IS20.15 DM2 - Impact of bushfires on the cadastre Reflections + Surveying and Landscape Art Solve an old Height Problem Webinar

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Start Date
02 October 2020
End Date
02 October 2020
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Institution of Surveyors NSW
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CPD Event Code: IS20.15 DM2
CPD Points: 0.5 Cadastral & 0.5 Survey Practice

ISNSW Webinar

Presented by Tony Proust, Meritorious Surveyor   +   Emeritus Professor John Fryer

This webinar was presented live on Friday, 2 October 2020


“Impact of bushfires on the cadastre - Reflections"

Bushfires are part of our environment and will only become more frequent and destructive as the climate changes.
Traditionally we depend on volunteer surveyors to help landowners recover their burnt out boundary fences but this is not sustainable in the long term. 
We have to find a way to minimise the impact of bushfires on the cadastre and build more resilience into the rural cadastre. The fires of Black Summer destroyed an unknown number of rural boundary fences – monuments defining the rural cadastre – in at least 5 states, right around the country. Not only is this a disaster for the cadastre and a challenge for surveyors charged with the responsibility of redefining boundaries – it costs rural landowners a small fortune – something like $5k per km or more to replace.

Tony Proust is a Meritorious Surveyor and Consulting Planner with nearly 40 years experience in land development in state and local government and the private sector.



“Surveying and Landscape Art Solve an old Height Problem”

This talk is focussed on the 1801 height determination of what was, then, Nobbys Island at the mouth of the Hunter River in Newcastle.  The height obtained by Ensign Frances Barrallier was undisputed for over 200 years as it was believed the top half of the island had been used from 1818 to 1846 to aid in construction of ‘Macquarie Pier’ – a breakwall which connects the island to the mainland (and allowed sand to accumulate to form Nobbys Beach).  The talk is illustrated with early maps, 190 year-old surveying field-notes and works of landscape art.  Some basic surveying principles are explained and used to solve a problem which has confounded historians (and modern port authorities): how high was Nobbys before any earthworks commenced to lower it and build Macquarie Pier?

John Fryer (a Fellow of the ISNSW) is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Newcastle.  After studying Surveying and Ph.D. at the University of NSW, he worked for 4 years in Canberra at the Division of National Mapping.  In 1974 he came to the University of Newcastle, was promoted to Professor in 1991 and concluded his time here as the Head of School of Engineering.  John retired in December 2004, spending his first 9 years of retirement undertaking 90 forensic investigations for law enforcement agencies using his specialities of surveying and close-range photogrammetry.  For 32 years, John was variously a member of the NSW Board of Surveyors, an examiner or a consultant to them.  He has maintained a life-long interest in Cricket, representing Australia in over 30 Veterans International matches and NSW in 40 interstate matches and has played in many countries.  His first novel, with a cricketing theme, was published in 2019.  He also enjoys tennis, fishing, gardening and writing family history stories with his ‘cricket widow’ Margaret.



  • Equipment required: must have a computer, tablet or smartphone with a stable internet connection

  • Each attendee must be signed in individually on their own device, for CPD points to be allocated.

  • Access instructions will be emailed to all attendees after registration/payment is received


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