a soldier, arrived on the Prince of Wales as surveyor of lands. Born in 1731 in London, the son of Justice Heinrich and Jeanetta Alt, he became an ensign in the British army in 1755. Because of his knowledge of German he had to conduct Hanorverian troops to various quarters in England. He saw service in France and Germany, built roads in the Scottish Highlands, was instructed in Russian military exercises, helped raise the Manchester Volunteers, and served with them at the siege of Gibraltar in 1779. He was made an assistant engineer and helped to raise three battalions of Swiss chasseurs for East India in 1785.
At Botany Bay, besides his post as surveyor, Alt was a member of the commission to try pirates and of the vice-admiralty court; he was also a justice of the peace.
In November 1788 Alt accompanied Phillip to the upper reaches of Sydney Harbour in search of suitable farming land. In early 1790 he was living with convict Ann George and their first child, Lucy, was born on 30 October. By November 1791, aged 60, he asked Phillip for relief as surveyor-general because of ill health. His active duties were taken over while he continued to hold office and draw up the surveyor's returns.
In 1798, his house on 100 acres at Petersham - Hermitage Farm - was burnt down. A son, Henry George was born in 1799; and Lucy died in 1806. In 1810 Alt was granted 280 acres adjoining his property. On his retirement in 1802, Alt lived on a half salary retainer. He died on 9 January 1815, shortly after Ann George, and was buried in a table monument at St Johns, Parramatta.
Alt drew up the first plans for Sydney town, with wide avenues and a planned expansion - rather than the ramshackle debacle it had grown into.
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