Charles James TYERS 1806-1870
1840 Newspaper Report of his 1839-40 Survey Expedition
Portland Bay District, Colony of N.S.W, Australia

"The Sydney Herald" (NSW) Thursday, 1st October 1840.

THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BOUNDARY.

The following account of Mr. Tyers's expedition to ascertain the exact position of the 141st degree of longitude, which forms the boundary between this Colony and South Australia, is so important to the community, and creditable to Mr. Tyers and the Survey department, that we have the great pleasure in laying it before the public.

REPORT.
The chief object of the Expedition, of which the following is a brief account, was to determine the exact position of the Boundary Line between New South Wales and South Australia. To effect this, three different methods were adopted, viz -- Triangulation from Melbourne, Chronometric measurement from Sydney, and Lunar observations near the Boundary. The results are given in the Appendix.

The instruments used for the purpose were,-- for Astronomical observations, an eight-inch sextant, by Troughton and Simms, and an artificial horison ; for Triangulation, a 3Ż inch theodolite, constructed on the plan of an altitude and azimuth instrument by Robinson : and, for detail work, a pocket sextant, on the principle of the largerone, by Troughton and Simms, a Kater's or prismatic compass, and a circumferenter.

Having ascertained the error and the rate of ................. September, 1839, in the Pyramus, and arrived at Melbourne, 1st October. After measuring the meridian distance from Sydney to Batman's Hill, and ascertaining the rate of chronometer, our party, consisting of myself, Mr. Townsend, assistant surveyor, seven convicts, and my private servant, with an equipment of a dray, nine bullocks, and two pack-horses, left Melbourne for Geelong, on the 8th, and arrived under Station Peak on the 14th.

On the following morning, we ascended Station Peak, (a granite formation of 962 feet elevation above the level of the Plains,) whence we obtained a round of angles, true bearings, and the latitude by circum-meridian altitudes of the Sun.

On the 16th, we arrived at the Moorabul, where we remained until the 19th. At this place we were visited by several Natives of the Geelong tribe ; one of whom, a boy named Tommy, agreed to accompany us to Portland Bay, in consideration of his receiving rations, and of his being allowed to ride occasionally. He spoke a little English, and was likely to be of use by the information he could give of this part of the country, and in tracking Cattle, &c.

On the evening of the 19th, we encamped on the west bank of the Nurriwillun, near a sheep station belonging to the Derwent Company.

On Monday the 21st, we left this station, and found neither wood nor water until we arrived at the Wa-dy-allac River on the evening of the 22nd.

On the 24th, we resumed our journey across the Plains, and arrived at a spring two and a half miles to the northward of Mount Elephant on the evening of the 25th, where we encamped.
On the 20th, I obtained a round of angles from the summit of Mount Elephant (687 feet above the Plains), and found the latitude to be 37░ 57' 45" S. nearly.

27th, Sunday--Proceed in the direction of Mount Shadwell, near which we encamped on the evening of the 28th. On the 29th, I obtained a round of angles, &c, from the summit of this Mount (an elevation above the plains of 667 feet)

30th. A M.--This morning the ground was covered with hoar frost. Resumed our journey to Mount Rouse, and encamped near a spring of excellent water, flowing through a scrub of Melaleuca, 1889 yards N. 27 ░ W. of it, on the 2nd November. From the summit of Mount Rouse, a height of 525 feet above the Plains, I fixed several points of the Grampians, &c., angles to which had been taken from Mounts Elephant and Shadwell, and which, from their great elevation and well defined peaks, are of some importance in the survey.

3rd November, A. M.--Resumed our journey in hopes of finding a passage between the great swamp (mentioned by Sir Thomas Mitchell) and Mount Napier, or, should that be found impracticable, to the southward of Mount Napier, heading the numerous swamps, the waters of which run into the long swamp. When, having discovered that we were hemmed in on all sides by swamps and stoney ranges, we reluctantly returned to our old encampment under Mount Rouse, where we arrived in the afternoon of the 5th. From a small hill two miles to the northward of Mount Rouse, we perceived, extending from N. W. to the eastward of South, distant from one to six miles, innumerable swampy flats, all trending towards the great swamp. The only opening appeared between North and N. E.

On the morning of the 6th we proceeded about ten miles, in the northerly direction, towards Mount Abrupt, then altered our course to west ; by which we skirted Lake Linlithgow, and avoided the swamps.
Encamped on the Grange Burn, near the Messrs. Wedge's station on the evening of the 7th, having experienced a heavy thunder storm, accompanied with rain and hail.

November 8th, after crossing an arm of the Grange Burn, we proceeded S. W., and afterwards west, through a thick forest intersected by numerous swamps, and arrived at Mr. Henty's road (leading from his station on the Wannon to Portland Bay) on the 11th.

We followed this road, crossing the Rivers Crawford, Fitzroy, and Surry, (obtaining angles and true bearings from Mount Eckersley) and arrived at Portland Bay on the evening of the 14th.

The approximate longitude of Mr. Henty's Flag Staff, (mean of Pyramus' chronometer, Mr. Assistant Surveyor Townsend's chain survey from Geelong, and the trigonometrical survey from Melbourne, worked up roughly) is 141░ 35' 52" E.

On the 11th of December, having completed the survey of Portland Bay by land, and ascertained the error and rate of the chronometer, we proceeded towards the Glenelg, fixing daily the position of the camp, by latitude and meridian distance from Portland Bay both by chronometer and Mr. Townsend's chain work reduced.

The following meridian distances of the place of encampment, by chain and chronometer;--
Chronomoter Chains Difference,
13th December 13 27 13 32 0 5
15th December 26 13 26 4 0 9
16th December 35 46 36 7 +0 21

On the 16th we arrived at the Basin of the Glenelg. As the position of the 141st degree of longitude could not be correctly determined until the completion of the trigonometrical survey, and the measurement from hence to Melbourne by chronometer, combined with some astronomical observations which I hoped to make at Portland Bay, I did not anticipate a nearer approximation than a mile, but by ascertaining subsequently the exact longitude of this approximate meridian, I apprehend no difficulty in fixing the true one, by means of the chain and circumferenter, the variation of the compass here not being affected by local causes.

Under the circumstances we commenced measuring a true north line from the spot found to be 35' 52" of longitude west of Portland Bay by Mr Townsend's chain measurement.

From the sea coast it passes ten chains west of a high sandy hillock, (the south and west sides of which are quite bare) over one of the same range not quite so high, (on this we made a hole one foot deep and three long in the shape of a broad arrow, which we filled with limestone) through a hollow then over another hillock, not so high as either of the former. It then passes through a scrub (Melaleuca) a chain and a half wide, divides the basin nearly into two equal parts, and passes a little to the eastward of the west point of the inner entrance of the Glenelg (or its entrance from the basin) and through a bush on the opposite bank, under which we drove a peg, and marked a tree behind it.

(There being no wood of any kind growing near this line, from the beach to the swamp, recourse was had to filling up with limestone, at nearly every chain's length, holes of one foot and a half long, by one foot broad, placing a peg by the side of each.)

It then continues three miles seventy-three chains and ninety links through a thick forest, when it cuts the Glenelg nearly at right angles.

From a sand hill two hundred yards east of the marked line, I obtained angles and the bearings to Bridgewater hill, Richmond hill, on Mount Kincaid, by which I was enabled to connect the trigonometrical survey thus far.
Having obtained three lunar observations (which gave the longitude of the camp 141░ 3' 8"), determined the rate of the chronometer, and surveyed the lowest part of the Glenelg, we commenced our return to Portland Bay, at noon on the 20th, and arrived at our old encampment on the 20th.

During the month of January and early part of February, we laid out part of the township at Portland Bay, consisting of one hundred and sixty half-acre allotments, made a marine survey of the west coast of the bay--and obtained ten sets, each containing from ten to twenty sights, of circummeridian altitude of stars for the determination of the latitude, and upwards of twenty sets of lunar observations, (each containing ten sights) for the determination of the longitude of the observatory. Mr Townsend had also made a chain survey of the coast as far as Port Fairey, by the 15th February, when we commenced our return to Melbourne, and arrived at the Messrs. Wedge's station on the 16th, p. m., where we encamped.

To complete our triangulation it was necessary that we should return hence by the Grampians, and the Boninyon and Tuckerimbid ranges, which form important points in the survey.
February 21st, continued our journey along the Messrs. Wedge's road for sixteen miles, and encamped on the bank of the Wannon under Mount Sturgeon.

February 22nd, from the summit of Mount Sturgeon, (which has an elevation of 1070 feet), I obtained a round of angles to all the principal points in the survey, within sixty miles, and a true bearing to Mount Eckersley, the other extremity of the base. The latitude of this station is 37░ 38' 21" S.

23rd ; we encamped on a branch of the Hopkins ; 24th, on the bank of Lake Boloke ; on the 25th, on the Pooridgh-y-jalla river ; and on the 26th on the Caranbulac, about a quarter of a mile to the northward of Mr Urquhart's station. We here met a native black named Dalley, who gave us the names of most of the hills, rivers, &c, in this part of the country.

February 27th, accompanied by Billy and the Geelong black Tommy, we ascended Mount Observation, from the summit of which I obtained a round of angles to some of the principal stations.
Between Mounts Shadwell and Rouse, the land, generally good, is intersected by four creeks, probably branches of the Hopkins.

The prevailing timber consists of banksiŠ, casuarina, eucalyptus, exocarpus cupressiformis, and light wood (of the settlers.)

Between Mounts Rouse and Napier is some fine country, but the greater portion consists of swamps ; Mount Rouse is of trap formation ; the soil in its neighbourhood is good.

An open forest of stunted banksiŠ extends six miles to the northward of Mount Rouse. Open downs, for two or three miles in width, divide this from an open forest (chiefly of eucalypti) extending some distance east and west of Mount Sturgeon, the soil being pretty good.

The Grange Burn takes its rise eleven miles W. S. W. of Mount Sturgeon, the waters of which flow to the westward about thirty miles, and then join the Wannon.

The country about this river has a park-like appearance ; the soil is black and rich, several feet deep on a sub-soil of clay. The pasturage is of the finest description.

This fine country, I was informed by Mr. Stephen Henty, of Portland Bay, extends at least fifty miles, and is watered by the Grange Burn, Wannon, Glenelg, and their tributaries.

The superiority of the herbage of this country over that of any other part of New South Wales, is proved by the fact that one acre here is capable of feeding a sheep ; whereas in New South Wales the average is said to be three acres.

Between the Grange Burn and Portland Bay are thick forests of eucalypti, casuarina; strictŠ, casuarinŠ, torulosŠ, mimosŠ, exocarri cupressi-formes, light wood of the settlers, and here and there amyrtus Australis, intersected with swamps and heaths.

With the exception of narrow strips along the rivers Crawford and Fitzroy, and in the neighbourhood of Mount Eckersley, we saw no good land.

The country near the coast, from Port Fairey to the mouth of the Glenelg, is generally poor.
Four miles north of Cape Bridgewater is a series of fresh water lakes, extending between two and three miles to the northward, divided from the sea by a narrow chain of sand hills.

Not far from the east banks of these lakes are several natural excavations, some of them are forty or fifty feet in height, and, perhaps, of nearly equal breadth. These do not extend inwards above twenty or thirty feet. The floor is nearly flat, covered with stalagmite, and their ceilings incrusted with stalactite formations, which are still in progress.

The whole of this coast, as far as the Glenelg, is bounded by bare sand hills. These hills are daily encroaching on the land and increasing in height, as may be ascertained by the most superficial observation of their destructive effects on the neighbouring forest ; many of the trees, some dying and some dead, appearing only just above the surface, which itself is so loose as almost to preclude walking over it, and without a particle of vegetation. These are evidently thrown up from the coast by the strong south-westerly gales.

Within the sand hills, and extending to the Glenelg basin, is a series of swamps and fresh water lakes, in width about half a mile. Beyond these, again, the country is thickly timbered, and appears to afford good pasturage.
(To be continued.)





"The Sydney Herald" (NSW) Tuesday, 6th October 1840.

THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BOUNDARY.

The following account of Mr. Tyers's expedition to ascertain the exact position of the 141st degree of longitude, which forms the boundary between this Colony and South Australia, is so important to the community, and creditable to Mr. Tyers and the Survey department, that we have the great pleasure in laying it before the public.

REPORT. (Concluded)
The mouth of the River Glenelg can never be made available as a harbour ; for, independently of the heavy breakers on the bar, the accumulation of sand is sometimes so great between the east and west shores of the entrance as completely to separate the river from the sea. Besides, the basin through which it flows immediately before its entrance into the sea, has a depth of not more than two or three feet water.

The anchorage, too, if any, outside the river, would be dangerous at any time, from its exposure to the S.E. and S.W. gales, which blow on this coast with great violence.

Beyond the basin the river, appears to be of considerable depth ; but the banks chiefly limestone cliffs, for the most part, about one or two hundred feet high and steep, the water for several miles brackish, and the land indifferent, a mere sand, covered with thick scrub, vines, and forest.

Portland Bay, which is twenty-six miles from east to west, and ten from north to south, possesses good anchorage in four, five, and six fathoms (blue clay) on its western shores, but is open to the summer winds, which blow generally for three months in the year from the S. E. During a S. W. gale a swell sets in, causing a heavy surf on the beach. The soil about the proposed township is of the finest quality, but deteriorates towards the interior.

At nearly three miles to the westward of the bay is a small creek of very good water, which runs into a swamp, which again communicates with a basin nearly a mile in circumference and about three feet deep ; but from its being nearly on a level with high water mark, the sea constantly keeps the water brackish. However, at a trifling expense, a dam might be thrown across the creek, and the basin cleansed of the quantity of crang it now contains, by which means the whole township might be supplied with good water.

Fifteen miles to the eastward of Mount Sturgeon, and extending ten miles further east, is a range, called by the settlers, the Hopkins Tier, in which, I believe, the river bearing that name takes its rise. The water of the several branches is brackish. It is lightly timbered chiefly with eucalypti ; and the soil in some parts tolerably good. A plain extends upwards of thirty miles, between the Hopkins and Caranbalic, on which is very little timber. Between the rivers Caranbalac and Moorabul the country is hilly, well timbered, and contains portions of very fine land intersected by many streams of good water.

Between the rivers Moorabul and Glenelg are eight rivers flowing to the southwnrd, besides several which flow to the westward. Of the former are the Nurriwillun, or Lea of the settlers, which rises in the Boninyon range, and after a course nearly southerly for upwards of thirty miles, I believe, joins the Barwan.

The Wadyallac takes its rise somewhere to the S. W. of the Boninyon range, crosses the plain and appears to empty itself into Lake Carangamite. The lower part of this river is brackish.

The Caranbalac rises in the eastern part of the Pyrenees, and after winding its course about sixty miles, joins the Pooringh-y-jalla on the plains ; which, again, takes its rise on the westerly part of the Pyrenees, between thirty and forty miles to the northward of the junction ; flows through the plains (southerly) ; and, I believe, empties itself into the sea eighteen miles to the eastward of Port Fairey.

The next river to the westward is the Hopkins rising in the range called the Hopkins Tier ; and after a southerly course of fifty miles, discharges its waters into the sea two miles to the eastward of the Pooringh-y-jalla perhaps not exceeding twenty miles in length, have their sources among the numerous swamps to the northward of Portland Bay, into which they discharge themselves.

The Wannon rises in the Grampians, and, after flowing to the westward for upwards of forty miles, joins the Grange Burn. The collective waters of these rivers, I am informed, eventually flow into the Glenelg.

The Crawford rises about thirty miles to the northward of Portland Bay, and is also a tributary of the Glenelg.

There are, at least, fourteen lakes distributed over the plains, the most of which are salt.

The largest of them, Carangamite, a salt lake, is about thirty miles in circumference.

The next in size is, I believe, Colac, five or six miles S. W. of the former ; fresh but shallow. Lake Boloke, on the plain, nearly half way between the sources of the Hopkins and the Pooringh-y-jallah, is three miles in diameter, perfectly fresh but apparently shallow.

Nearly two miles N. W. from this lake are two smaller ones, which deposit a great quantity of excellent salt on their banks.

The greater part of Australia Felix, which we traversed, is evidently of igneous origin. Many of the hills are composed of trap, scoria, and very hard cellular ferruginous sand stone.

Between Mounts Rouse, Napier and Sturgeon, fragments of trap in great quantities protrude from the surface. Mount Rouse is composed almost entirely of trap, surrounded by numerous small ranges of the same rock.

Mounts Elephant and Nanime bear every appearance of their having been volcanoes ; the formation of both is that of a horse-shoe, open to the westward ; their interior sides sloping down almost to a level with their exterior bases. Their sides, particularly those of Nanime, are covered with a vast quantity of heavy scoriŠ, somewhat resembling the refuse of smelted iron.

Mount Napier is surrounded by sharp angular fragments of trap.

About seven miles E.N.E. of Nanime is a hill called by the natives Tuckerimbid, consisting of Syenitic granite, which, with Station Peak, are the only instances of primary formation we met with.

Mount Sturgeon, and perhaps the whole of the Grampians, consist of a fine ferruginous and stone, in which is imbedded a quantity of quartz, but between this and Mount Eckersley, the rocks are chiefly trap.

From Port Fairey to the River Glenelg the country is of limestone formation at these two places, being nearly pure. The cliffs of Portland Bay and its vicinity are composed of an arenaceous limestone (containing oysters, and the exuviť of other shell fish) ferruginous sand stone and trap. Over the lime stone is a red clay, and a red kind of pigment or ochre, used by the natives for painting their bodies.

I have seen some specimens of fine grained Syenite, brought from Mr. Henty's station on the Wannon. Half-way between Portland Bay and the Glenelg, on the S. E. side of a lake, are cliffs of a conglomerate, composed of quartz, trap, sand, and shells, about twenty feet high in horizontal laminŠ of an inch thick, with narrow vertical strata of pure lime.

Throughout the whole country traversed by our party, except where the formation was limestone or granite, the magnetic properties of the rock were so great as to render the needle almost useless as a surveying instrument ; in some cases the deviation of the pole from magnetic north was upwards of ten degrees.

The Appendix contains a table of variations ascertained during the expedition.

The most eligible situations for Townships in the Portland Bay district, I conceive to be on the Banks of the Grange Burn, where the Messrs. Wedge have a station, about seventy miles from the Bay by the present road ; on the River Crawford, nearly thirty miles; and on the River Fitzroy, fifteen miles.

On the banks of the Grange Burn the soil is excellent, the pasture good, with abundance of timber for fuel, and of water in all seasons. Besides which it is in the general route to Portland Bay and Adela´de, and will become an important point should the fine country to the westward, of which this is the commencement, be thrown open.

It being also on the route for runaway convicts from Melbourne to Adelaide, would be a good position for a police station.

The country about the River Crawford is good, with excellent water obtainable throughout the year, from two large water holes, one on each side of the road. The flat through which it runs, (about two hundred and twenty yards in width) affords excellent feed for cattle, but I should suppose, during the rains, it must be swampy. The banks on either side would answer well for a township ; but the south side I should recommend from its contiguity to the water. It is in the direct road, and situated nearly half-way between the good country about the Wannon, Glenelg, &c, and Portland Bay.

The land about the Fitzroy is fit for grazing or cultivation ; the water is good and plentiful throughout the year. It is also in the direct route to Portland Bay, and at a distance from that place very convenient for a township.



1842 : Appointed Commissioner of Crown Lands for Portland Bay
Government Gazette. TUESDAY, AUGUST 9, 1842.
His excellency the Governor has been pleased to appoint Mr. Charles James Tyers, assistant- surveyor, to be a commissioner of crown lands, in the colony of New South Wales, to act within the limits of the Portland Bay District.
"Australasian Chronicle" (Sydney, NSW) Thursday, 11th August 1842.


1843 : Surveyor : New Country 25 Miles from Portland Bay

NEW COUNTRY.--We gave information, last week, of the discovery that had been made of a tract of valuable country, by our indefatigable surveyor, J. Tyers, Esq., at a distance of not more an twenty-five miles from the township of Portland, and which possesses all the desirable characteristics of the most favored spots of Australia Felix. And indeed it may be questioned whether it does not only rival, but even excel the most fruitful and enchanting places of the most fruitful and beautiful parts of this delightful province. Its direction from the Bay is north-west, and the line of road that leads to it is of such a description, that makes travelling easy, and is, moreover, capable of being made permanently good, at a comparatively trifling cost.
The richest and most fruitful part of this country is perhaps of not much greater extent than nine miles long, by a width varying from one to four miles, and containing, according to the lowest estimation, thirty square miles. Its soil is of a rich black mould, and at no place, where its depth has been tried, is less than two feet. It is watered by the Glenelg and a river which, since its discovery by Mr. Tyers, has gone by the name of the New River. The Glenelg forms its western boundary, at which place the mean width of that river is about thirty yards, and varies in depth from eight to twelve feet. The New River bounds this tract of land on the north and north-east, by which, together with the waters of the Glenelg, the whole country is nearly surrounded ; and what is deserving of special notice is, that the New River runs the whole year, and the water, too, is of the very finest description. The grass every where, is represented as being so thick, and growing so luxuriantly, that it is with great difficulty a sight can be obtained of the soil ; but it is, nevertheless, so thinly wooded as scarcely to give the whole that picturesque appearance which is calculated to produce so much effect upon paper. Blackwood and wattle are the principal trees that are found growing there, and they do not average more than one tree to the acre.
It appears to be a favorite resort for the kangaroo, this animal being very numerous in that locality, and may commonly be seen in herds of thirty or forty at a time. It need scarcely be added that every description of wild fowl that is com mon to New South Wales, will be found where water is so abundant.
A country of this description is available for almost every purpose, and cannot but add considerably to the esteem in which the district is gradually and satisfactorily rising. For arable purposes, its rich deep soil is a sufficient guarantee that, on the British agriculturist's art being applied to draw forth its treasures, it will yield an ample compensation for the attention, capital and labour bestowed upon it, and also tend to enrich its fortunate possessers. For grazing purposes it is presumed that at once 15,000 or 20,000 sheep might be driven upon it, and several hundred head of cattle also added, the whole of which it is able conveniently to carry.
That the tract of country we have pointed, out will eventually, and perhaps at no distant day, become the site of a flourishing township, is a thought that need not be suggested to the mind of any who shall read this description; and what will point out to Government at once the necessity of making a reserve for this purpose is, that the country we have described lies contiguous to that fertile portion of the Glenelg, on its South Australian side, in the immediate vicinity of Mounts Gambier and Schanck, a description of which appeared some time ago in the Portland journals and other provincial publications. A township formed in that locality would be of most essential service to the district of Portland, and would unavoidably bring a large amount of trade to the town of Portland. We have not had sufficient information afforded us to enable us to determine where the exact site should be fixed for a township, but should a reserve be made by Government, they are safe as to the advice they will receive from Mr. Tyers on the point, by whom, no doubt, their decision will be regulated. One beautiful and picturesque spot, however, has been pointed out to us, situated on a gentle slope of a range of low hills, facing the north-east, and if otherwise eligible, we should think would be the most pleasantly situated for such a purpose.
"The Portland Guardian (Vic.) Saturday, 28th January 1843.


1843 : Appointed Commissioner of Crown Lands for Gipps' Land

PORTLAND.--J. C. TYERs, Esq.--Although it has been known for some time that this gentleman was about to leave Portland, yet his destination was not known here until Friday last, when he received by the overland mail an official notification of his appointment as Commissioner of Crown Lands at Gipps' Land.
"The Geelong Advertiser" (Vic.) Monday, 31st July 1843.



Daryl Povey

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