This Map of the Colony of New South Wales, Exhibiting the Situation and Extent of the appropriated lands,including the Counties, Towns, Village Reserves &c. Compiled from Authentic Surveys &c. is respectfully Dedicated to Sir John Barrow Bart. President of the Royal Geographical Society…" Robert DIXON.

This Map of the Colony of New South Wales…
This Map of the Colony of New South Wales, Exhibiting the Situation and Extent of the appropriated lands,including the Counties, Towns, Village Reserves &c. Compiled from Authentic Surveys &c. is respectfully Dedicated to Sir John Barrow Bart. President of the Royal Geographical Society…".

London: engraved by J. & C. Walker, published by J. Cross, 20 July, 1837.

Dissected hand-coloured engraved map, backed on linen, 1265 x 785 mm., remarkablly handsome large-format map, early owner's name "J. Bowman" repeated in pen on the verso; preserved in a silk-lined green morocco case by Sangorski.

Owned by John Macarthur's son-in-law

A fine and rare large-format map depicting New South Wales, of particular interest for the detailed depiction of land-holders in the colony: the mapping of the Southern Highlands, to cite just one meaningful example, shows all of the major grants to figures such as Atkinson, Coghill, Oxley, and Riley. An inset map at top left shows the Australian coastline.

A fine and rare large-format map depicting New South Wales, of particular interest for the detailed depiction of land-holders in the colony: the mapping of the Southern Highlands, to cite just one meaningful example, shows all of the major grants to figures such as Atkinson, Coghill, Oxley, and Riley. An inset map at top left shows the Australian coastline.

This map was originally owned by Dr. James Bowman (1784-1846), who has signed it "J. Bowman" four times to the verso. Bowman joined the British Navy in 1806 and a decade later was appointed to the Mary Anne as a surgeon in charge of the convicts on board. He returned to Sydney in 1817 on the Lord Eldon, now appointed principal surgeon to succeed D'Arcy Wentworth. It was on the voyage out that he became acquainted with John Macarthur, as well as an intimate of John Thomas Bigge. While serving as the head of the Sydney Hospital he married Mary, the second daughter of John and Elizabeth Macarthur, a connection which was directly responsible for him being given such an enormous tract of land in 1824 (her dowry had included 2000 merino sheep after all). Dixon's map clearly shows Bowman's enormous 14,600 acre grant at Ravensworth, not far as the crow flies from grants to William Cox and Sir Francis Forbes. The family sold Ravensworth in 1847 to Captain William Russell (on Bowman see a long entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography).

The map was published by Robert Dixon (1800-1858), a surveyor and explorer who arrived in Van Diemen's Land in May 1821 with his brother George. Initially employed by Edward Lord, in 1826 Dixon sold out and went to Sydney to work as an assistant surveyor to John Oxley. One of his first tasks was an open-boat survey of the Illawarra, and in 1827 he accompanied Mitchell to the Grose Valley in Victoria; in a follow-up expedition to the Burragorang valley Dixon became lost and nearly perished. Dixon next completed a series of important surveys in the Blue Mountains, Goulburn, Queanbeyan, the Upper Hunter, and New England. In short, he was so well-travelled that when he returned to England in 1836 he arranged for the publication of the present map, an act which so incensed Mitchell, who fiercely guarded what he saw as his proprietorial rights in the subject, that the then Surveyor-General refused to reinstate Dixon on the latter's return to New South Wales.

Cast aside, Dixon settled in Moreton Bay, but soon had a falling out with Governor Gipps (in part again because of a second map that he imprudently published), and ultimately drifted back to Sydney with his family, having offended all of his putative supporters. Although his later career was marked by disappointment, 'Dixon played an outstanding part in extending geographical knowledge in New South Wales, and many of his surveys were performed under trying and hazardous conditions. He ranks high among early surveyors and explorers' (ADB).

Dixon dedicated the map to Sir John Barrow, then president of the Royal Geographical Society, and it was engraved by the brothers John and Charles Walker, a firm particularly known for its association with the hydrographer James Horsburgh and the East India Company (Worms & Baynton-Williams, British Map Engravers). Other copies (such as that in the National Library) have been dissected into 40 smaller sections, unlike the 20 sections of this copy.

Price (AUD): $12,500.00  other currencies     Ref: #4203855

Condition Report