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State Library shows off new acquisitions to celebrate opening of Dutch Journeys exhibition
The State Library has purchased the first detailed chart of the west Australian coast, published in 1753. The chart was prepared by Johannes van Keulen, the Dutch East India Company’s mapmaker, using information from Willem de Vlamingh’s manuscript chart of his exploration voyage of 1696-97.
The chart is one of less than a dozen examples known and had previously been held in a private collection in Sydney. It is a copper engraving, printed on paper, and is in excellent condition. The map is considered to be a cartographical icon of Australian history.
CEO and State Librarian Margaret Allen took the opportunity to show John Day MLA, Minister for Culture and the Arts, the new acquisition at the Dutch Journeys to the Western Edge exhibition opening today.
Dutch Journeys to the Western Edge is the State Library’s free exhibition commemorating the 400th anniversary of Dirk Hartog’s landing in the Eendracht at Cape Inscription, Shark Bay on 25 October, 1616.
Margaret Allen said “The exhibition explores beyond the early Dutch maritime history to include stories from more contemporary Dutch military and migrant connections with Western Australia and highlights the ongoing relevance of Dutch connections within contemporary Western Australian society”.
The Library also recently acquired a chart of the coast of west Australia prepared after William Dampier’s exploration voyage of 1699. The chart was prepared by John Thornton in 1703 and shows discoveries by the Dutch explorers, Hartog (1616), Houtman (1619), the Leeuwin – captain unknown (1622) and De Witt (1628), as well as features surveyed by Dampier.
“Copies of the charts will be in the exhibition while the State Library’s expert staff look at how to conserve and preserve the maps, before they are made accessible online,” Ms Allen said.
Other items featured in the exhibition include coins from the Vergulde Draeck (Gilt Dragon), which was wrecked off Ledge Point in 1656, as well as a medal awarded to Laurence Bruce for his role in saving several wounded Dutchmen during the Japanese air raid on Broome in 1942. Mementoes from ‘The Coffee Pot’ café owned and operated in the 1950s and 60s by Dutch migrants Prada and Rob Van der Nagel are also on display.
The exhibition is open during State Library opening hours, from now until 25 September 2016.
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Images are available.