VPRS 8168 Surveyor General’s Department, Port Phillip Branch; P2 Unit 1707, GEOGEN2; Melbourne and the River Glenelg [map]; Tyers & Townsend.Contributors
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Much of the early exploration of Victoria took place with Aboriginal help. Surveying and geological research relied on Aboriginal guidance and knowledge, particularly to travel along and across rivers.
Of those surveyors needing to cross to Western Victoria in 1840, Charles Sievwright wrote how:
“where from the state of the roads and rivers, I got them [Wadawurrung guides] to render, essential service to settlers and travellers, whose provisions must have been lost, and progress stopped but for their timely aid. The servants of Mr Murray at Colac, and the Surveyors who were proceeding to Portland Bay, can bear testimony to the skill and safety with which their provisions and equipment were transported across the Nar-ra-hil [Moorabool River], in a bark canoe, when without such assistance they must have remained some weeks upon its banks ere the river subsided. “
It is likely that the “Surveyors” referred to in this extract were Charles Tyers and Thomas Townsend, who crossed Victoria between Portland Bay and Port Phillip Bay in 1839-1840.
This rare map of Tyer’s and Townsend’s surveying journey, held by the Public Record Office Victoria, shows rivers, mountains and geological and geographic features. The insets show the area around Geelong, which was the territory of the Wadawarrung (Wathaurung) speaking peoples, and the area around the Grampians-Gariwerd region, which was the territory of the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali speaking peoples.
 C. Sievwright, 1 June 1840, in R. Wrench & M.Lakic (eds), Through Their Eyes (Melbourne: Museum of Victoria, 1994) p. 129.