Dictionary of Sydney

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Alt, Augustus

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Alt, Augustus

Augustus Alt, son of Just Alt, a Hessian-born diplomat, had served in the British army as a soldier and surveyor before he was appointed as the first surveyor of lands of the new colony of New South Wales. He arrived in Sydney with the First Fleet and was involved with the planning of the first settlements at Sydney Cove and Parramatta. The plans he and Governor Phillip drew up for Sydney called for wide streets and huge blocks. Despite this, the town grew in a more random and spontaneous manner.

In 1791 Alt asked to be relieved of his duties as surveyor-general because of ill health and in 1801 he was officially retired on an invalid pension. In February 1794 he was granted 100 acres (40 hectares) at Petersham, which he called Hermitage Farm, and in 1810 an adjoining 280 acres (113 hectares) between the road to Parramatta and Ashfield. Alt Street in Ashfield/Haberfield is named in his honour.

Alt lived with Ann George, a convict, with whom he had two children, Lucy and Henry George. He died on 9 January 1815 and is buried in St John's churchyard, Parramatta.


Bernard T Dowd, 'Alt, Augustus Theodore Henry (1731–1815)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol 1, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1966, pp 11–12, online at http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/alt-augustus-theodore-henry-1702/text1845, viewed 8 August 2011

Paul-Alan Johnson, 'The Planning, Properties and Patriarchy of Surveyor-General Augustus Alt', Journal of the Ashfield and District Historical Society, no 17, 2008, pp 25–62