Highly detailed map of Queensland Colony, from the Weekly Dispatch Atlas.
Weller's map shows the newly formed colony, as it was first being settled by Europeans. The colony had been established in 1859, and was one of the six original colonies that would later form the nation of Australia.
At the time the map was drawn, the primary city in the colony was Brisbane, which had been established as a penal colony in 1824. However, in the years leading up to the establishment of the colony, Queensland had also become a popular destination for free settlers, who were drawn to its rich agricultural land and opportunities for gold mining. Small gold deposits had been discovered across the Darling Downs through the 1850s, preceding the first gold rush in Queensland at Canoona near Rockhampton in 1858.
The map also shows the towns of Ipswich, Toowoomba, and Rockhampton. The region's natural features, such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Queensland Alps, and the Daintree Rainforest, are depicted.
During the years following the map's creation, the colony of Queensland continued to grow and develop, with an influx of settlers from Europe and Asia, as well as from other parts of Australia. by 1870, the population of the colony had reached over 130,000 people, becoming an important center for agriculture, mining, and commerce. .
'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.