The State Library has five states or editions of the map, “Polus Antarcticus” in the Heritage collection. A hemispherical map within a square frame, centred on the South Pole to the Tropic of Capricorn, 23° south, showing southern parts of South America and South Africa and the west and south coasts of Australia.
The not fully explored Polar continent is delineated partly by island chains and partly by line. At the centre of the map are the words Terra Australis Incognita. The sheet corners are filled in with large vignettes of native scenes including animals, birds, boats and a representation of a penguin.
First published by Dutch cartographer and engraver, Henricus Hondius, around 1637 and subsequently by Jansson, De Wit, Gerard Valk and Pieter Schenk in four varying states over a period of sixty years. “Polus Antarcticus” was originally published as a map in various Dutch, Latin, French and German editions of Mercator’s “Atlantis Majoris” atlas. Many copies have been separated from their source atlases, and hand coloured. Although it is believed some later editions may have been printed and published separately. The different states are a result of a number of factors, some are cosmetic as new cartographers were able to access the copper printing plate of the map and added details including their cartouche, or title shield. As more information returned from the Dutch explorers and traders, it resulted with changes to the land masses adding to the accuracy of the “drawn” world. Example of this around the newly discovered Australian coast with Tasmania added the Fourth State of the map.