"High Beach"
Some Western Australian History & Some Family History & Some More

The Surveyors-General of Western Australia


The State has been extremely fortunate in its Surveyors General of the past who were all men of outstanding personality, and it must always be remembered that in the early days and indeed for the first fifty of settlement [by Europeans], the next ranking position after that of Governor, was that of Surveyor General. Doug Tomlin & TA Cleave, ‘The Surveyor in Western Australia’ in Cartography in Western Australia.

1828-1870The Hon John Septimus Roe RN
b. 8 May 1797
d. 28 May 1878
Statue of John Septimus Roe, Adelaide Terrace, Perth
Roe's Statue

Letter of appointment dated 5 December 1828, engaged from 28 December 1828.
1870-1883Hon Sir Malcolm Fraser KCMG
b. 1834
d. 17 August 1900
His name is commerated by Fraser Avenue in Kings Park

Fraser Avenue street sign at the Perth city entrance to Kings Park
Street sign at the entrance
to Kings Park
1883-1890The Rt Hon Sir John Forrest PC, GCMG, LLD
b. 22 August 1847
d.3 September 1918
Portion of Forrest's Statue in Kings Park showing his head
The head of Forrest's Statue in Kings Park

Relinquished the position at noon on 29 December 1890 to become Treasurer and "Premier" of Western Australia.
1890-1896Deputy Surveyor-General
John Sherlock Brooking
b 23 May 1840
d 9 November 1916
The Brooking family grave at Karrakatta
Family grave Karrakatta

No Surveyor-General appointed during this period.
1896-1915Harry Frederick Johnston JP
b 24 April 1853
d 14 June 1915
Johnston's Headstone
Johnston's headstone

Commenced July 1896. Died in office. The Johnston Lakes were named after the Surveyor-General by Frank Hann on 9 September 1901.
1915-1917Frederick Slade Brockman
(Frederick Slade Drake-Brockman)
b 9 July 1857
d 11 September 1917
Part of the Drake-Brockman family grave at Karrakatta
Section of family grave, Karrakatta

Commenced 1 October 1915.
1918-1923Henry Sandford King JP
b 24 May 1862
d 21 February 1931 (New Guinea)
Commenced 1 March 1918. Retired 30 June 1923. Lake King was named in his honour.
1923-1938John Percy Camm JP
b 2 November 1873
d 18 April 1943
Lake Camm was named in his honour.

Headstone of John Percy Camm at Karrakatta
(1st term)
Wallace Vernon Fyfe
b 7 April 1894
d 17 January 1982
Commenced his first term of office on 24 November 1938.
1945-1947Thomas Suter Parry
b 28 May 1886
d 16 December 1947
Memorial plaque for T S Parry at Karrakatta

Commenced 1 Februry 1945. T S Parry was Surveyor-General during the period that W Vernon Fyfe was the Director of Land Settlement.
(2nd term)
Wallace Vernon Fyfe
b 7 April 1894
d 17 January 1982
Plaque at Karrakatta Cemetery

Resumed the position of Surveyor-General on 22 February 1948 and retired 7 April 1959.
1959-1968Harold Camm
b 7 September 1903
d 16 April 1990
The son of John Percy Camm (Surveyor-General 1923-1938) and Sarah May Camm nee Chamberlian.

Portion of the Parker Monument at Fremantle Cemetery
1968-1984John Frank Morgan
b 1 December 1923
d 13 April 2010
The Morgan River is named in his honour.
Anon (1931) 'The Death of Mr H.S. King: Former Surveyor General' in The West Australian 24 February 1931.
Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority (n.d.) Fraser Avenue web page accessed 26 April 2010
Crowley, F K (1971) Forrest 1847-1918 Volume 1, 1847-91 Apprenticeship to Premiership UQP St Lucia, Qld
Drake-Brockman, Geoffrey (1960) The Turning Wheel Paterson Brokensha, Perth WA
Fyfe, W Vernon (nd) Reminiscences of a Surveyor Privately published
Hann, Frank H (1998) Do Not Yield to Despair: Frank Hugh Hann's Exploration Diaries in the Arid Interior of Australia, 1895-1908 Hesperian Press, Carlisle.
Jackson, JL Burton(1982) Not an Idle Man: A Biography of John Septimus Roe: Western Australia's First Surveyor-General (1797-1878) M B Roe, West Swan, WA
Johnston, Frederick Marshall (nd) Knights and Theodolites: a Saga of Surveyors Edwards & Shae, Sydney NSW
Llewellyn, I (ed, 1966) Cartography in Western Australia The Institute of Cartographers of Western Australia
Sachs, Margaret A (ed) The Way 79 Who is Who: Synoptic Biographies of Western Australians Crawley Publishers, Nedlands WA