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Fine Map of Australia and New Zealand

Scarce map of New Holland and New Zealand, first published in David Burr's Universal Atlas.

While the map bears the copyright date of 1834, Rumsey indicates that the atlas was not published until 1835.

Australia and New Zealand form the east-west axis of the map, breaking the neat line on both sides. Numerous islands are also included, such as Norfolk Island, a penal colony; the New Hebrides, now Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. Part of New Guinea and a few islands of southeastern Indonesia are also featured.

The map includes a very early and primitive look at the interior of Australia. The toponyms are clustered on the coasts, with place names from the first James Cook voyage (1768-1771), the Baudin voyage (1800-1803), and the Flinders circumnavigation of the continent (1801-1803). Indeed, the latter is credited as the first to use the name of Australia.

There are older place names on Australia as well. New South Wales, in the east, is the name given to that area after Cook’s encounter with the coast in late-eighteenth century. New Holland, here on the west of Australia, refers to the Dutch encounters with the shore in the seventeenth century.

Starting in the north and continuing westward counter-clockwise, Arnhems Land refers to the Arnhem, a Dutch East India ship which sighted the area in 1623. De Witts Land recalls Gerrit Frederikszoon de Witt, captain of the Vianen, which sailed in 1628. Edels Land is named for Jacob d’Edel. In the Amsterdam, along with Frederik de Houtman in the Dordrecht, d’Edel came within sight of the western coast in 1619. They called the stretch of land d’Edelsland.

Dampier’s Land, also in the west, recalls William Dampier. Dampier, an English pirate and privateer, spent time in Australia during his stint as a naval commander on a voyage to find the Great Southern Continent at the turn of the eighteenth-century. He is credited as being Australia’s first natural historian, but also with describing aboriginal peoples in an especially pejorative manner.

To the east is New Zealand. It is drawn according to Cook’s influential map. The first missionaries had arrived in 1814 and, by the 1830s, were making inroads in baptizing the Maori. However, the Maori were still the strongest power on the islands at this time, although their situation would sadly deteriorate as more white settlers arrived throughout the nineteenth century.

David Hugh Burr Biography

David H. Burr studied law, passing the New York Bar Exam, and then surveying under Simeon DeWitt in New York. His first atlas was an atlas of New York State (1829), the second state atlas to be issued in the US (after Mills’ Atlas of South Carolina in 1826). In the 1830s, he served as the official topographer for the US Post Office, producing a series of rare and highly sought-after large-format state maps. He also created a map of the country’s postal routes, which features roads, canals, and railroads. Burr traveled to London to work with John Arrowsmith; together, they produced the American Atlas in 1839.

Upon his return to the States, Burr was appointed as a draftsman for the House of Representatives, where he worked until ca. 1841. He later worked for the Louisiana Survey and the Florida Survey. By 1850, he was back in Washington D. C., working on the census. In 1852, the Senate named Burr as the draftsman to compile maps from the Federal Surveys. In 1853, Burr traveled to San Francisco, perhaps as part of his work for the Senate. He was then named as the Surveyor General of Utah in 1855. However, he was unpopular there and returned to Washington D. C. by 1870. Burr is widely regarded as one of the most important names in the nineteenth-century American history of cartography.