Territory Stories

Government well



Government well


Brooks, Joseph

Photo number



Goyder Expedition Collection.; PictureNT; PictureNT




Four men collecting water from the Government well. There is a two-wheeled horsedrawn cart off to the side containing water barrels. Some more barrels are on the ground and a second horse is tethered in front of the cart. The well is shaded by a pole and tree branch structure.


Stereoscope photographs taken during the Goyder survey expedition (1869-1870). The expedition was led by George Goyder; Surveyor-General from the South Australia Department of Lands and Survey. He was sent to the Northern Territory in 1869 to complete a land survey and select a site for the capital. One hundred and fifty men were selected for the expedition and within six months they had surveyed 269,683 hectares, identified further land for growing tropical products and recommended Palmerston as the site for the capital. The photographers during the expedition were Joseph Brooks; the official photographer and Samuel White Sweet; a sea captain who sailed twice to the Northern Territory and joined the Goyder expedition on both occasions. The photographs in the collection depict members of the expedition, the new settlement and the surrounding scenery. The men are seen at work and around their camps, clearly showing the isolation of the tropical north. The photographs are stereoscopic and were a popular form of public viewing during the mid to late 1800s. Stereoscopy creates the illusion of depth in an image and was first invented by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1840. Two separate images were printed side-by-side and when viewed through a stereoscopic viewer, a three-dimensional effect was produced.




horsedrawn carts; surveyors; wells; Goyder, G. W. (George Woodroffe), 1826-1898; Northern Territory Survey Expedition 1868-1869

Digital format

1200ppi ; 93.5Mb, single 37.7Mb, back 92.5Mb.


1 stereograph : sepia ; 18 x 9 cm.

File type



No known copyright

Copyright owner

Library & Archives NT



Related links

http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A040316b.htm; http://www.archives.sa.gov.au/exhibits/saonmap/planner/northernterritory.html; http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A040316b.htm [Australian Dictionary of Biography : Goyder, George Woodroffe (1826–1898)]; http://www.archives.sa.gov.au/exhibits/saonmap/planner/northernterritory.html [Government of South Australia. State Records : Goyder's Northern Territory Diary 1868 - 70]

Parent handle


Citation address


Related items

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/717570; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/717568

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