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Two Charts of Cook's Australian Discoveries on his First Voyage

Great set of two maps illustrating notable points during Cook's First Voyage, the second representing one of the earliest maps to show any part of present-day Sydney. These two maps first appeared in Strahan and Cadell's An Account of the Voyages Undertaken by the Order of His Present Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemispheres, the definitive first official account of Cook's first voyage. The maps were engraved by John Gibson and Thomas Bowen.

The first of the two maps charts the entrance of the Endeavour River, showing the area around present-day Cooktown, Queensland. The entrance of the river is displayed with the locations of freshwater sources and various soundings. Cook was marooned in the vicinity of this river mouth for seven weeks after hitting part of the Great Barrier Reef. Cook and his crew explored the region while making repairs to the ship, and made contact with local aboriginal tribes.

The second of the two maps shows Botany Bay, in southern Sydney. Cook was the first European to visit the bay, and named the bay after the large amount of botanical specimens collected (though he first bestowed the name "stingray bay" due to the prevalence of these creatures). This map also shows fantastic detail, naming Cape Banks and Cape Solander.

Cook's First Voyage circumnavigated the globe starting in 1768 with two goals: to observe the transit of Venus from the South Pacific and to attempt to discover the Terra Australis Incognita. Along the way, Cook discovered many new locations, particularly in the South Pacific, New Zealand, and Australia.

John Gibson Biography

John Gibson flourished in London from 1748 to 1773. He was most likely born ca. 1724. As a young man he was apprenticed to John Blunbell of the Stationers Company, and then to John Pine. He was made free of the Company in 1748. Gibson proved a talented geographer and engraver who produced numerous maps, especially for books and magazines. He worked in collaboration with other map sellers such as Emanuel Bowen and John Roque. His best-known work was the pocket atlas, The Atlas Minimus (1758). Although little is known about his life beyond his publications, he was imprisoned for debt in King’s Bench from May to June of 1765.