Browse Entries

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Biographical entry

  • Trove

Biographical entry Goyder, George Woodroffe (1826 - 1898)

24 June 1826
London, England
2 November 1898
Aldgate, South Australia, Australia


George Goyder was Surveyor-General of South Australia from 1861-1894.


Born London, 24 June 1826. Died Aldgate, 2 November 1898. CMG 1889. Migrated to Sydney 1848, worked in an auctioneering firm 1848-51, draftsman, South Australian civil service 1851-52, Department of Lands 1853-94, as chief clerk, second assistant surveyor-general, assistant surveyor-general (1857-61) and surveyor-general (1861-94). Surveyed in the Northern Territory 1869, recommending Palmerston (Darwin) as the capital site. Chairman of the railways commission 1874-75, and of the Forest Board 1875-83. In 1865 he mapped 'the line of demarcation between that portion of the country where the rainfall has extended, and that where the drought prevailed'. In 1867 he admitted that this line, known as Goyder's Line, separated, to a certain extent, lands suitable for agriculture and those fit only for grazing.


Published resources


  • McArthur, Anne, Through the eyes of Goyder, Master Planner: Transcripts of the Surveyor-General's 1864-5 Detailed Valuations of 79 Pastoral Runs in the South East of South Australia, Kanawinka Writers and Historians, s.l., 2007, 312 pp. Details
  • Sheldrick, Janis, Nature's line: George Goyder, surveyor, environmentalist, visionary, Wakefield Press, Kent Town (S.A.), 2013, 488 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • 'Goyder, George Woodroofe (1826-1898), surveyor-general', in Douglas Pike (ed.), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 4, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1972, pp. 278-280. Also available at Details
  • Gammage, Bill, 'George Woodroffe Goyder, 1826-1898', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004. Details
  • Heathcote, R. A., 'Goyder's Line: a line for all seasons?', in Carr, D. J. and Carr, S. G. M. (eds), People and Plants in Australia, Academic Press, Sydney, 1981, pp. 295-321. Details

Journal Articles

  • Bourke, Patricia, 'Goyder and the ancient Aboriginal shell mounds of Virginia', Northern Territory Historical Studies, vol. 25, 2014, pp. 45-56. Details
  • Lindsay, H. A., 'Surveyor Goyder - of the Rainfall Line', Riverlander, 1963, p. 33, 35. Details
  • Powell, J. M., 'George Woodroofe Goyder, 1826-1898', Geographers: Bibliographical Studies, vol. 7, 1983, pp. 47-50. Details
  • Sheldrick, Janis, '1855-1856: George Goyder's Long Ride to Mapping Reliable Rainfall', The Globe, vol. 65, 2010, p. 28040. Details
  • Summerfield, E. and Keenan, R., 'Leading the establishment of Australia's first forestry organisation: some lessons for today's leaders in forest management', Australian Forestry, vol. 80, no. 2, 2017, pp. 78-87. Details
  • Williams, M., 'George Woodroffe Goyder, a Practical Geographer: the Presidential Address 1978', South Australian Geological Journal, vol. 106, 2008, pp. 84-105. Details


  • Drown, James, review of Sheldrick, Janis, Nature's line: George Goyder, surveyor, environmentalist, visionary (2013), Historical Records of Australian Science, vol. 26, no. 2, 2015, pp. 209-10. Details
  • Frost, Lionel, review of Sheldrick, Janis, Nature's line: George Goyder, surveyor, environmentalist, visionary (2013), Australian Economic History Review, vol. 55, no. 1, 2015, pp. 101-4. Details
  • Ostapenko, Dmytro, review of Sheldrick, Janis, Nature's line: George Goyder, surveyor, environmentalist, visionary (2013), Journal of Australian Studies, vol. 39, no. 2, 2015, pp. 276-7. Details


  • Summerfield, E., 'Learning and leadership for complex environmental problems: George Goyder and the innovation of forestry in Australia', PhD thesis, University of Melbourne, 2015, 151 pp. Details

Online Resources

Rosanne Walker