The map collection at the State Library of Queensland provides cartographic coverage of the world, with a major emphasis on Queensland and Australia. The collection includes topographic, cadastral, hydrographic and orthophoto sheet maps, as well as a unique and extensive range of historic maps and early real estate maps. Atlases, globes and street directories from around the world are also collected.
A selection of significant maps from our collection
Real estate maps
The State Library of Queensland has a unique collection of original maps and plans created by real estate firms. It includes more than 1000 maps from the 1850s to the mid 1900s.
Estate maps can give information about land subdivisions, including how the land was subdivided, when it was first auctioned, who the surveyors were and who sold the land. They are useful for investigating the history of urban land areas.
The maps are predominantly from Brisbane but also cover some regional areas of Queensland such as the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. Many of the maps in our collection were published by the firms of John Cameron and John Harrop Henzell.
Queensland maps are comprehensively collected because they are an important component of Queensland memory.
Maps dating from the earliest European discoveries to the large modern series, both printed and digital. Types of maps include tourist, property boundaries, topographic, hydrographic, geological, aerial photo and satellite mapping.
The historic collection covers European exploration of the coastline by famous names like Cook and Flinders, plus the inland explorers like McKinlay, Landsborough and Burke and Wills.
Did you know?
- Most Queensland maps are received through legal deposit.
- The State Library of Queensland collects any map with significant Queensland content.
- We also collect relevant maps of the north east New South Wales area because of the close ties to Queensland.
Early Australian maps
The State Library of Queensland holds a significant collection of maps documenting the European discovery and exploration of Australia.
The historic Australian maps trace the earliest sightings of the continent by Europeans from the early 1570s, through to the first complete map by Matthew Flinders in 1814. The first map documenting the Aboriginal languages and tribal groups of the continent (Tindale 1940) adds to the diversity of the collection. The oldest map depicting a continent in the location of Australia is Pars Orbis 1572. Tasman, Dampier, Cook and Flinders are well represented, as well as the inland explorers such as Burke and Wills.
Did you know?
- These maps are acquired by auction, private and public sales and auctions or donation.
- They are part of the Historic Map Collection.
- Because of their rarity, they are encapsulated in Mylar plastic sheets and shelved flat in drawers.
Mapping your family
The State Library of Queensland holds a large collection of international, national and local maps that complement family history research.
The collection comprises sheet maps (United Kingdom Ordnance Survey maps from 1813; Early German maps; Queensland cadastral maps - parish & town maps, etc.), microfilm, gazetteers, street directories and road atlases.