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Blog post from Saturday, 22 March, 2014


The Bonaparte Tasman Map

The Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC) was established on 20th March 1602 and operated until 1796.

Dutch navigator Abel Janszoon Tasman was commissioned to explore the southern oceans and find new trading markets for the VOC. On his first voyage in 1642-1643, Tasman charted Tasmania, the west coast of New Zealand, the Tonga and Fiji islands, and the north coast of New Guinea, becoming the first explorer to do so.

On his second voyage in 1644, Tasman unsuccessfully tried to chart a passage to the rich trading markets of South America. Although he charted the south west coast of New Guinea and much of Australia’s previously unknown northern coastline, the exploration was deemed unsuccessful. The famous and significant Tasman map is one of few documentary sources relating to this voyage.

In recognition of the significance of this map, a marble mosaic reproduction forms part of the floor of Mitchell Library vestibule.