a mutiny by staff members. The 2 surveyors involved both died at early ages, the physical efforts of the work being attributed thereto.

The Privy Council determination did require Victoria to pay South Australia 215,000, far less than sought by South Australia over the years.

One small sideline to the long lasting uncertainty was that when building the railway from Melbourne to Adelaide the station at Serviceton was constructed within Victoria, presumably upon the 141st meridian, and such was used for the changeover point for railway staff on trains travelling interstate.

The boundary has been resurveyed in recent years and historical marker/s placed as in the case of the Black - Allen line.

Various articles can be accessed on the Internet for those desirous of greater details.

THE PART OF THE NORTHERN BOUNDARY OF VICTORIA TO THE WEST OF THE NEW SOUTH WALES - SOUTH AUSTRALIA BORDER.

As discussed the production of the New South Wales - South Australian border across the Murray River falls to the east of the western boundary of Victoria.

For the section of the Murray River being the border between Victoria and South Australia we are indebted to "Survey Practice Handbook Victoria Part 3 - Land Surveying Law and Administration."[1] :- "The Solicitor-General in 1974 commented that common law would probably apply and on that basis the State boundary would be the centre thread of the River Murray as at 1842 and would not follow the southern bank."

Sources:

[1] "Survey Practice Handbook Victoria Part 3 - Land Surveying Law and Administration" - Published by Surveyors Board, Victoria 1989.

( Contributed by Kevin Bourne - PPPG Member No. 1351 )

Part 1

Part 2

Part 4


List of Newsletter Articles  |  Back to Home Page