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For the first time, visitors to the State Library can explore five centuries of cartography from around the world in one place with the opening of the new Map Rooms.
Across two beautiful rooms visitors will find some of the most important maps, globes and navigation instruments from the Library's maps collection - arguably the most significant in Australia.
According to State Librarian John Vallance: "The Map Rooms have been designed for everyone, but we hope they will also encourage specialist cartographic research."
One of the major highlights is a chart of the Indian Ocean and Asia — one of only four copies in the world — printed on vellum by Jacob Colom in 1633.
Other highlights include:
- an extremely rare 1515 map by Albrecht Dürer and Johannes Stabius depicting the world as a sphere;
- a beautiful hand-coloured copy of the iconic nineteen counties (the legal boundaries of the colony up to that date) map produced by Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1834;
- the recently acquired silver punchbowl in the shape of a globe (with Antarctica sitting on its lid) commissioned by botanist Sir Joseph Banks in 1772;
- the 1940 Tindale map showing the distribution of Aboriginal nations in NSW; and
a selection of rare early maps showing the gradual colonisation and expansion of Sydney from a penal settlement to a bustling metropolis.
The Map Rooms are located on the first floor of the Mitchell Building, open every day.
The Map Rooms have been made possible by the Library Foundation, thanks to the generosity of private donors.