Highly detailed map of Victoria, from the Weekly Dispatch Atlas.
The map was published only a few years after creation of Victoria as a separate colony from New South Wales. The first petition for the separation of the Port Phillip District (or 'Australia Felix') from New South Wales was drafted in 1840 by Henry Fyshe Gisborne and presented by him to Governor Gipps. Gipps, who had previously been in favour of separation, rejected the petition.
Agitation of the Port Phillip settlers continued and led to the establishment of Port Phillip District as a separate colony on July 1, 1851. The British Act of Parliament separating Port Phillip District from New South Wales, and naming the new colony "Victoria" (after Queen Victoria) and providing it with a Constitution, was signed by Queen Victoria on August 5, 1850. In 1851, the white population of the new colony was still only 77,000, and only 23,000 people lived in Melbourne. Melbourne had already become a centre of Australia's wool export trade.
'The Weekly Dispatch' newspaper between the years 1856 and 1862 included in each edition a map of a part of the world. During this period a total of 118 maps were issued. The maps bear the distinctive sign of a half globe with the figure of Mercury above. The engravers varied but included John Dower and Edward Weller.
In 1863 ' The Dispatch Atlas' was published which contained a series of English county maps. The two were combined in 1865 as 'Cassell's Complete Atlas'. With many maps in a large scale of areas not often seen, including a number a town plans.