Maps of Australia & Oceania
This collection contains both Maps of Australia and Maps of New Zealand, some of the history of which is shown in the text below. Brief sections are given; discussing the main contributions made by cartographers of the time.
Although Europeans did not discover Australia - a flourishing Aboriginal culture already existed there - they were the driving force behind the mapping of the continent. Europeans imagined land in the southern hemisphere long before it was seen by explorers. The unknown continent gradually changed as more land was charted and the real shape of the Australian continent began to emerge.
Maps of Australasia
A map of the East Indies by Willem Blaeu shows the first European discoveries along the Cape York Peninsula. Early in 1606, towards the northern tip of the peninsula, Willem Jansz made here what was almost certainly the first landing by Europeans in Australia. This map first appeared in 1635 and was reprinted unchanged until 1664.
Originally published in 1630, Henricus Hondius produced the first world map to show the earliest European discoveries in Australia. Dutchman Willem Jansz came across the western coast of the Cape York Peninsula early in 1606. This new land is shown on the extreme right of the map, disconnected from the mythical Terra Australis Incognita. The map was included, virtually unchanged, in atlases for over 30 years.
The Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company, founded in 1602, controlled much of the trade in the region in the mid-seventeenth century. En route to the Spice Islands of the Pacific they discovered further parts of the Australian coast.
In 1642 and 1644 Abel Tasman embarked on two separate voyages which filled many of the gaps in Dutch knowledge of the western and northern coasts. He also encountered Tasmania which he dutifully called Van Diemen's Land after his sponsor, Anthony van Diemen, Governor General of the Dutch East Indies. Abel Tasmanís chartings of the western and northern coastlines of Australia were included by Vincenzo Coronellis on his famous map of Asia.
One of the few maps from the 1700's devoted entirely to Australia was drawn by Jacques Bellin, hydrographer to the French King Louis XIV. He added a hypothetical coast line joining Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania - a note says that this is included without proof. It is further suggested that New Zealand might be part of the great southern continent.
James Cook was the first person to map and explore the east coast of Australia. On 29 April 1770, on the southern peninsula of Botany Bay, James Cook made his first landing on Australian soil. Together with botanist Joseph Banks he formed a very favourable opinion of the area, which they spent a week exploring.
A General chart of Terra Australis or Australia showing parts explored between 1798 and 1803 was published in the atlas that accompanied Matthew Flinders' Voyage to Terra Australia. This atlas was an account of his 1801-1803 journey in HMS Investigator during which he confirmed that the eastern and western parts of the continent were not separate land masses and filled in many gaps in British knowledge of the coastline. On his homeward journey Flinders was imprisoned in Mauritius from 1803 to 1810 - hence the delay in publication. Discoveries made since 1803 were included in the chart to make it of immediate use to navigators. The chart contains the first known use by Flinders or any other navigator of the name 'Australia' for the island continent as we know it today.
From 1788 British settlements began to be established on the Australian coastline. Those in Western Australia encountered considerable problems in attracting colonists: convicts were excluded and free immigrants tended to prefer the eastern settlements. Several editions of the illustrated atlas were published between 1851 and about 1865. The maps were engraved on steel plates, were constantly revised and combined accurate cartography with decorative art, reviving a tradition commenced by the seventeenth century Dutch cartographers.
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