Museum of Lands, Mapping, and Surveying – Brisbane, Australia - Atlas Obscura

Museum of Lands, Mapping, and Surveying

Its collection highlights the monumental tasks undertaken to map Queensland. 


In 1859, Queensland was declared a separate colony from New South Wales. From 1879 to 1881, part of the new border was officially surveyed. As evidenced by its name, the mile 38 post was placed 38 miles east of Barringun by Surveyor Cameron in 1880. It’s one of several unusual historical border markers at the Museum of Lands, Mapping, and Surveying.

The museum, which was established in 1982, contains a small series of exhibits illuminating the huge task that surveyors, cartographers, geographers, and photographers had to undertake in Queensland (a territory covering over 700,000 square miles) over the decades. The difficulty of the task is tough to imagine in the age of GPS and Google, when paper maps are all but a memory for many.

The museum features a range of historical telescopes, measuring instruments, equipment, photos, and of course maps. A display at the entrance highlights Doris Lavarack, who in 1929 became one of the early draftswomen at the Queensland Survey Office. The museum also holds the Clem Jones collection. Jones was a veteran surveyor and the mayor of Brisbane from 1961 to 1975.

Near a trio of different-sized grandfather clocks are the border posts, which tend to catch the eye. The pegs, pins, rocks, and trees all had their functions in mapping and measuring what must have seen like endless land.

Know Before You Go

Entrance to the museum is free. It's open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.  and is closed on public holidays.

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October 25, 2019

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