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Cook's maps

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As well as the intriguing legacy of his journal observations, Cook also left a visual one, drawing maps of the journey as he went. Bound into the end of the Mitchell Library’s copy of Cook’s journal are several engraved maps based on Cook's drawings. These maps, including details of Botany Bay and the Endeavour River, were produced after the expedition returned to England, and it isn’t known when they were bound in with the log.

View Cook’s Endeavour journal via the Library’s catalogue

Old map noted as chart  of the part of the South Sea with maps of Australia,New Zealand, Borneo, South America
James Cook - A Journal of the proceedings of His Majesty's Bark Endeavour on a voyage round the world, by Lieutenant James Cook, Commander, commencing the 25th of May 1768 - 23 Oct. 1770
27 May 1768-23 Oct. 1770
Cook, James, 1728-1779
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Digital ID: 
a3430358
Old map of New South Wales, Australia coastline, marked as Chart of New South Wales or East Coast of New Holland
James Cook - A Journal of the proceedings of His Majesty's Bark Endeavour on a voyage round the world, by Lieutenant James Cook, Commander, commencing the 25th of May 1768 - 23 Oct. 1770 (New South Wales or East Coast of New Holland)
27 May 1768-23 Oct. 1770
Cook, James, 1728-1779
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Digital ID: 
a3430359
Old map dated 1769 with drawing of three islands named Chart of the Island Otaheite by Lieut. J. Cook 1769
James Cook - A Journal of the proceedings of His Majesty's Bark Endeavour on a voyage round the world, by Lieutenant James Cook, Commander, commencing the 25th of May 1768 - 23 Oct. 1770 - Chart of Otaheite by Lieut. J. Cook 1769
27 May 1768-23 Oct. 1770
Cook, James, 1728-1779
View collection item detail
Digital ID: 
a3430361
Old map of New Zealand noted Chart of New Zealand explored in 1769 and 1770 by Lieut. Cook Commander of His Majesty's Bark Endeavour
James Cook - A Journal of the proceedings of His Majesty's Bark Endeavour on a voyage round the world, by Lieutenant James Cook, Commander, commencing the 25th of May 1768 - 23 Oct. 1770 - Map of New Zealand explored by 1769 and 1770
Cook, James, 1728-1779
Cook, James, 1728-1779
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Digital ID: 
a3430364
Old map drawn noted Chart of Cook's Strait in New Zealand
James Cook - A Journal of the proceedings of His Majesty's Bark Endeavour on a voyage round the world, by Lieutenant James Cook, Commander, commencing the 25th of May 1768 - 23 Oct. 1770 - Chart of Cook's Strait in New Zealand
Cook, James, 1728-1779
Cook, James, 1728-1779
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Digital ID: 
a3430365
Old map drawing of Chart of Part of the Coast of New South Wales, from Cape Tribulation to Endeavour Straits by Lieut. J. Cook 1770
James Cook - A Journal of the proceedings of His Majesty's Bark Endeavour on a voyage round the world, by Lieutenant James Cook, Commander, commencing the 25th of May 1768 - 23 Oct. 1770 - Chart of Part of Coast of New South Wales
Cook, James, 1728-1779
Cook, James, 1728-1779
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Digital ID: 
a3430366
Old map drawings of coastline, trees and mangroves of Entrance of Endeavour River, in New South Wales and Botany Bay
James Cook - A Journal of the proceedings of His Majesty's Bark Endeavour on a voyage round the world, by Lieutenant James Cook, Commander, commencing the 25th of May 1768 - 23 Oct. 1770 - Entrance of Endeavour River and Botany Bay Maps
27 May 1768-23 Oct. 1770
Cook, James, 1728-1779
View collection item detail
Digital ID: 
a3430367


New South Wales on the map

In early 1772, Joseph Banks commissioned from John Bayly, engraver to the British Museum, an engraving of a 1770 chart that traced Captain James Cook's survey of the coastline of eastern Australia and of New Zealand.

Banks intended the map to highlight the achievements of the captain’s first voyage and promote Cook’s second expedition, illustrating regions yet to be explored including the Southern Ocean and polar regions. Eventually, Banks withdrew from the expedition and instead mounted an expedition to Iceland.

Inscribed with the name New South Wales, this is the first printed map that features the eastern coastline of Australia with the name Cook bestowed on it, along with the islands of New Zealand.

A decorative masterpiece

This beautiful first-edition map by European cartographer Antonio Zatta is the first decorative map to show Cook’s sea tracks in the Pacific.

It records discoveries made during his Endeavour voyage to Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and the South Pacific, during 1769–1770, as well as showing the tracks of Commodore Byron with Captain Mouat in 1765 and Samuel Wallis aboard the Dolphin, partnering Phillip Carteret commanding the Swallow in 1767.

The charting of the east coast of Australia and New Zealand is shown in detail, based on Cook’s map of the region, the ‘Chart of part of the South Seas’. The decorative hand-coloured vignette at the bottom of the map features a ship that is almost certainly Cook’s ship, the Endeavour. Antonio Zatta also published a beautifully produced set of atlases, Atlante Novissimo, which included the discoveries of Cook.


See also a fascinating jigsaw puzzle Map of the world according to the latest discoveries, including the tract of Cook, via the Library’s catalogue

This story has been developed with the support of the State Library of NSW Foundation.

We would like to acknowledge the generosity of the Bruce and Joy Reid Foundation.