1854 John Arrowsmith Rare Antique Map, Early Town Plan of Gladstone, Queensland

Cartographer : John Arrowsmith

  • Title : Plan of the Town of Gladstone Port Curtis 1854 (Water is very scarce in this locality)
  • Size: 22 1/4in x 16 3/4in (565mm x 425mm)
  • Condition: (A+) Fine Condition
  • Date : 1854
  • Ref #:  82045

This large, rare & important map, a very early plan of the Queensland town of Gladstone by John Arrowsmith was engraved in 1854 - dated - and was published for The Colonial Office Parliamentary Papers, London. 
The rarity of this map cannot be overstated. Many of these maps by Arrowsmith were printed and published only for the British Colonial Office Parliamentary Papers and would have numbered only in the 100s.

John Arrowsmith is considered one of the finest cartographers of the 19th century, famous for producing highly accurate and finely engraved maps in atlases, books & in sheet form, of all parts of the know world. Ironically he is less famous for producing many of the maps that accompanied the British Colonial Office Parliamentary Reports between 1817 to 1890, with two-thirds of the maps being produced by Arrowsmith. These maps were published solely for government review and not public sale. A few of these were subsequently published in Arrowsmiths Atlases and vice versa but a great number of them were not, making many of the maps published for the Parliamentary papers rare and rarely seen on the market. Many of them are not called for in Tooley, Clancy or other important reference material.
This is one of those maps, one of 27 we were fortunate to procure earlier this year. I have found very little historical sales data for these maps and so I have priced them based on what I feel is a fair market value for such a rare, scarce map.

Gladstone is a city in the Gladstone Region, Queensland, Australia. It is approximately 550 km (340 mi) by road north of Brisbane and 100 km south-east of Rockhampton. Situated between the Calliope and Boyne Rivers, Gladstone is home to Queensland\'s largest multi-commodity shipping port.
Before European settlement, the Gladstone region was home of the Toolooa (or Tulua), Meerooni and Baiali (or Byellee) Aboriginal tribes.
In May 1770, the HM Bark Endeavour, under the command of James Cook, sailed by the entrance to Gladstone Harbour under the cover of darkness. Matthew Flinders, during his 1801–1803 circumnavigation of Australia, became the first recorded European to sight the harbour in August 1802. He named the harbour Port Curtis, after Admiral Roger Curtis, a man who was of assistance to Flinders a year earlier at the Cape of Good Hope. John Oxley conducted further exploration of the harbour and surrounding countryside in November 1823. Oxley was dismissive of the region, noting the harbour was difficult to enter, the countryside was too dry, and the timber useless for construction purposes.
Nevertheless, in 1847 the British attempted to establish the new colony of North Australia at Port Curtis. Colonel George Barney was chosen to lead this experiment in colonisation and his expedition was eventful. On 25 January 1847, the Lord Auckland, carrying 87 soldiers and convicts, arrived off the southern entrance of Port Curtis and promptly ran aground on shoals off the southern tip of Facing Island. The settlers spent seven weeks on the island before being rescued by the supply ship Thomas Lowry and delivered the intended site of settlement, the region now known as Barney Point. On 30 January at a proclamation ceremony, Barney was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor of the colony of North Australia. The convict settlement lasted barely two months and cost the Imperial government ₤15,000. A change of government in Britain ordered the withdrawal of Barney and the settlers. However, interest in the region remained.
By 1853, Francis MacCabe was surveying the site of a new town on the shores of Port Curtis under the protection of several detachments of Native Police. Maurice O\'Connell was appointed government resident the following year, resulting in an influx of free settlers as land became available throughout the region. In 1863, the town became a Municipality with Richard Hetherington elected Gladstones first mayor. The fledgling town was named after the British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone and has a 19th-century marble statue on display in its town museum.

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Blue, pink, green
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 22 1/4in x 16 3/4in (565mm x 425mm)
Plate size: - 22 1/4in x 16 3/4in (565mm x 425mm)
Margins: - Min 1/2in (12mm)

Margins: - None
Plate area: - Folds as issued
Verso: - None

The importance of John Arrowsmiths contribution to early Australian cartography cannot be stressed enough. He was responsible for producing many of the early exploration maps of Australia for the Colonial Offices & Government publications as well as the RGS.
Maps produced after the first settlement and into the 19th century came from varied sources, first published with the First Fleet Journals by Arthur Phillip, John Hunter and Watkin Tench. Numerous European publishing houses produced atlases which included maps of Australia. Many came out in several editions and were updated as new information became available. The Australian Colonies were administered by officials responsible to the British Colonial Office and all events of importance, often illustrated by maps, were published in the British Parliamentary Papers. There a rea prime source of maps from 1830 onwards, although one or two maps may be found in Parliamentary Papers prior to this time, such as one example of a rare map of the Swan River by Captain James Stirling. 
During the 19th century, as the Australian colonies were progressively granted responsible government, Parliamentary Papers for each colony became an important source of maps. These maps sources have been a hidden and untapped resource. Another good source of early maps is published journals of the explorers; the explorers earliest maps often accompanied reports in the 
Journal of the Royal Geographical Society in the UK. Parallel development of Australian scientific institutions along with an interest in exploration was a strong feature of 19th century Australia. The Royal Geographical Society of Australasia was established with branches in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. A number of important maps were published as separate sheets, increasingly by Australian printers and engravers such as Carmichael, Sands & Kenny, and Higginbotham, Robinson & Harrison.
Australian atlases were produced and repeat editions of cadastral surveys and maritime chats became increasingly available. Specialist maps were published from official sources, including geological and mineral maps. Towards the end of the century a plethora of thematic maps were published through a verity of media such as advertisements for land sales, tourists maps and street directories. 

Parliamentary Papers British Parliamentary Papers were a funnel for all significant colonial events in the 19th century. They included over one hundred maps with information on topography, exploration and lad survey published between 1817 and 1890., with two-thirds of the maps being produced by John Arrowsmith. Few maps are found after the early 1860s. The maps accompanying papers relevant to gold discovery (1851-55) are a particularly good resource, documenting an important time in the history of Australia. Perhaps the most neglected source of early Australian maps are those included in the Colonial Parliamentary Papers published locally after 1836. The NSW Parliamentary Papers published between 1836 and 1900 contain over 2700 maps on 129 topics, providing a unique record of events considered important by the colonial administration. Land ownership and land use dominate, followed by maps of services relevant to land use, such as railways, roads, water supply and sewerage. Public health issues are recorded in maps as are maps of gold& mineral leases reflected the expanding diversity of the economy. The first map published in the NSW Parliamentary Papers, of the site of the new Government House, was lithographed by W.R. Baker in 1836. The total number of maps over the same period from other colonies was less than 2000 but again each colonies priorities were reflected by in the subjects covered. Tasmania reflected mainly geological and early convict disciplinary maps; South Australia, land administration and pastoral development; Victoria, maps relating to the development; Victoria, maps relating to the colonies infrastructure, especially railway and harbour development; Queensland, railway and mineral leases; Western Australia, a broad range that included two important technological innovations that shortened the time, and therefore the cost, of printing maps. Firstly , John Osborn in 1859, developed the use of a transfer paper method in photolithography which reduced printing time from days to hours. Secondly, Alfred Selwyn in 1860 used a steam-driven power press to print seven colour geological maps.

Royal Geographical Society published its first journal in 1832. This journal was to become the leading scientific medium available for explorers to publish the first news of their discoveries. However, not all explorers were published here. Between 1832 and 1880, 25 maps recorded of inland Australia, illustrating the journeys of 27 explorers. John Arrowsmith compiled 22 of the 25 maps published by the RGS again illustrating the importance of Arrowsmith to the expansion of early colonial cartography in Australia.