Photo: Taken near Gawler on the way to Sandy Creek. By Simon Slattery of Valley Imagery

Pinery Fire Project

On November 25, 2015 a catastrophic bushfire burned through the Pinery area of South Australia claiming 2 lives, destroying 97 houses and 83,000 hectares of scrub and farmland in the Council areas of Light, Wakefield, Clare, Gilbert Valleys and Mallala.


This devastating event had a lasting effect on the communities while they worked to rebuild what was lost.


Third generation Pinery farmer Paul Guerin was interviewed by ABC Rural reporter Courtney Fowler in 2017 and explained one of the biggest challenges was redefining hundreds of kilometres of boundaries that were established as far back at the 1870s.


"I was around when my father re-fenced the boundary perimeter and internal fences of the property about 40 years ago. It was a family affair to do it together. 


"It was the destruction from the trees that destroyed the fences, and it took out the two major strainer posts on the western boundaries and corners of the property.” He said.

In early 2017, following discussions between Alex Zimmerman, the Pinery Fire Recovery Team Co-Ordinator and the SurveyingSA committee members, the Pinery Bushfire Recovery Project was launched. 

Ross Fyfe, chair of the SurveyingSA committee commented that this was a great opportunity to help affected farmers whilst also providing valuable experience to the next generation of surveyors.

The project was carried out over 6 months and involved the participation of 9 Licensed Surveyors and 12 Master of Surveying students from the University of South Australia. Modern technology was used to accurately define boundaries on land that hadn’t been surveyed since the early 19th century. 

At the completion of the project 8 landholders had their boundaries accurately set and ready for re-fencing, allowing them to rebuild and move forward with their lives.  

The impact of the Pinery Bushfire Recovery Project and the generosity of the volunteers involved did not go unnoticed.

At the 2018 Asia-Pacific Spacial Excellence Awards - South Australia, SurveyingSA received the Regional award for People and Community.
This project has since been nominated for national recognition at the Oceanic APSEA in Melbourne in April 2019.

The Pinery Bushfire Recovery Project has shown fierce commitment to people and community, to the education of future Surveyors and the strength of the surveying industry. A proud moment for SurveyingSA and everyone who volunteered their time and expertise to help those in need.

Click here to see who was involved in the project