Neatline invites you to embark on a captivating journey through time and space with this large and magnificently lithographed case map of Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania as British colonies. Sectioned and mounted on its original linen backing, the map folds elegantly into the publisher’s cloth covers adorned with gilt-blocked embellishments. Once unfurled, richly colored details, meticulously finished by hand, bring this extraordinary map to life. Although the case bears some signs of wear and the map displays moderate soiling, we consider these marks of authenticity that only enhance the map’s allure and underscore its historical importance.
The map was published in Edinburgh in 1861 and stands as a testament to the proficiency and precision of British cartographers at the time. Within the folds of this map lies one of the most accurate and detailed renditions of the Australian continent and a visual feast that celebrates this vast expanse in all its grandeur. The meticulously crafted legend reveals the daring paths charted by eleven intrepid explorers who risked their lives trying to better understand the enormous interior. Each route is intricately documented on the map, providing a glimpse into the arduous travels undertaken by these pioneers as they ventured into uncharted territory.
Throughout the map, one finds numbered county indices that provide invaluable guidance through the vast Australian landscape. These indices unlock the secrets of regional divisions, allowing the viewer to navigate the map with ease and, in doing so, uncover the intricate tapestry of Australia’s great geographical diversity. Carefully designed insets allow viewers to delve into the story of Australia. Marvel at the intricacies of the Colony of Victoria, with its bustling cities and verdant landscapes; immerse yourself in the historical significance of Port Jackson and Botany Bay by tracing the contours of the environs of Sydney; or traverse the vibrant landscapes of Port Phillip to land in the bustling metropolis of Melbourne. Furthermore, for those more prone to romantic adventure, the Mount Alexander Gold Region was one of many places in Australia where dreams of fortune took root in the Victorian Era.
In addition to Australia itself, the map offers detailed coverage of the island colonies of Tasmania (Van Diemen’s Land) and New Zealand, some of the most distant holdings of the British Empire. A Sketch Map at the bottom of the map depicts the principal commercial routes to Australia and is a perfect testament to the continent’s crucial role in creating fully global trade systems.
Ultimately, this large-format map allows viewers to uncover the natural wonders and historical accomplishments of Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. Embedded within this fine compilation, we find the rich tapestry of geographical, cultural, and ecological diversity that characterizes the great southern continent and a by-line to the dramatic history of its exploration and discovery.
While this exceptional map may have eluded the pages of Tooley’s renowned catalog, its rarity only adds to its allure and significance. With only two known institutional copies in existence, housed within the National Library of Australia and the State Library of New South Wales (OCLC no. 224644305), this map is not just a milestone in, but a treasure of, Australia’s cartographic history.