Auction status
User login
Catalogue

  Find us on Facebook


Mapping of Australia.

Many Australians still believe Captain Cook 'discovered' Australia in 1770. In reality, the first historically documented European contact occurred more than 160 years before Cook when Willem Janszoon in the Duyfken charted more than 300 kilometres of the Australian coastline.
Numerous Dutch encounters would follow; with next year's 400th anniversary of Dirk Hartog’s landing in Western Australian on 25 October 1616. Dirk Hartog made landfall with his ship the Eendracht at Dirk Hartog Island in the Shark Bay area and it marks the 400th anniversary of the first Dutch contact with Western Australia. Join us in the commemorations, celebrations and community activities during this special year. See Dirk Hartog 2016 web site

William Dampier, the English buccaneer, also visited the Western Australian coastline twice, in 1688 and 1699, famously offering unfavourable observations about the landscape and the Indigenous people he encountered—'the miserablest People in the World'.

Theoretical and hearsay mapping
The history of the cartography of Australia has certain unique features. Alone among the continents of the world it was imagined long before its actual discovery. The voyages of Marco Polo in the thirteenth century with his report of the Kingdoms of Beach, Lucach and Maletur, to the far south greatly strengthened this idea, and these names appear on many early maps roughly in the position actually occupied by Australia, Beach in particular approximating to York Peninsula.

The discovery of America gave a great impetus to exploration generally. There are no early maps exclusively of Australia. Parts appeard on World, Asia or South East Asian maps, and it was variously called Terra Australis Incognita, Land of the South, Company's New Netherlands or New Holland on Dutch maps, and the native name Ulimaroa.
This name was first used in 1776 by the eccentric Swedish geographer Daniel Djurberg and, subsequently, by a number of other European cartographers until around 1850. More about Where in the World is Ulimaroa

From Terra Australis Incognita to Hollandia Nova.
In 1606, Willem Jansz. in the Duyfken was the first European to see the north-east coast of Australia.
In 1616, a navigational error brought Dirk Hartog, master of the VOC ship De Eendracht, to the west coast of the South Land that European seafarers had never seen, though they suspected its existence. The land is found on early maps as "Eendracht Land".
Several voyages of exploration followed in the first half of the seventeenth century.
In 1642 Abel Tasman sailed around Australia, after which the name Terra Australis Incognita was replaced on maps by Hollandia Nova.

Willem Blaeu (1634)
Among the very few printed regional maps to show an Australian coastline prior to Tasman's discoveries is the very rare proofstate of a map of the South Asia published by Willem Blaeu map in his first edition, first issue of the German edition of the "Novus Atlas" of 1634.
It was the first popular map to depict part of Australia (together with New Guinea) i.e. at bottom right the west coast of Carpentaria and the NW top of Australia with the following names: 't Hoge Landt, Rivier van Speult, Rivier Batavia, Water plaets, Rivier Coen, Vereenighde Rivier, Rivier Nassau, Staten Rivier, G.F.de Wits landt, Willems Rivier, 't Landt van D'Eendracht and Trail. New Guinea is incorrectly shown as being part of the Australian mainland.

Thevenot (1664)
Thevenot's map of Australia which is the first published large-scale map of Australia and the first French map to record Tasman's 1642-42 and 1644 discoveries in both Australia and New Zealand.
Including detailed nomenclature of Tasman's voyages such as "Terre de Diemens decouverte le 24 Novembre", The west coast discoveries by Dirk Hartog in 1616, Houtman 1619, the Leewin's in 1622, Carstensz 1623, Gerrit de Witt 1628 and Pieter Nuyts voyage of 1627.
We offer in this auction a very fine example in a FIRST STATE.
The only other map of Australia to precede Thevenot's map is the little known miniature map by Claes Visscher 'T'Landt van Eendracht' published in his 1649 'Tabularum Geographarum..' (known only in one copy).

Louis Freycinet (1811)
Fine map of the continent of Australia prepared by Louis Freycinet during his voyage under Captain Thomas Baudin in 1800-1803. Freycinet's map of New Holland was the first 'complete' map printed of the Australian coast. In the bottom left corner are shown the three ships of the Baudin voyage; the Géographe, Naturaliste, and Casuarina.
Although Matthew Flinders was the first person to circumnavigate Australia, in Her Majesty’s ship the Investigator between 1801-03, ironically, it is the French who lay claim to publishing the first complete map of the Australian continent. Freycinet’s map was published in France in 1811 three years before Flinders’ own chart and appeared in the official account of the 1801-1804 French voyage to Australia commanded by Nicolas Baudin.

Though the coastline was known by 1820, little attempt was made to show any features of the interior. It was not until the nineteenth century that some indications began to be given, for example a mountainous east coast by Lapie in 1809. Occasionally the Hawksbury and Swan Rivers were indicated.
It was John Arrowsmith who was most prominent in revealing the inland cartography of Australia.


Interesting reading
- Tooley, R.V. The Mapping of Australia and Antarctica. London: The Holland Press Ltd., 1979.
The revised 1985 edition has an addendum on early Antarctica. Extensive lists of maps with comments on variant editions.

- Robert Clancy, The ma^pping of Terra Australis.
- Günter Schilder, Australia Unveiled. (1976)
- The National Library of Australia, Mapping Our World exhibition catalogue. - Sydney, Gowrie Galleries, The Printed World, Volume I: (1997)
The Printed World, Volume II: an exhibition of antique maps of the world, Australia & S.E. Asia. (1997)
The Printed World, Volume III: in search of southern soil. (2000)
The Printed World, Volume IV: the arrival of the Dutch in Australia. (2002)
The Printed World, Volume V: beyond settlement : containing the Preeston collection of rare early Australian. (2004)

- The Royal Western Australian Historical Society Inc. (RWAHS) will publish a small book about the life and times, maritime voyages and explorations of Dirk Hartog. The publication is a joint initiative by researchers of the RWAHS and the Nationaal Archief (National Archives) of the Netherlands. The book, expected to be launched in August 2016, will be available for purchase at the RWAHS’ bookshop in Perth and can be ordered online through the RWAHS website.


Some samples of maps of Australia currently available



Go to Top

Author: Paulus Swaen ©2017