Putting Australia on the Map

Book cover image

Australia is a big place. It covers 7.7 million square kilometres. You’d think it would have been easy to find, but it stayed hidden from everyone but its First Nations People for a very long time.

Full of gorgeous maps, this book shows how an international cast of sailors discovered Australia’s coastline bit by bit over a period of two hundred years.

Some explorers were searching for a mythical land described by Marco Polo, where they could find and abundance of gold and spices. Other sailors were heading across the Indian Ocean before they turned north to sail to Batavia (modern-day Jakarta). They miscalculated their longitude and accidentally reached the shores of the land that would eventually be known as Australia. No one was actually looking for Australia.

Putting Australia on the Map is available for purchase from your local bookshop, Dymocks and Booktopia.


“Wilkinson excels when she discusses how the United East India Company, Dampier, Tasman and many others expanded our view of the world … Putting Australia on the Map is an engaging reference that combines two excellent sources of information – Wilkinson’s detailed narration and the astonishing maps – to tell this important part of our history. ”

 — Marie Alafaci, Magpies Vol. 35, June 2020

“… vital deeper historical contexts about mapping, and understanding how discovery and exploration impacted Australia’s First Nations People are included in the Teachers Notes on the publisher’s website. ”

“… Librarians, do not allow this book to be processed and then lost on the shelves in your schools. Promote this book particularly to teachers. This is one fabulous resource for Australian schools ... Highly recommended. ”

 — Wendy Jeffery, Read Plus, June 2020