Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Monday, May 14, 2007

Australian State Borders - the strange case of Jennings

This photo is taken standing in Wallangarra, Queensland, looking across the border into the NSW village of Jennings.

Letters of patent dated June 6 1859 defined the boundary between Queensland and New South Wales as lying between Point Danger, following watersheds and rivers, to the line of parallel of 29° South.

The border was surveyed between 1863 - 1866, from Point Danger to the Dumaresq River by Francis Roberts of Queensland, and Isiah Rowland of New South Wales. The two were supposed to work together but fell out, each then completing a separate survey. NSW records of the survey were destroyed in a fire, and both state governments settled on the Queensland survey.

In 2001, modern surveyors retraced the steps of Rowland and Roberts as part of a Centenary of Federation project, and found a 200 metre error. On the surface this might not seem like much to be concerned about, however the error occurs at the point where the twin towns of Wallangarra (Qld) & Jennings (NSW) are located, on the New England Highway.

It appears that the originally intended boundary would put most of Jennings squarely inside Queensland. Jennings locals did not take kindly to the idea. Public sentiment is that Jennings has always been in New South Wales, and always will be.

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