A revealing 1743 map at a grand country house

Ham House firescreen of c17

Here’s how much they knew about Australia (or New Holland as they called it then) back in 1743 – as revealed by an old fire-screen at Ham House, a National Trust property on the outskirts of London.  The west and north-west coasts are roughly correct but Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) is very vague and still attached to the continent.  The whole east coast is conjectural and joins Papua-New Guinea in the north.  The discovery of the Torres Strait in 1611 remained unknown, at least in England.  Cook, Bass and Flinders had a lot of gaps to fill in over the next 60 years!

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