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Biographical entry Austin, Robert (1825 - 1905)

31 December 1825
Epping Forest, Essex, United Kingdom
24 February 1905
Thornborough, Queensland, Australia
Engineer, Explorer and Surveyor


Robert Austin was an explorer and surveyor who between 1847 and 1860 carried out extensive surveys in Western Australia, particularly in the Toodyay-Northam area. The expedition for which he is most remembered, that in the Murchison and Gascoyne regions, was conducted in extremely trying conditions. In 1860 Austin moved to Queensland and for over 20 years was employed in various surveying positions in the Queensland Surveyor-General's Department. In later years he worked wholly on metropolitan civil engineering and surveying projects. Lake Austin in Western Australia was named after him.



Life event - Mmigrated to Western Australia with his family
1847 - 1860
Career position - Surveyor with the Western Australian Surveyor-General's Department
1860 - 1861
Career position - Surveyor First (later Second) Class, Queensland Surveyor General's Department
1861 - 1862
Career position - Commissioner of Crown Lands, Queensland
1862 - 1880
Career position - Engineer for roads of the southern district, Queensland
1891 - 1893
Career position - Sergeant-at-Arms, Legislative Assembly, Queensland

Published resources


  • Austin, Robert: edited by Bridge, P. J., et al., 'The Finest Goldfields in the World': the Austin Expedition to the Murchison in 1854 (Perth: Hesperian Press, 2009), 195 pp. Details
  • Glover, John with Bevan, Jenny, The Forgotten Explorers: Pioneer geologists of Western Australia, 1826-1926 (Victoria Park, W.A.: Hesperian Press, 2010), 246 pp. Details

Book Sections


Helen Cohn