26 September 2023

Archives revives early history treasure

Start the conversation

History buffs will soon be able to view what is believed to be the earliest surviving Government record created in South Australia, after it was recently re-discovered in the archives of the Office of the Surveyor-General.

Archivist for State Records, Amy Vanner said the record, Field Book 73, was a field book by Assistant Surveyor, Boyle Travers Finniss who later became the first Premier of South Australia.

“It journals the first months after he arrived in South Australia in September 1836, as one of the first British settlers and part of the initial surveying team,” Ms Vanner said.

She said the 1836 field book was especially significant as few official documents from the early days of the South Australian colony remained.

“Field Book 73 is one of a number of historic documents identified as significant which are currently being transferred from the Office of the Surveyor-General to State Records,” Ms Vanner said.

“As of 1 March, 509 individual records have been transferred to State Records, of which about 350 are pre-1901.

“Another 2,000 pre-1901 records will be transferred in the coming weeks.”

The State Records’ Research Centre is open Tuesday to Thursday by appointment and people interested in viewing the original documents should contact State Records at this PS News link.

Scanned images of the surveyors’ field books are available free of charge from the South Australian Integrated Land Information System (SAILIS), which can be accessed at this link.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.