The Doctrine of Accretion

When a boundary between land and water alters so slowly that the change is not readily noticeable, the process is known in Common Law as the Doctrine of Accretion.

The current guideline explains in general terms the effect that alterations in boundaries between land and water can have on land ownership, with particular application to the interests of the department.

The guide covers definitions and legal principles of accretion and diluvion and discusses the application of the doctrine in relation to:

  • freehold land
  • Crown land
  • reserved Crown land along marine frontage
  • lake abutting freehold
  • rivers, streams and watercourses.

The guide also covers amendment of title and involvement of the DELWP.

The Doctrine of Accretion (PDF, 598.7 KB)

Rivers and their impact on cadastral boundaries in Victoria

These Surveyor-General Practice guidelines take the form of case studies that demonstrate the impact of moving rivers on cadastral boundaries.

The guidelines emphasise the significance and importance of the:

  • 1881 Order In Council, by which land along 280 rivers was permanently reserved
  • 1905 Water Act, which clarified the term 'bed and banks'
  • 1850 Separation Act, which dealt with the Murray River as the state boundary.

The role of the Surveyor-General as an arbitrator, providing authoritative determination of boundaries is discussed and the role of the licensed surveyor as a planner and land manager.

River Boundary Determination (PDF, 2.9 MB)

Determination of the state border between New South Wales and Victoria along the Murray River

These guidelines have been issued by the Surveyors-General of New South Wales and Victoria to assist surveyors determine land boundaries that form part of the state border along the Murray River. The aim of the guidelines is to bring some consistency into determinations made in individual surveys, by providing information on past legislation and legal precedents used in previous determinations. The guidelines are based on the best available information and opinion at this time, but is subject to further interpretation at law.

NSW-VIC Border Determination (PDF, 3.2 MB)

Sample Plan - Plan View (PDF, 604.9 KB)

Sample Plan - Cross Section View (PDF, 446.9 KB)

Further information

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Page last updated: 09/06/20