Every visitor who passes through the vestibule of the Mitchell Library stops to admire the magnificent marble mosaic of the Tasman Map which fills the entire vestibule floor.
This story of the first Dutch voyages to discover Australia is set against the background of the struggle of the newly formed Dutch Republic to gain its independence from the Kingdom of Spain and the struggle of the Dutch East India Company for trade supremacy in the East Indies against its Portuguese, Spanish and English rivals.
Over a period of only forty years from 1606 to 1644 and based on sixteen separate discoveries the first map of Australia took shape. The Tasman Map shows a recognisable outline of the north, west and south coasts of Australia that was not to change for another 125 years until the British explorer James Cook charted the east coast in 1770.
It was in 1925 and 1933 that the Mitchell Library in Sydney, Australia, acquired both the Tasman Huydecoper Journal and the Tasman Bonaparte Map. The story of how the library managed to acquire these treasures of Dutch exploration and cartography will bring new recognition to these icons of both Dutch and Australian history.
Ian Burnet has spent more than thirty years, living, working and travelling in Indonesia and is fascinated by the rich history and diverse cultures of the archipelago.
It was the lure of the fabled Spice Islandsthat drove ‘The Age of Discovery’ and the first circumnavigation of our planet. His book Spice Islands has been described as ‘a wonderful book – a triumph of passion and scholarship’.
East Indies, follows the rise of the East India Companies and it begins with the founding of the historic port cities of Malacca and Batavia (Jakarta) and concludes with the founding of the modern port cities of Singapore and Hong Kong.
Archipelago – A Journey Across Indonesia, is a personal story of his journey across the Indonesian archipelago and a nation whose national motto had to be ‘Unity in Diversity’. It has been described as ‘An armchair traveller’s delight and the next best thing to touring Indonesia in person’.
His book Where Australia Collides with Asia follows the epic voyages of Continent Australia, Joseph Banks, Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace and the origin of On the Origin of Species.