Rare 17th century map of Australia to be showcased

The `rarest of rare` map in the world, a 17th century depiction of New Holland created in 1663 and considered by many to be Australia`s birth certificate will be showcased in the capital city of Canberra.

PTI| Updated: Oct 09, 2013, 13:17 PM IST

Melbourne: The `rarest of rare` map in the world, a 17th century depiction of New Holland created in 1663 and considered by many to be Australia`s birth certificate will be showcased in the capital city of Canberra.

The large-scale map -- Archipelagus Orientalis, sive Asiaticus (the Eastern and Asian archipelago) -- was created by master cartographer for the Dutch East India Company, Joan Blaeu.

Four conservators are working to stabilise the map for the `Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia` exhibition at the National Library next month that will also feature many of the world`s greatest maps, including treasures from the British Library, the Vatican and the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, ABC report today.
Actor Russell Crowe, who has an interest in maps, will open the exhibition on November 7.

The map formed the basis of all other maps of New Holland and was used by Captain James Cook to complete the mapping of Australia in 1770.
"For the first time we can show you the rarest of rare, the map which is considered by many to be Australia`s birth certificate," said National Library of Australia Council chair Ryan Stokes said.

"It`s the first map that tells the rest of the world where we are.

"What you see is a rare, fragile and remarkable piece of Australian history," he said.

Curator Martin Woods said: "It`s the first time Tasmania appears on a map. It`s the first time Australia is named by the Dutch and it`s the first time New Zealand is named by the Dutch.
"It represents 40 years of Dutch discoveries in Australia and was really there as a status symbol... Of the Dutch prowess in the Pacific and Indian oceans."

The ‘map’ was recovered - three years ago in a storage facility in Sweden and sent to the Australian library, the report said.

"The fact it survived at all is remarkable, and probably owes much to the fact no-one knew it existed for about a century," Stokes said.
"It was created 350 years ago, and we know that it was displayed in a public building or perhaps a private palace in the Netherlands but we know nothing until 1950 where it is recorded in a sale catalogue of a Stockholm antique map dealer," Woods said.