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I started to investigate his background only to discover that information about him was almost non-existent. My interest in him was heightened when I discovered that he had laid out many other settlements, including Ballarat and Castlemaine, and that Urquhart Bluff on the Great Ocean Road was named after him.
Fortunately the correspondence has been indexed so I was able to find a list of all entries relating to Urquhart. William Swan Urquhart's career surveying for the Victorian Government commenced in as an assistant surveyor and ended as a district surveyor.
He retired in and died in in East Melbourne. Much of his early work involved surveying county boundaries and his skills were quickly recognised by Superintendent La Trobe who referred to him in as 'a man of excellent character, diligent and able in the performance of his various branches of duty'.
As the district or senior surveyor of the central goldfields from mid, Urquhart undertook very important work directing the layout of agricultural lands, towns, roads and reserves in 47 government parishes.
Evidence of his career from to can be found throughout the survey map plans bearing his name, accessible on microfiche at Reserve bank of australia essay Record Office Victoria as part of VPRS Historic Plan Collection. These maps were prepared by other surveyors while working under Urquhart as assistant surveyors.
He first worked as a private surveyor for squatters in the Western District, then as a contract surveyor for the colonial government. In December he was appointed to the public service as an assistant surveyor, then in promoted to the position of surveyor.
In he is referred to in Melbourne Survey Office internal correspondence as the surveyor in charge of the Mt Alexander goldfield and the senior surveyor on the goldfields.
Urquhart was responsible for organising the surveying of township reserves, roads and agricultural lands, his assistant surveyors being responsible for carrying out the work.
In his duties increased when he was one of two district surveyors appointed by the government as a census enumerator.
In his duties further increased with his appointment as a Crown lands commissioner, then in as a Crown lands appraiser and collector of imposts.
He was assisted by a team of four labourers, a bullock driver and a tent keeper, acquiring an assistant only in The men were with him for eight months of each year, the other four months being spent drawing up his maps.
His surveying equipment consisted of theodolite and circumeter, 'and the ranges and creeks were carefully traversed and corrected by back sights and trig points and all lines carefully checked so that no errors could occur'. In he surveyed about 2, acres of rich agricultural lands into suitably sized lots for farms of 80 to acres each between Geelong and Point Richards; a line of road from Keilor to Pentland Hills through Bacchus Marsh; the Loddon River from Jim Crow Creek to the Murray River and the Avoca River rivulet; and the ranges between the Avoca and the Loddon.
Mt William became the northern boundary of the County of Ripon. He also surveyed the volcanic hills around Dowling Forest and Glendaruel. This led to the experience in his career which forever touched him.
In I was deeply impressed with a circumstance that came under my notice. The subject has never escaped my memory and I trust never will. I was at the time surveying the general features of the rich volcanic hills around Dowling Forest, Learmonth, Burrumbeet and Glendaruel, the fine rich quality and beauty of which could not be surpassed.
About 50, acres of this fine country lay before me, where I could have run a plough furrow without stump or stone to stop my progress for 8 or 10 miles either way.
On this same rich land many thousands of Merino sheep were scarcely able to walk and were miserably poor from foot rot. At the same time, Mr W. Clarke of Dowling Forest was boiling down thousands of his big Leicester sheep, each weighing from 80 lbs to lbs, for their tallow.
At that very time I happened to peruse a copy of the London Times, and by it saw that thousands, both in the west of Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland were dying of starvation.
I felt deeply for the poor creatures and their families, nay I am not ashamed to own it, I wept for them. This of itself is not much and is only what any individual situated as I was would have done.
But here I was in a land at that very time too rich for the sheep and thousands being melted for the fat. Seven years after I saw the same country waving with as fine and healthy fields of corn as any in Europe. And I also had the satisfaction of seeing that the new inhabitants really enjoyed the comforts of their new homes with renewed vigour, they have a fine country before them - long may they be blessed with health and peace and sweet content.
Urquhart was lucky to escape with his life while undertaking this work when an Aboriginal man tried to murder him. The circumstances were that this person had been erroneously informed by someone on a station that Urquhart planned to take him to Melbourne to be hanged for stealing possessions belonging to Urquhart's party.
I happened to be examining part of the County back from the River Murray for water, I was alone and it being the time of the full moon was not in a hurry to return to my encampment and just at dusk about three miles from my camp I came on a native encampment, an assembly of about young and old who met for the 'savage feast' and corroboree.
I was known to nearly all of them, we were always on the best of terms. My friend Tommy who was then unknown to me to be accused of theft walked up and looked wild and very excited felt me over the back made a jump and a wild holla, which roused the rest.
Three of the principal leaders of the tribes immediately sprang up, and after a few seconds of the most exciting debate between them, Mr Tommy was turned about and ordered away.Australia's Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), was established in under the Reserve Bank Act of This bank does not function to gain profits but moreover, the RBA operates to ensure substantial activity is occurring within the economy.
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Many thanks to Hermes for the translation from benjaminpohle.com