Victoria. Department of Crown Lands and Survey. (1857-1983)

Also known as
Department of Crown Lands and Survey. (1857-1983)
State of Victoria. Victorian Department of Crown Lands and Survey. (1857-1983)
Victoria. Board of Land and Works.
Victoria. Crown Lands Dept.
Victoria. Crown Lands Dept. (1857-1983)
Victoria. Crown Lands Office.
Victoria. Crown Lands Office. (1857-1983)
Victoria. Department of Crown Lands and Survey.
Victoria. Department Of Crown Lands And Survey.
Victoria. Department Of Crown Lands And Survey. (1857-1983)
Victoria. Dept. of Crown Lands and Survey.
Victoria. Dept. of Lands and Survey.
Victoria. Dept of Crown Lands and Survey. (1857-1983)
Victoria. Dept of Lands and Survey. (1857-1983)
Victorian Department Of Crown Lands And Survey.
Victorian Department of Crown Lands and Survey. (1857-1983)
Victorian Department Of Crown Lands And Survey. (1857-1983)
Victorian Department of Crown Lands and Survey. State of Victoria. (1857-1983)
Function
Advisory or Regulatory Body; Surveying or Mapping; Government organisations
Libraries Australia
http://nla.gov.au/anbd.aut-an35064396
NLA Persistent Identifier
https://nla.gov.au/nla.party-464738

Biographies

The Department of Crown Lands and Survey was originally established in 1857 as part of the Board of Land and Works. In 1964 it ceased to be controlled by the Board. The Department functioned for almost twenty more years before being combined with other Ministries to form the Department of Conservation, Forests and Land.

View the full record at Encyclopedia of Australian Science

Dept. of Conservation, Forests and Lands was formed in 1983 by merger of Victoria's Forests Commission, Dept. of Crown Lands and Survey, and Ministry for Conservation. Land management functions apparently continued in new dept. by Division of Lands. Works by these bodies are found under the name used at the time of publication.

View the full record at Libraries Australia

The Department of Crown Lands and Survey was responsible for the administration of survey and mapping and the sale, occupation and management of crown land throughout its existence. The Department was also responsible for closer settlement, soldier settlement, assisted immigration, unemployment assistance, land tax, agriculture, state forests and nurseries, the destruction of vermin and noxious weeds, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the National Herbarium, cemeteries and briefly, for Aborigines.

Establishment

On the achievement of Responsible Government in Victoria in 1855, the Surveyor General became the Minister responsible for all matters concerning the administration of crown lands including survey, exploration, sale, occupation and use of public land. Previously these functions had been administered by the Surveyor General's Department (VA 2921) and the Crown Lands Department (VA 2878) which had been the responsibility of the Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands.

In 1857 the Board of Land and Works (VA 744) was established because it was considered that the administration of public lands and public works would be more effectually and economically managed if it were consolidated and placed under one head. By Letters Patent of 28 April 1857, the positions of Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey (previously Surveyor General) and Commissioner of Public Works were abolished and the powers previously exercised by the Commissioners were vested in the Board of Land and Works. The departments of the Civil Service previously under the Commissioners' control effectively became sub-departments of the Board. While there was clearly an intent to achieve consolidation, the extent to which the sub-departments were administratively integrated following the establishment of the Board in 1857 is uncertain and from late 1858 and the reappointment of a Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey and a Commissioner of Public Works, the sub-departments were clearly administratively separate.

Although a Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey had been reappointed to the Ministry in 1858, statutory authority for lands matters continued to be vested in the Board until its abolition in 1964. The Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey was President of the Board of Land and Works.

The Department of Crown Lands and Survey has been dated from the effective amalgamation of the Surveyor General's Department (VA 2921) and the Crown Lands Department (VA 2878) under the authority of the Board of Land and Works in 1857. The Department of Crown Lands and Survey remained a sub-department of the Board until its abolition in 1964. While legal and statutory authority was vested in the Board, the Department effectively exercised operational responsibility. From 1964 the Department of Crown Lands and Survey became a Department of State responsible to the Minister of Lands.

Responsibilities of the Department

The primary responsibilities of this Department were:

Survey and Mapping

The report of the Civil Service Commission of 1859/60, described the activities of the Field Branch of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey. District Surveyors (see VRG 27) were responsible for the supervision of surveys within their districts; for supplying the Surveyor General with information relating to land proposed for sale; for recommending an upset price for such land and for determining sites which should be reserved for public purposes. They were also responsible for providing the public with information about surveyed lands and for the compilation of maps which were to be available for inspection at district survey offices. They were responsible for the work of the field surveyors who marked out land into allotments ready for sale; laid out roads and lines of telegraph; marked out sites to be reserved for public purposes such as schools, churches and cemeteries; laid out carriage and footways in municipal districts; occasionally determined the boundaries of electoral districts and took levels for sections and contour lines for other Departments. Some field surveyors were also exclusively employed on the geodetic survey under the direction of R. Ellery.

Clerks and draughtsmen employed at district survey offices were responsible for the compilation of plans, the preparation of tracings and the sale of lithographic plans of land proposed for sale.

The report of the Civil Service Commission also noted problems that had been encountered with the employment of contract surveyors and recommended that only licensed surveyors be employed. It noted too, the difficulty experienced by the survey department in meeting public demand for surveys required prior to the lease or purchase of land. The Commission recommended that the general survey of land for sale should be separated from the topographical survey of Victoria and expressed concern that there were parts of Victoria, the topographical features and geological formation of which were utterly unknown. At this time one surveyor was employed as Superintendent of the Observatory. In 1870, responsibility for the Observatory was transferred to the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475).

By 1855, the Geological Survey had been associated with the administration of public lands and in 1857, following the establishment of the Board of Land and Works (VA 744), this arrangement continued. By 1858 however responsibility for the geological survey had been transferred to the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475) where it remained until 1861, despite the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission of 1859-60 that it be transferred to the department of the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey. In 1861 responsibility for the geological survey was assumed by the Commissioner of Mines (VRG 30) and the newly established Department of Mines (VA 2719).

In 1862 when the Department of Mines became the responsibility of the Postmaster General, responsibility for both mining and geological surveyors was transferred to the Department of Crown Lands and Survey. In 1864 responsibility for mining surveyors was returned to the Department of Mines (VA 2719) and in 1867 that Department again assumed responsibility for the geological survey.

In 1857 responsibility for the survey of proposed lines of railway was transferred to the Department from the Surveyor General's Department (VA 2921). In 1858 responsibility for this function was assumed by the Department of Railways (VA 2877).

In 1887 responsibility for the Draughting Branch (Land Titles) was transferred from the Department of Crown Lands and Survey to the Office of the Registrar General and Office of Titles (VA 862). This branch was responsible for the preparation and verification of plans associated with certificates of title and applications lodged under the Transfer of Land Statute.

The Department of Crown Lands and Survey continued to be responsible for all forms of survey including geodetic and trigonometric surveys which formed the basis of all subsequent cadastral (property) and topographic (mapping) surveys. The Department also conducted surveys for the Housing Commission. The Topographic Survey Programme was carried out in close liaison with Commonwealth, Civil and Army organisations in conformity with the decisions of the National Mapping Council.

With the passing of the Survey Co-Ordination Act in 1940, the Department became responsible for the co-ordination of all survey and mapping carried out by government departments and statutory authorities in the State of Victoria. This responsibility extended to the co-ordination of the survey activities of survey organisations, as far as that could be accomplished by co-operation and in accordance with the requirements of the Act. A survey network was established to facilitate the direct inter-relation of all surveys and mapping in one basic survey system and copies of certain plans were to be lodged with the Surveyor General who was required to maintain a Central Plan Register. The Department also established a Central Plan Office from which copies of maps and plans and subsequently aerial photographs could be purchased.

By 1982, just prior to the establishment of the Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands (VA 1034), the Division of Survey and Mapping (VA 3021) was responsible for undertaking surveys and primary mapping for Departments, statutory and land authorities; the co-ordination of survey and mapping activities and the registration of plans with the Central Plan Office and the maintenance of the geodetic survey comprising co-ordinated ground marks for the control of survey, mapping and scientific activities. The Division also conducted cadastral surveys to establish property boundaries and maintained parish plans. It was responsible for state aerial photography, the sale of maps and photographs and the operation of the Central Microfilm Bureau. The Division also provided administrative support to the Surveyors Board and the Place Names Committee.

Sale, Occupation and Management of Crown Lands

Administration of crown lands including provision for their alienation and occupation and the provision and management of reserves was a major responsibility of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey from its establishment. The administration of this function has also been undertaken by a succession of local land authorities including Commissioners of Crown Lands, District Surveyors, Land Officers, Bailiffs of Crown Lands, Local Land Boards and District Land Offices. Information about the operations of these authorities which were responsible to the central Department of Crown Lands and Survey may be found in VRG 27, District Land Offices.

By 1859, responsibility for this function entailed making recommendations to the Board of Land and Works concerning the sale of crown lands by auction; conduct of land sales; granting of sites as reserves for public purposes such as schools, churches and cemeteries and for recreational purposes; issue of Deeds of Grant for lands sold and for reserves; consideration of applications for occupation licences, tenders for pastoral runs, applications for permission to exercise a pre-emptive right to purchase part of a pastoral run; collection of licence fees and revenue from the sale of land and prevention of unauthorised occupation of crown lands.

The Land Acts of 1860, 1862, 1865 and 1869 provided for the sale of crown lands and for the occupation of land for a variety of agricultural and pastoral purposes. Applicants were able to select land and apply for permission to occupy the land under the provisions of a variety of leases and licences, many of which subsequently afforded a right of purchase. The Department of Crown Lands and Survey was responsible for administering these and subsequent Land Acts.

The Department had also been responsible for the issue of mining leases for metals and minerals other than gold (subsequently known as mineral leases) and water right licences which authorised the construction and use of races, dams and reservoirs for mining purposes. In 1865 responsibility for these functions was transferred to the Department of Mines (VA 2719).

Although the provisions for alienation and tenure of crown land changed, the responsibilities of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey remained essentially the same. In summary it was responsible for the survey and subdivision of agricultural land; regulation of the alienation of crown land by auction and selection; settlement of disputes regarding alienation and occupation of crown land; issue of ... truncated

View the full record at Public Records Office Victoria

View the full record at University of Melbourne

View the full record at University of Melbourne

Related people and organisations

Encyclopedia of Australian Science

Libraries Australia

Resources for Victoria. Department of Crown Lands and Survey.

Selected resources (3)

Encyclopedia of Australian Science

  1. Victorian Department of Crown Lands and Survey
    Published: The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre
    Series: Encyclopedia of Australian Science
  2. 3.6.2 Land Branch c.1837-1855 Department of Crown Lands 1855-1857 Board of Land and Works 1857-1859 [VA 744] Department of Crown Lands and Survey, Board of Land and Works 1859-1964 Department of Crown Lands and Survey 1964-1983
    Public Record Office of Victoria
    Published: 1985
    Series: List of Holdings 1985: Public Record Office
  3. VA 538 Department of Crown Lands and Survey 1857-1983
    Published: Public Record Office Victoria, 2002
    Series: Public Record Office Victoria online catalogue

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  1. Victoria. Department of Crown Lands and Survey
    Government organisations
    ... Victorian Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands, State of Victoria (1983 - 1990) ... Victoria. Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands ... The Department of Crown Lands and Survey was originally established in 1857 as part of the Board of ... 1857. The Department of Crown Lands and Survey remained a sub-department of the Board until its ...
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  1. CROWN LANDS REGULATIONS.
    New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900) Saturday 29 May 1880 [Issue No.195 (SUPPLEMENT)] p 2535

    Government Gazette Proclamations And Legislation

    ... Department of Lands, Sydney, 28 May, 1880. OROWN LANDS REGULATIONS. rjlHB following Regulations ... carrying into effect the " Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1861," the " Crown Lands Occupation Act of 1861 ... 14443 words
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  2. CROWN LANDS REGULATIONS.
    New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900) Monday 3 June 1895 [Issue No.364 (SUPPLEMENT)] p 3511

    Government Gazette Proclamations And Legislation Illustrated

    ... Department of Lands, Sydney, 3rd June, 1895. GROWN LANDS REGULATIONS. "|~T is lierebv notified, for ... Council, has, in pursuance of the "Crown Lands Act of 188J," the "Crown Lands Act of 1839," and the ... 49270 words
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  3. SURVEY UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE 143RD SECTION OF THE CROWN LANDS ACT OF 1884.
    New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900) Friday 6 December 1889 [Issue No.641] p 8877

    Government Gazette Notices

    ... ("95201 Department of Lands, Sydney, 6fcli December, 1889. SURVEY UNDER THE PROVISIONS OP THE 143ed ... SECTION OF THE CROWN LANDS ACT OF 1884. ASUBViBY of parts of the boundaries of the undermentioned Pastoral ... 266 words
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  1. Yabba North / photomap prepared by ...
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    [ Photograph, Government publication, Map : 1972 ]
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    [ Photograph, Government publication, Map : 1971 ]
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  3. Tataila / photomap prepared by Depa ...
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    [ Photograph, Government publication, Map : 1971 ]
    Tataila / photomap prepared by Department of Crown Lands and Survey from photographs taken in January and February 1971
  4. Castle Donnington / photomap prepar ...
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    Castle Donnington / photomap prepared by Department of Crown Lands and Survey from photographs taken in January 1972
  5. Stockyard / photomap prepared by De ...
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    [ Photograph, Government publication, Map : 1975 ]
    Stockyard / photomap prepared by Department of Crown Lands and Survey from photographs taken in November 1970
  6. Bethanga Bridge / photomap prepared ...
    Victoria. Depar ...
    [ Photograph, Government publication, Map : 1974 ]
    Bethanga Bridge / photomap prepared by Department of Crown Lands and Survey from photographs taken in February 1971
  1. The history, functions and organization of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey, Victoria
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  2. Crown Lands and Survey review : Sale of Plans Office, subject: miscellaneous systems proposals / Public Service Board of Victoria, Management Services Division
    Victoria. Dept. of Crown Lands and Survey
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  3. Proceedings of Rabbit Control Symposium held in Melbourne, Victoria, 22nd-23rd September 1959, convened by the Vermin and Noxious Weeds Destruction Board, Department of Crown Lands and Survey
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  1. [Mount Gwynne / Berrigan]
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  3. Victoria : compiled and produced by the Cartographic Section, Mapping Division of the Dept. of Crown Lands and Survey
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