John Helder Wedge

Tough country for surveying: the Gordon River area (AOT, PH30/1/4388)

John Helder Wedge (17931872), surveyor and explorer, was born in Cambridge, England. He obtained an appointment as assistant surveyor before migrating to Van Diemen's Land in 1824. Wedge was a resourceful, intelligent bushman who led many arduous expeditions and covered much difficult ground including the north-east and central highlands, the far north-west where he examined the grants of the Van Diemen's Land Company, and the country lying between the Derwent, Gordon and Huon Rivers. He resigned from the Survey Department in 1835, crossing to Port Phillip where he explored along the Barwon River, played an important role in the founding of Melbourne, and was one of the first to take sheep there from Tasmania. He returned to Tasmania in 1844, and sat in the Legislative Council from 1855 until 1868.

Further reading: ADB 2; G Crawford et al (eds), The diaries of John Helder Wedge, Hobart, 1962.

Wendy Rimon