Sir Thomas Mitchell’s Field Notes and Sketches (1828)

Cover of Sir Thomas Mitchell’s Field Notes and Sketches

New light is being shed on a set of early survey sketches of Newcastle by Sir Thomas Mitchell.  Final Year Civil, Surveying & Environmental Engineering Student Tim Chisholm has completed an analysis of Sir Thomas Mitchell’s 1828 survey notes and sketches of Newcastle. The full title of the report is Sir Thomas Mitchell’s Field Notes and Sketches: An in depth analysis of Sir Thomas Mitchell’s field notes and sketches from an 1828 survey of the harbor and surrounds of Newcastle, NSW, using modern adjustment methods to estimate the accuracy of his survey and instrument(s) and was completed under the supervision of Emeritus Professor John Fryer.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded as an 18 MB PDF file here: Sir Thomas Mitchell’s Field Notes and Sketches (2011)

Overlays using the 1830 plan of Newcastle by John Armstrong

Chisholm’s work builds upon the work of Chris Towers and Troy Sumner’s 2009 study of Mitchell’s Field Notes and Sketches. Their reports can be downloaded here  Sir Thomas Mitchell’s Angular Observations and Field-Note Sketches of Newcastle. [12.6 MB PDF file] [29 October 2009.] A summary by Chris Towers is available here: Summary of Report: Sir Thomas Mitchell’s Angular Observations and Field-Note Sketches of Newcastle [896KB PDF File]

Overlays of the 1830 Armstrong plan of Newcastle

To analyse Mitchell’s observations, a comparison study is done with John Armstrong’s 1830 Plan of the Township of Newcastle. From there the stations are identified and a site by site (point by point) investigation carried out on each feature in the survey.

Point ‘S’ on Signal Hill

Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell ( 1792-1855) became surveyor-general of New South Wales in 1828. In that same year he traveled through the Colony, and while in Newcastle he conducted a detailed survey. The original Field Books are held in the State Library of New South Wales and we were very excited when copies of the complete books were made available back in 2008. Since then two student projects have been conducted analysing Mitchell’s observations, and both have been very complementary regarding their quality and accuracy when compared with modern technological advances.



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