George Goyder

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George Woodroffe Goyder (24 June 1826 – 2 November 1898) was a surveyor in South Australia during the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Goyder was born in Liverpool, England to Sarah and David George Goyder, the latter a Swedenborgian minister and physician. He moved to Glasgow with his family where he worked with an engineering firm and studied surveying. In 1848, at the age of 22, Goyder followed his sister and brother-in-law, George Galbraith McLachlan, to Sydney, New South Wales. He spent time working with an auctioneering firm and moved to Adelaide in 1851, obtaining work as a civil service draftsman.

His rose rapidly in the civil service, becoming Assistant Surveyor-General by 1856 and Surveyor-General by 1861. He is remembered today for Goyder's Line of rainfall, a line used in South Australia to demarcate land climatically suitable for arable farming from that suitable only for light grazing. However, Goyder was an avid researcher into the lands of South Australia (including the present-day Northern Territory) and made recommendations to a great number of settlers in the newly developing colony, especially to those exploiting the newly discovered mineral resources of the state.

He married Frances Mary Smith on 10 December 1851 at Christ Church, North Adelaide, and had nine children with her. Frances died on 8 April 1870 and George married her sister Ellen Priscilla Smith, who had been looking after the children,...
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