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Photo: David Broadway

Managing a million square miles: book launch

A new book written to provide an insight into the vital role early land surveyors have played in making Western Australia the prosperous state it is today has now been released and features areas such as the Swan Valley.

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 Western Australia’s colonial days to the early 21st century.

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

Until 1993, the Department of Lands and Surveys was mostly housed in one of Perth’s oldest buildings on Cathedral Ave which is now COMO The Treasury, Perth.

Landgate Chief Executive Mike Bradford said by providing a secure land titles registry, his agency protects the property wealth of WA and supports the state’s property market and economy.

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

“Mr Hutchinson’s book gives a captivating insight into how land management in WA grew and evolved to meet the changing needs of the state in modern times.

“As well as land management, the book details the department’s commitment to innovation and technology, something Landgate is a national leader in today.”

Author Ron 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 Western Australia but after 12 years of work the project expanded to cover all aspects of the department and evolved into a book,” he said.

“There is now a written record of the history of the Department of Lands and Surveys and the role played by some of the legendary figures in its employ.”

About Rashelle Predovnik

Rashelle has been the senior journalist at Echo News since June 2011. She was a finalist in the WA Media Awards in 2015 and 2013. In 2014 Rashelle took out the whole print category in the Deborah Kirwan Media Awards for a series of stories she wrote that has positively influenced community attitudes towards seniors. In 2013, Rashelle was a finalist in the Consumer Protection Media Awards. Before joining Echo News, Rashelle worked at WA Business News, Media Monitors, she was a freelance journalist and taught journalism units at Murdoch University.

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