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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Palmer Trig

Palmer Trigonometrical Station was erected in 1878 to enable land surveyors to produce maps of the Ginninderra region. It was named after George Palmer and replaced an earlier station built in the 1850s. The station consists of a large stone cairn with a wooden pole supporting galvanized iron. The stones are original but the poles are replicas. A plaque near the cairn commemorates the role of surveyors in the exploration and development of the Canberra region.

Palmer Trig is a stone cairn, wooden pole and metal circular vanes, erected in 1875 at the top of an unnamed hill as part of the original survey of the area – measured by chains from Lake George. It is typical of early survey "trigs" which formed a network across New South Wales and were used by surveyors during the course of original land grant surveys and mapping projects. Trigs were built on high ground with good visibility so that the surveyors could sight back to it as they measured and calculated their way across the landscape. [Canberra Archaeological Society, p.25]

According to the entry in the ACT Heritage Register:

The Palmer Trigonometrical Station, one of a few existing cairn trigs in the ACT, was constructed in 1878 during a period of history in the rural regions of New South Wales and later the Australian Capital Territory that witnessed dramatic changes in rural land ownership and settlement patterns. It represents a surveying technique that is no longer used and is physical evidence that can be used to recall the lifestyle of the early surveyors and their assistants who surveyed the land in the Ginninderra/Gunghalin region of the ACT.
The Trig has value as a teaching site, to explain changes in occupation, land use, settlement patterns and rural, suburban and urban development progressions.

The features which contribute to the heritage significance of Palmer Trigonometrical Station, and which require conservation, comprise: The stone cairn, including the renewed wooden pole and galvanised iron vanes, and the commemorative plaque and mount.


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