Taking Your Measure

Okay I’m a bit slow getting this one out but here’s last weeks dose of heritage for you.  The topic for today came from a customer’s query about the historical trig point on Mount Moriah.  Firstly let me explain what a trig point is. The point on top of Mount Moriah is actually called a Trignometrical Station, and these stations, usually place at the tops of hills that were cleared of trees to provide line of sight, were used by licensed surveyors when surveying large tracts of land. The Mount Moriah station was surveyed by Surveyor J.C. Burnett in 1848, and was one of the terminal stations used in the Jondaryan Base line from Mount Moriah to Mount Irving in 1884. Mount Moriah was originally called Mount Maria but has been referred to locally as Mount Moriah sin the 1870s.

James Charles Burnett (1815-1854), surveyor and explorer, born (presumably) in England.  In 1844 he became the head of the new Survey Office established at Brisbane. Burnett submitted reports which gave birth to Maryborough in 1847. In recognition of his work, Governor Sir Charles FitzRoy decreed that the large river be called the Burnett, whilst the Wide Bay River was named the Mary after Lady FitzRoy. He died aged 39 on 18 July 1854 in his home at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. According to the Moreton Bay Courier, 22 July, Burnett’s constitution decayed prematurely because of his enthusiastic and almost reckless devotion to the trying duties of his profession.

Image: Gunter's Chain Source: Doherty Smith

Image: Gunter’s Chain
Source: Doherty Smith

The Gunter’s chain was originally used in surveying land, however over time it was replaced with steel measuring tapes due to the inaccuracies created as the chain wore out. The chain is divided into 100 links, marked off into groups of 10 by brass rings which simplify intermediate measurement. Each link is 7.92 inches (20.12cm) long, with 10 links making slightly less than 6 feet 8 inches (203cm). The full length of the chain is 66 feet (2011.68cm).

In Australia, roads were almost always 1 chain (20.1 m) wide in urban areas, while in rural areas the roads were wider, up to 10 chains (201.2 m) where a stock route was required. 5 chains (100.6 m) roads were surveyed as major roads or highways between larger towns, 3 chains (60.4 m) roads between smaller localities, and 2 chains (40.2 m) roads were local roads in farming communities. An acre block was nominally the area within a rectangle 1 chain by 10 chains.

That’s all from me today, I’ll see what new old stuff I can dig up for later this week

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