Gunter Survey Chain circa 1860
Iron, brass
Gift of the Parks & Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory - 2010

The measurement of land has had an interesting history over time. Innumerable techniques, instruments, and measurement standards have been developed through the ages to survey land for commercial and legal purposes, most of which were confusing or relatively inaccurate. However, in 1620 the English clergyman Edmund Gunter developed a system that would simplify and standardise land measurement. He divided a furlong (660 feet or 201.168 metres) into 10 equal parts which he called chains (66 feet or 20.1168 metres), and divided each chain into 100 links (7.92 inches or 201.168 mm). He then constructed an actual chain made of iron that could be physically used to measure land using these units. 

This became known as the Gunter chain and it revolutionised surveying. Each chain was made up of 100 iron links connected by three oval rings. Each end was furnished with a...

Please reload


10:00am - 5:00pm


Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day and Good Friday


19 Conacher Street, The Gardens, Darwin NT 0820

GPO Box 4646, Darwin NT 0801


Email: info@magnt.net.au

Tel: +61 8 8999 8264

Bookings essential

Please reload

  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle
  • YouTube - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle

Museum and Art Gallery
of the Northern Territory

GPO Box 4646,
Darwin NT 0801

+61 8 8999 8264

Join our mailing list
MAGNT acknowledges the traditional owners of country across the Northern Territory and beyond, and pays respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
  • Facebook
  • Instagram - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle

ABN  22 932 713 682