Rare 1860 printing of Abel Tasman's manuscript map of Australia and New Zealand, published by the famed Dutch Van Keulen sea chart publishing family .
Map of the travels of Abel Tasman in 1642 and 1644, showing Australia joined to Tasmania and New Guinea by a hypothetical south and east coast. Depth shown by soundings. Fine depiction of this important early Dutch map of Australia and New Zealand, commonly attributed to Abel Tasman but drawn originally from many sources by the Dutch East India Company and inspired by Tasman's 1642 discoveries. '
Under orders issued by Governor General van Dieman, Abel Tasman set out in 1642 to discover new lands in the southern latitudes. He first discovered Tamania (which he named Van Dieman's Land) in November 1642, on his first voyage, later discovering New Zealand as well as the Fiji Islands. In February 1644, he headed another exploratory mission as directed by the Dutch East India Company, sailing to the south coast of New Guinea to chart any coastline sited of the 'Southland'. But on their return in August 1644, no strait had been discovered south of New Guinea and no sightings of the eastern coast of Australia were reported. Nevertheless, the Dutch East India Company, drawing on Tasman's recent observations and those of previous Dutch explorers, had formed a reasonable estimation of the shape of this southern continent. Naming it 'Compagnis Niew Nederland' or the Company's New Holland, they drew up this composite map (referred to now as the Tasman Composite Chart) featuring a sweeping hypothetical eastern coastline which is nevertheless fairly realistic. The northeast tip of Australia is the greatest discrepancy projecting as far north as New Ireland in the Bismarck Archipelago and adjoined with New Guinea.
The map illustrated here was first printed in 1859 in an uncolored edition (see National Library of Australia Copy) and the following year in full color, as seen here. This edition is very rare, with only 2 locations in Dutch institutions and 3 in New Zealand Institutions, plus the 1859 example in the National Library of Australia. No examples noted in American institutions.