Culture Victoria

University of Melbourne, Surveying and Geomatic Engineering Collection

Engineering Building 174C, University of Melbourne PARKVILLE Phone: (03) 8344 4431 Visit Website

The Surveying and Geomatic Engineering Collection is in the Geomatics area of the Melbourne School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

Our Collection

The Collection includes examples of each type of instrument used for astronomical, angular and distance measurement, together with instruments for the computation, plotting and presentation of the survey data, during the entire period of European occupation of Victoria. There are examples of distance measuring equipment ranging from the 100-link Gunter's chain, through the long steel band (reputedly developed in Australia using wire from the crinoline skirt of a surveyor's wife) to various electronic distance measurers using microwaves and infra-red light waves. Examples of instruments used in nineteenth-century astronomical observations are included. The comprehensive collection of theodolites includes the standard brass Troughton and Simms theodolite of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as a mining version of this theodolite with an auxiliary telescope. Both mechanical and optical micrometer theodolites are represented as well as a very early Wild T2 instrument, which incorporated the earliest version of a graduated glass circle. A wide variety of levels is displayed including a Watt's instrument with a parallel plate micrometer for precision levelling. Two of the more unusual instruments incorporate pools of mercury to create an artificial horizon, one for astronomical observations, the other a zenith plummet to define a truly vertical line. Detailed information on selected items can be viewed at

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