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Rare large format sea chart of Southwestern Australia, published by the French Hydrgraphical Department.

The chart extends from Terre De Witt (Cape Lambert and Barrow Island) in the northwest to Port Lincoln and Wangary in South Ausralia, just west of Adelaide. 

Inset maps include:

  • Plan du Port Grey nomme aussi Baie Champion
  • Plan de l'entree de la Riviere des Cygnes (Swan River) et de Ile Rottenest, as surveyed by J.L. Stokes
  • Plan du Havre Peel dans la Baie Warnbro
  • Plan de la Baie Warnbro 

The areas around Perth and Fremantle are shown, extending inland to Beverley, York, Bejoording, Toodjoy and Northam on the Swan River, just 17 years after the founding of the Swan River Coloy.


The chart is rare on the market. We locate only a single example at auction in the past 20 years.

Depot de la Marine Biography

The Dépôt de la Marine, known more formally as the Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine, was the central charting institution of France. The centralization of hydrography in France began in earnest when Jean-Baptiste Colbert became First Minister of France in 1661. Under his watch, the first Royal School of Hydrography began operating, as did the first survey of France’s coasts (1670-1689). In 1680, Colbert consolidated various collections of charts and memoirs into a single assemblage, forming the core of sources for what would become the Dépôt.

The Dépôt itself began as the central deposit of charts for the French Navy. In 1720, the Navy consolidated its collection with those government materials covering the colonies, creating a single large repository of navigation. By 1737, the Dépôt was creating its own original charts and, from 1750, they participated in scientific expeditions to determine the accurate calculation of longitude.

In 1773, the Dépôt received a monopoly over the composition, production, and distribution of navigational materials, solidifying their place as the main producer of geographic knowledge in France.  Dépôt-approved charts were distributed to official warehouses in port cities and sold by authorized merchants. The charts were of the highest quality, as many of France’s premier mapmakers worked at the Dépôt in the eighteenth century, including Philippe Bauche, Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, Rigobert Bonne, Jean Nicolas Buache, and Charles-François Beautemps-Beaupré.

The Dépôt continued to operate until 1886, when it became the Naval Hydrographic Service. In 1971, it changed names again, this time to the Naval and Oceanographic Service (SHOM). Although its name has changed, its purpose is largely the same, to provide high quality cartographic and scientific information to the France’s Navy and merchant marine.