The Library is open. See frequently asked questions.


Due to essential maintenance, digital image viewers in the old catalogue will be temporarily unavailable between 1 pm and 4 pm (AEDT) this Thursday, 9 December 2021. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Exquisita & magno aliquot mensium periculo …1630

by Gerhard Mercator

This chart of the southern tip of South America includes many of the extravagant decorative features perfected by mapmakers in the 17th century. The ornate strapwork of the cartouche is supported by two penguins, and profiles of the cliffs encountered along the strait sit within a separate cartouche. Note that the compass rose points downward, indicating north is at the bottom of the chart.

Tierra del Fuego lies within the imagined southern continent as Cape Horn had still not been explored and charted. It was only in 1616 that Le Maire and Schouten rounded the tip of South America.