Black–Allan Line

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The Black–Allan Line is the eastern "straight-edge" portion of the state border between the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria. The line stretches north-west from Cape Howe on the Tasman Sea to Indi Springs, the headwaters of the Murray River.[1][2] The Murray River then forms the remainder of the boundary between the two states until it reaches the South Australian border.

A suggestion made in 1867 by the then Bairnsdale Police Magistrate and Warden of Gold Fields Alfred William Howitt, who was concerned about the boundary of his jurisdiction, together with District Surveyor J.G.W. Wilmot led to the survey of the eastern border between Victoria and New South Wales.[3]

The line is named for Alexander Black and Alexander Allan, the men who, between 1870 and 1872, surveyed the line that delineated the two colonies.[4][5] The surveyors built regular stone cairns to demarcate their survey line, most of which survive to the present. The survey was also remarkably accurate for the time, only missing its precise end target by around 43cm.[6]

The boundary of the Port Philip District of New South Wales was defined in the New South Wales Constitution Act, 1842 (UK)[7] as "... the boundary of the district of Port Phillip on the north and north east shall be a straight line drawn from Cape How [sic] to the nearest source of the river Murray and thence the course of that river to the eastern boundary of the province of South Australia." The Australian Constitutions Act, 1850 (UK)[8] which established the colony of Victoria, uses the same definition.

Due to ongoing oversights between the states, however, the actual border was not officially (and legally) ratified until 2006.[6][9]


  1. ^ "Notice of registration of geographic name (per LA/12/0202)" (PDF). Victorian Government Gazette. 12 September 2002. p. 2002:2457."Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  2. ^ Deakin, R. E.; Sheppard, S. W.; Ross, R. (2011). "The Black-Allan Line Revisited" (PDF). 24th Victorian Regional Survey Conference, Shepparton, 1–3 April 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 January 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  3. ^ Chappel, K L. Surveying for Land Settlement in Victoria 1836-1960: Survey of the Vic-NSW Boundary, Survey of the Vic-SA Boundary, Melbourne, Vic.: Office of Surveyor General, 1996. p 145
  4. ^ "Black-Allan Line finally recognised". Bombala Times. 21 February 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  5. ^ Albert, Nadia (2003), Surveying the Black-Allan Line (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 1 April 2012, retrieved 3 February 2012
  6. ^ a b "The Black-Allan Line". ABC Radio National. 18 June 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  7. ^ "New South Wales Constitution Act 1842 (UK)".
  8. ^ Australian Constitutions Act 1850 (UK)
  9. ^ Reporter, Daniel Lewis Regional (16 February 2006). "Finally a state border, if only 130 years late". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 February 2022.