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Rivers and their impact on cadastral boundaries in Victoria

These Surveyor-General Practice guidelines take the form of case studies that demonstrate the impact of a river changing course on an associated cadastral boundary.

The guidelines emphasise the significance and importance of the following orders and acts:

  • 1881 Order In Council, by which land along 280 rivers was permanently reserved
  • 1905 Water Act, which clarified the term 'bed and banks'
  • 1850 Separation Act, which dealt with the Murray River as the state boundary

The guidelines discuss the role of the Surveyor-General in providing authoritative determination of Crown boundaries. They also discuss the role of the licensed surveyor.

The Doctrine of Accretion

When a boundary between land and water alters so slowly that the change is not readily noticeable, the process is known in common law as the doctrine of accretion.

The current guideline explains in general terms the effect that alterations in boundaries between land and water can have.

The guide covers definitions and legal principles of:

  • accretion (growth)
  • diluvion (washed away by flood)

It discusses the application of the doctrine in relation to:

  • freehold land
  • Crown land
  • reserved Crown land along marine frontage
  • lake abutting freehold
  • rivers, streams and watercourses

The guide also covers amendment of title and the involvement of the Department.

The information contained in the guide is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not and should not be relied on as legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. You should seek independent legal advice in relation to any particular matters relating to accretion or diluvion you or your organisation may have.

Guidelines for the state border

The following guidelines assist surveyors to determine the state border between New South Wales and Victoria along the Murray River.

They are issued by the Surveyors-General of New South Wales and Victoria.

The aim of the guidelines is to bring consistency to determinations made in individual surveys.

They provide information on past legislation and legal precedents used in previous determinations.

The guidelines are based on the best available information and opinion at this time and are subject to further interpretation at law.

The information contained in the guide is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not and should not be relied on as legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. You should seek independent legal advice in relation to any particular matters relating to accretion or diluvion you or your organisation may have.

Page last updated: 18/11/20