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Corsali’s ‘Southern Cross’ finds permanent home at the State Library

A sketch of a star constellation in an old printed book, propped up on a map.


The Library has just acquired the earliest printed illustration and description of the Southern Cross by 16th century Italian adventurer Andrea Corsali.

It was during his 1516 ocean voyage from Lisbon to Cochin (Kochi), India that Corsali observed a distinct array of stars - “a marveylous crosse”- pointing towards the South Pole. He wrote to his patron Guiliano de’ Medici with detailed news of all that he saw and experienced, including this iconic illustration.

The Medici organised for the letter to be printed and only four copies are known to exist!

The Library’s edition is now on display in the Amaze Gallery.

Read news of this rare and wonderful acquisition online at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Read the media release