The first large-scale map of Australia by an Englishman showing the 1642-43 and 1644 discoveries of Abel Tasman in Australia and New Zealand. Despite the fairly rapid and wide dissemination of knowledge concerning the discoveries of Abel Tasman in Australia and New Zealand, information detailing those discoveries is to be found mainly on regional and world maps, rather than maps that show Australia itself. The first known published map detailing Australia itself to chart Tasman’s discoveries was one by Claes Visscher, who in1649 re-worked Langenes’ Caert Thresoor and included the rare map ‘T’Landt Van de Eendracht’ in his Tabularum Geographarum Contractarum. It fails to record Tasman’s discoveries. The next such map published was by Melchior Thevenot in 1663. It was the first large-scale published map to show Tasman’s discoveries and a landmark in the charting of Australia.
Bowen’s important map is the first published large-scale English map devoted to Australia and is essentially a copy of Thevenot’s 1663 map. Some variations however exist between the two maps. Bowen has embellished Thevenot’s map by adding two text passages describing the riches to be discovered in Australia by virtue of its geographical location, and has also included a decorative cartouche not found on Thevenot’s map.
Geographically the maps are identical. Bowen effectively notes all the Dutch discoveries listed on Thevenot’s map including those by Tasman from both his first voyage (where Tasmania and New Zealand were charted for the first time), and from his second voyage in north Australia. He includes notes in English such as “Land first seen” and “Van Diemens Land Discovered 24 Nov’r 1642”. Other Dutch discoveries indicated include those by Hartog in Western Australia in 1616 and Houtman in 1619, the Leeuwin’s in 1622, Gerrit de Witt 1628, as well as Pieter Nuyts’ 1627 voyage along Australia’s south coast. The Cape York Peninsula discoveries by Carstensz in 1623 are also given in detail. New Zealand is labelled Zeelandia Nova.
Curiously as with Thevenot’s map, a note indicates an incorrect date for the discovery of Australia – Hollandia Nova Discovered 1644.
Harris’ books were first published in 1705, however Bowen’s map only appeared in the second edition of 1744 and third edition of 1764.
Bowen was a highly respected cartographer, being hydrographer to Louis XV of France and George II of England.