Commissioner of Crown Lands

My surveys during 1874 had completed the adjustments of all the country between the Warrego and Paroo rivers, and as I had surveyed all their western tributaries my run adjustments extended to the water shed of the Bulloo. As I had fairly entered upon the survey of the Western districts and could not move my family about with me, I accordingly invested in an allotment at Sandgate, and, building a house thereon, I located them there as my surveys involved absences of twelve months.These arrangements occupied m until April 1875, when, through the occurrence of some departmental changes on the retirement of Mr. A. C. Gregory upon pension from the office of Surveyor-General, Mr F.X. Heeney, the Commissioner of Crown Lands at Charleville, was transferred to the head office as chief clerk in the Survey Department. In the official changes the Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands, Mr W. A. Tully, who was also the Under Secretary for Lands, had vested in him the office of Surveyor-General and accordingly assumed control of the Survey Department und the title of Surveyor-General.

The position of Commission of Crown Lands being vacant at Charleville, it was offered to me, and I forthwith accepted the duties of Commissioner of Crown Lands of the Gregory South and Warrego districts. Once more I gave up my freedom and was forthwith gazetted as a civil servant. In bestowing the appointment, the head of the department acquainted me that he considered the survey of the Western districts was in very good hands, that he had no intention of keeping me in the Western districts for any undue period, and so soon as the surveys of the Warrego district were completed he contemplated my transfre to the Survey Department, and placing me in the position of staff surveyor of the coast.

The goal of all my ambition seemed now in view – the exercise of my profession under the very conditions I could have desired in it branches of geodesy and astronomy. No suspicion even for a moment crossed my mind that was beholding a Will-o’-the-Wisp.

I accordingly took charge of my districts, accompanied by a recording clerk whom I fix up at the lands office, Charleville, where all the lands business of the districts was transacted and entered. Leaving him to receive the correspondence and deal with it I took my departure and commenced operations as surveying commissioner.

I found that the Nebine River adjoining the eastern boundary of the Warrego district had never been surveyed, so to make the district maps complete I entered the Maranoa district and made a traverse of the river accordingly.

The Nebine in 1875 was unoccupied in the upper part of it. The country throughout was principally Mulga forest on each side of the river flats, and exceedingly good pastoral country in favourable seasons, very prolific in fattening grasses; but, as the dry weather set in, the settlers thereon had been dried out, as the ruins and remnants of old sheep yards testified, for few of the waterholes were permanent; but, in the boom of the pastoral enterprise that land recently commenced, as still continued in active progress, the country again received attention, and the tide of occupation set in. Accordingly the surveys I was now making were preparatory to the approaching reoccupation of the country and the conservation of water thereon. Mr Holland occupied Bendeena towards the lower end; below him Mr Heness occupied Bonavona; and adjoining him on the south Mr Tate was in possession of Murro Murra.