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Justus Perthes: Provisorische Karte der grossen Expedition unter Burke

Map: AUNZ2840
Cartographer: Justus Perthes
Title: Provisorische Karte der grossen Expedition unter Burke
Date: 1862
Published: Gotha
Width: 8 inches / 21 cm
Height: 10 inches / 26 cm
Map ref: AUNZ2840
The route of the fateful 1860-1 Burke and Wills Expedition starting from their base camp at Cooper Creek to the Gulf of Carpenteria. Though the expedition succeeded in crossing Australia from north to south, Burke, Wills, and five other members of the expedition lost their lives in the attempt.

The loss of the much-heralded expedition caused a huge public outcry and six rescue expeditions were subsequently dispatched to locate Burke & Wills. Their remains were discovered in September, 1861, two months after the men are thought to have died. The relief expedition also managed to find John King, alive and living with a local Aboriginal group. King was the only member of the group to have crossed Australia and survived.

The Geographische Mitteilungen, in which this map was originally published, is the oldest German language geographical journal - its first issue was in 1855 and it finally closed its doors in 2004. The magazine was conceived and edited by August Heinrich Petermann and published by the venerable firm of Justus Perthes in Gotha, Germany.

Its first article reported on an expedition into North Africa and the Sahara by Heinrich Barth and Adolf Overweg. This report was enough to secure a circulation of 4000 for the fledgling magazine and, more importantly, encouraged other important scientist-explorers of the day who were attracted by the magazine’s heavy scientific emphasis to send in their own reports. These included Hans Meyer, the first man to ascend the Kibo crater on Mount Kilimanjaro, Sven Hedin, the Swedish explorer of Central Asia and the Himalayas, and Alfred Wegener, the geoscientist who pioneered the theory of continental shift which led to the modern theory of plate tectonics.

In comparison to its contemporaries, such as the Geographical Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, the Mitteilungen had a far greater interest in ethnography and the physical and natural sciences, leading to the inclusion of many fascinating, but sometimes obscure, maps on the most recent theories related to climatology, meteorology, botany, and zoology.

Printed colour. [AUNZ2840]