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13 August 2009
Visitors to the National Library of Australia will have the opportunity to view four rare Dutch navigational charts, thanks to a generous loan from businessman Mr Kerry Stokes, Arts Minister Mr Peter Garrett said today.
The charts, circa 1725–1740, were issued with other charts and instruments to voyages bound for the East Indies. Two of them show part of Western Australia.
“Visitors to the National Library of Australia will undoubtedly appreciate the opportunity to view such historically significant and extraordinarily beautiful charts when they go on show in the permanent Treasures Gallery,” said Mr Garrett.
“Particularly fascinating is that the plotting of an actual voyage, where the skipper got lost and took evasive action in a storm, is recorded on two of the charts—bringing to life an historical adventure from nearly 300 years ago.
“The charts are an enduring testament to the skills of the early navigators, who managed to return safely back to Europe after many arduous and dangerous voyages.”
Mr Garrett said Mr Stokes had a long association with Australia's collecting institutions as a member of the Australian War Memorial and National Gallery of Australia boards, as well as being a generous benefactor.
The Director-General of the National Library of Australia, Ms Jan Fullerton AO, thanked Mr Stokes for his longstanding support.
“Mr Stokes is a strong supporter of the National Library of Australia, and the loan of this truly unique and exceptional collection of charts is a wonderful opportunity to share an important part of Australia's history with the public,” Ms Fullerton said.
The National Library of Australia has one of the largest and most significant map collections in Australia, with more than 600,000 maps, including 8,000 rare maps published before 1900, 2,500 atlases and more than a million aerial photographs.
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