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Adams, Philip Francis (1828 - 1901)

Published Sources
Surveyor and Viticulturist
Born: 1828  Mildenhall, Suffolk, England.  Died: 22 June 1901  Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Philip Francis Adams worked for the New South Wales (NSW) land surveyors department, and was Surveyor-general from 1868-87. During this time, Adams initiated the departmentís shift to trigonometrical surveying in 1867 and took charge of it from 1870. He was also an avid wine grower, first establishing a successful vineyard in Ettamogah (1857c) and then again in 1888 after he retired. He gained a good reputation in the wine industry and spent much of his retirement attending conferences for wine-growers and fruit-growers, judging wine shows, and writing many articles on the subject. Adams was a keen amateur astronomer and was appointed one of the official observers of the transit of Venus in 1874 and 1882. Adams was heavily involved in local affairs, participating in the Public School Board and in many charities.

Career Highlights
Born in England, Philip Adams moved to Ireland with his family where he was educated mainly at the Belfast Academical and Collegiate Institution. In 1848 he was appointed land surveyor and after three years emigrated to Canada and then the United States. He returned to Canada to try and make his fortunes on the goldfields, but was unsuccessful. He then moved to Sydney in 1854. Adams quickly gained employment as a district surveyor for the NSW government. He convinced them to give up on their time-consuming, haphazard surveying techniques and introduced trigonometrical surveying. This saw Philip Adams rise through the ranks and eventually be appointed Surveyor-general in 1868. During his reign, he introduced competitive examinations for surveyors and advised select committees. Adams retired in 1888 to pursue his love of wine-making, a job he did successfully and was highly respected in the industry.

1848 - 1851Land Surveyor in Ireland
1851 - 1853Surveyor in Canada and USA
1853Prospector (unsuccessful) in the California goldfields, USA
1854Migrated to Australia (Sydney)
1854 - 1859District Surveyor in Maitland, New South Wales (NSW)
1857 - 1862District Surveyor in the southern district of NSW
1859Married Harriet Burnet in Newcastle, NSW
1862 - 1864Acting Deputy-Surveyor-General for NSW
1864Member of the Royal Society of New South Wales
1864 - 1868Deputy Surveyor-General for NSW
1865Reported on the need to change the existing haphazard survey system to a trigonometrical survey system
1867Trigonometrical survey commenced
1868 - 1887Surveyor-General for NSW
1870Manager of the trigonometric survey
1874Official Observer of the transit of Venus in Woodford, NSW
1882Official Observer of the transit of Venus at Lord Howe Island
1886Member of the New South Wales Commission for the Colonial and Indian Exhibition
1887 - 1901Retired to establish a vineyard in Casula, NSW


Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields.Prepared by: McCarthy, G.J & Annette Alafaci
Created: 20 October 1993
Modified: 29 January 2007

Published by The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre on ASAPWeb, 1994 - 2007
Originally published 1994-1999 by Australian Science Archives Project, 1999-2006 by the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre
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Updated: 26 February 2007

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