Managing a Million Squares: history of WA’s Dept of Lands and Surveys book chronicles WA’s growth


Mike Bradford and Ron Hutchinson at the launch of the author’s book.
Mike Bradford and Ron Hutchinson at the launch of the author’s book.

A NEW book provides an insight into the vital role early land surveyors played in making WA a prosperous state.

Managing a Million Square Miles, A History of Western Australia’s Department of Lands and Surveys by Ron Hutchinson takes readers on a journey from WA’s colonial days to the early 21st century.

The department, which is now known as Landgate, is WA’s oldest government agency.

Until 1993 the agency was mostly housed in one of Perth’s oldest buildings on Cathedral Avenue which is now Como, The Treasury, Perth.

Landgate chief executive Mike Bradford said by providing a secure land titles registry, his agency protected the property wealth of WA and supported the state’s property market and economy.

“The foundations of our registry were laid by WA’s first Surveyor General John Septimus Roe, who was responsible for managing the allocation of land to early settlers,” Mr Bradford said.

Mr Hutchinson said his passion for the subject matter and interest in history inspired him to write the book.

“Originally I intended to briefly document the history of cartography and surveying in WA but after 12 years of work, the project expanded to cover all aspects of the department and evolved into a book,” Mr Hutchinson said.

Copies of the book are for sale from Hesperian Press.