Rare Early State
A fascinating map Australia from the important James Wyld map sequence featuring discoveries from recent expeditions into the interior.
Issued between 1833 and the 1870s, Wyld's sequence of maps of Australia captures in a single series the evolving exploration and understanding of Australia's interior at a time when it was first largely unknown.
Wyld's map captures Australia in 1838 when the coastlines of the subcontinent were well defined following the explorations of Matthew Flinders and others, however, a majority of the interior remained a complete enigma. Most of the settlement is concentrated in two regions, the 18 counties in New South Wales (which then included all of Queensland) centered around Sydney and the 14 counties centered around Perth in Western Australia (still referred to as 'New Holland'). South Australia, the only state with defined borders, is depicted, however, Victoria remains unorganized territory called 'Australia Felix', shown more than a decade before the gold rush. Van Diemen's Land or Tasmania, which is detailed in a large inset, shows development in its westerns regions with nine counties having been laid out.
Importantly the map depicts the earliest discoveries in the interior, especially with respect to the conspicuous detail in the interior of what in now Victoria and the far southern part of New South Wales. The early results of Sir Thomas Mitchell's earliest explorations are shown, but Hamilton Hume's discovery of the overland route from Sydney to Port Philipp (the future site of Melbourne), as well as the Darling River, the Murray River's longest tributary, is not yet shown. Knowledge of the Murray Basin and surrounding regions would later be upon by the expeditions of Charles Sturt from 1828 to 1830 and Sir Thomas Mitchell from 1831 to 1836, but is not yet shown on this edition of the map. Mitchell had previously been responsible for the mapping of the settled regions of New South Wales as shown on this map, an achievement for which he received his knighthood.
The present map is one of Wyld's the sequence of continually updated maps of Australia, the first state of which appeared in 1833. The series is of great historical importance for it played a definitive role in recording the rapid progress of exploration and development during Australia's formative years. James Wyld (1812-87) was then one of the world's leading mapmakers, holding the title of official Geographer to Queen Victoria.
Early editions of the map (pre-1840 are rare on the market).
James Wyld Sr. (1790-1836) was a British cartographer and one of Europe’s leading mapmakers. He made many contributions to cartography, including the introduction of lithography into map printing in 1812.
William Faden, another celebrated cartographer, passed down his mapmaking business to Wyld in 1823. The quality and quantity of Faden’s maps, combined with Wyld’s considerable skill, brought Wyld great prestige.
Wyld was named geographer to Kings George IV and William IV, as well as HRH the Duke of York. In 1825, he was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He was one of the founding members of the Royal Geographical Society in 1830. Also in 1830, his son, James Wyld Jr., took over his publishing house. Wyld Sr. died of overwork on October 14, 1836.
James Wyld Jr. (1812-87) was a renowned cartographer in his own right and he successfully carried on his father’s business. He gained the title of Geographer to the Queen and H.R.H. Prince Albert. Punch (1850) described him in humorous cartographic terms, “If Mr. Wyld’s brain should be ever discovered (we will be bound he has a Map of it inside his hat), we should like to have a peep at it, for we have a suspicion that the two hemispheres must be printed, varnished, and glazed, exactly like a pair of globes.”