Global Travel Media » Blog Archive » World Class Mapping Exhibition in Canberra Something to Crowe About

Home » Destination Global » Currently Reading:

World Class Mapping Exhibition in Canberra Something to Crowe About

October 14, 2013 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

A collection of some of the world’s most rare and valuable maps telling the Australian story has been assembled in the national capital and can be seen by visitors from 7 November.

4Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia will take visitors of the National Library of Australian on a journey of the rare and fascinating maps that shaped our world and inspired the European idea of Australia this summer.

543090National Library of Australia Council chair Ryan Stokes announced on Wednesday that actor Russell Crowe, who has a natural interest in maps, would officially open the exhibition at an invitation-only event on the 6 November, ahead of opening to the public on November 7. 

The summer exhibition brings together more than 100 spectacular maps, atlases, globes and scientific instruments from the world’s great maps collections, including the National Library of Australia as well as the British Library, the Vatican Library, the National Archives of the United Kingdom, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Assistant Curator Dr Susannah Helman said the exhibition tells the story of how European cartographers were imagining an undiscovered land in the southern hemisphere, while Aboriginal people were already here using mapping in very creative ways.

‘I think people will experience a very rich, colourful exhibition that will challenge their views of how the mapping of Australia really came about,’ Dr Helman said.

‘It’s very much looking at Europeans’ imagining the great south land and how that became a reality of world maps. At the same time we juxtapose with indigenous mapping, so it’s very much about examining those parallels in traditions.’

Chief content curator for Mapping our World: Terra Incognita to Australia, Dr Martin Woods, has been working on the exhibition with the curatorial team for the past 18 months and is excited with the range of items that will be on display.

‘The challenge for us as curators is not what to include, but what to leave out,’ Dr Woods said. ‘With the maps that we have obtained from some wonderful libraries from around the world we’re showing the best of the best.’


The exhibition includes extremely valuable and rare items that have never been displayed in the Southern Hemisphere before. The centrepiece of the exhibition will be one of the rarest maps in the world, the first large-scale map of New Holland, which was acquired by the National Library of Australia.

The map, Archipelagus Orientalis, sive Asiaticus (the Eastern and Asian archipelago), created in 1663 by master cartographer for the Dutch East India Company, Joan Blaeu, is the map on which all subsequent maps of New Holland are based.
Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia will be shown only at the National Library of Australia, Canberra from 7 November 2013 – 10 March 2014. While it is a free exhibition, bookings are essential. For more information, visit

Comment on this Article:

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Platinium Partnership


Elite Partnership Sponsors


Premier Partnership Sponsors


Official Media Event Partner


Global Travel media endorses the following travel publication