Sunday, April 15, 2012

The disputed country: Australia's lost border

Everyone now thinks they know where the border between Victoria and South Australia is but for many years the actual border was a contentious issue. The original plan was that the 141st east longitude was supposed to form the border but when the border was actually surveyed between 1847 and 1850 an error was made resulting in the surveyed border being approximately 3 kilometres to the west of the proposed border. Black Thursday bushfires in 1851 also added to the confusion by destroying many of the temporary markers. This book by Bob Dunn outlines the story of the disputed border and also provides the story of the vermin proof fence built in the 1880s to keep rabbits and foxes out of South Australia. This fence through the Mallee also failed to travel in a straight line with four right angles in what was supposed to be a straight fence. Eventually the border determined in the 1847-50 survey became the accepted border.

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