The Tasman Map

The Tasman Map is hand drawn on delicate Japanese paper. It bears the arms of the City of Amsterdam. Just below the Tropic of Capricorn are the tracks of Abel Tasman's two ships Heemskerck and Zeehaen.

The map combines the results of Abel Tasman's first (1642-1643) and second (1644) voyages with those of earlier Dutch navigators. It shows a surprisingly accurate general outline of the Australian coastline.

Princess George of Greece presented the original Tasman Map to the Library in 1931. The origins of the map are uncertain. Once thought to have been drawn under Tasman's personal supervision - possibly by his chief pilot, Franz Jacobszoon Visscher - it now seems likely that the map was created c. 1695, derived from an imperfect original map, itself compiled in 1644 from authentic original maps, including those of Tasman's two voyages.

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Carten dese landen Zin ontdeckt bij de compangie ontdeckers behaluen het norder deelt van noua guina ende het West Eynde van Java dit Warck aldus bij mallecanderen geuoecht ut verscheijden schriften als mede ut eijgen beuinding bij abel Jansen Tasman ... [Bonaparte Tasman map], 1644, by Abel Janszoon Tasman, Map, ML 863

> View the Tasman Map via the Library's online catalogue View the Library's catalogue record

In recognition of the Tasman Map's significance, a stunning marble mosaic reproduction forms part of the floor of the historic Mitchell Library vestibule at the State Library of New South Wales. The mosaic, which was created by Sydney craftsmen the Melocco Brothers in 1939, took many hours of painstaking and accurate work to complete.

Mosaic construction by Melocco Brothers 1939-1941
Tasman Map reproduction in the Mitchell Vestibule

sponsored by the Bruce and Joy Reid foundation