The Lands Office, Sydney

Excerpt from an article titled The Laws Relating to Crown Lands, by Mr H. A. G. Curry, Department of Lands – published in “New South Wales: the mother colony of the Australias” (1896):

The head office of the Department of Lands and Survey is in Sydney, and is presided over by the Minister for Lands — the permanent head of the Department being the Under-Secretary for Lands. (William Houston, Esq.) Branches of the Department are now situated in various parts of the Colony. Prior to 1885 the whole business of the Department was dealt with at the head office, but during that year it was largely decentralised by the calling into existence of local Land Boards. Each Board is presided over by a Chairman, who is a salaried officer of the Government, his coadjutors, of whom there are two, being local residents, remunerated by fees. At the head office of each Board a District Surveyor and a staff of clerks and draftsmen are employed, besides whom are surveyors and other field officers located elsewhere within the boundaries which mark the Board’s jurisdiction. Applications for certain classes of holdings, such as Homestead Selections, Conditional Purchases, Conditional Leases, &c., come before the Board in the first instance for investigation, and applicants are not entitled to finally (though in some cases they may provisionally) take possession of the land applied for until their applications have been what is termed ” Confirmed ” by the Board. Against a Board’s decision an appeal lies to a Land Appeal Court, which consists of a President and two Commissioners. 

Each Board District includes several smaller districts, called Land Districts (for each of which, however, there is a separate Board), which have been established for the convenience of the public. In each district a Crown Lands Agent is stationed, whose duty is to supply information to persons seeking land, and to receive applications, deposits, and other payments under the Crown Lands Acts. 

At the head office in Sydney an Information Bureau is in existence, where the fullest and latest particulars as to the situation of available land in the Colony, and the prices and conditions under which it may be taken up, are always obtainable.

Provenance: “New South Wales: the mother colony of the Australias“. Frank Hutchinson, Edited by F. Hutchinson.
Author: Frank Hutchinson
Date of Publication: 1896
Publisher: C. Potter
Place of Publishing: Sydney
Copyright status: Out of copyright
Courtesy: The British Library

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