Guide to the Charts of the Hydrographic Department (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

The Hydrographic Department
Charts of the Hydrographic Department (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1769 - 1824
Collection Number
131 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

The Hydrographic Department holds a vast collection of original and printed charts covering the world's seas and coastlines, including islands, reefs and nautical hazards. The charts produced on the voyages of Royal Navy surveying ships from the beginning of the nineteenth century until the present form the core of the collection. In addition, there are charts made on earlier voyages of exploration and voyages made by ships of the East India Company and other merchant ships.The 144 charts copied by the Australian Joint Copying Project and listed below are the earliest Australian and New Zealand charts held in the Hydrographic Department.

Naval officers and seamen who's work was filmed
  1. Lieutenant James Cook, commander of HMS Endeavour, 1768-71
  2. Robert Pickersgill, master's mate on HMS Endeavour, 1768-71
  3. Robert Molyneux, master on HMS Endeavour, 1768-71
  4. William Bligh, master on HMS Resolution, 1776-80
  5. Captain John Hunter, commander of HMS Sirius, 1787-90
  6. Lieutenant Thomas Hayward, HMS Pandora, 1790-91
  7. Captain George Vancouver, commander of HMS Discovery, 1791-95
  8. Lieutenant John Hayes, commander of East Indiaman Duke of Clarence, 1793-94
  9. Lieutenant Mathew Flinders, commander of sloop Norfolk, 1798-99, and HMS Investigator, 1801-2
  10. Lieutenant James Grant, commander of HMS Lady Nelson, 1800-1
  11. Lieutenant Peter Heywood, commander of bomb ship Vulcan, 1800-1
  12. John Black, master of brig Harbinger, 1800-1
  13. John Buyers, master of brig Margaret, 1801-3
  14. Lieutenant John Murray, commander of HMS Lady Nelson, 1801-3
  15. Francis Barrallier, ensign in NSW Corps, accompanied Lieut. John Grant on HMS Lady Nelson in 1801
  16. Charles Robbins, midshipman on HMS Buffalo, 1802-3
  17. Samuel Ashmore, master of brig Hibernia, 1809-16
  18. Lieutenant Charles Jeffreys, commander of brig Kangaroo, 1814-17
  19. Lieutenant Phillip Parker King, commander of cutter Mermaid, 1817-20, and brig Bathurst, 1821-23
  20. John S. Roe, master's mate on cutter Mermaid, 1817-20, surveyor's assistant on brig Bathurst, 1821-23, lieutenant on HMS Tamar, 1824-27

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Filmed at the Hydrographic Department, England, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1987 (AJCP Reel: M406). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

The reel number M406 is notional, assigned for control purposes only. The copies made by the Australian Joint Copying Project comprise 144 35mm aperture cards. The set in the National Library of Australia is held at mc N 2306.

The copying of the huge collection of manuscript charts relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific was not a realistic proposition. Most of these charts depicted very small areas and, to a large extent, the information they contained was subsequently transferred to printed charts and sailing directions. Nevertheless, the AJCP partners decided that the earliest charts documenting the entire Australian coastline, as well as some early New Zealand charts, were of more general interest and should be filmed.

Existence and Location of Originals

United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, (formerly Hydrographic Department) Taunton, Somerset, England. For further information see: the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office Archive (

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

The National Library of Australia and the State Library of New South Wales also hold copies of the Hydrographic Department's manuscript index to pre-1930 Australian and Pacific surveys (304pp), referred to as 'the curator's index'. These copies do not include the New Zealand surveys. The index provides some additional information about the charts, such as the scale and the shelf location of the originals and, in a few instances, the descriptions are more detailed. The copy in the National Library is held at MAP G5741.P5.

The Australian Joint Copying Project microfilmed a considerable quantity of the written records of the Hydrographic Department. They include letters, reports, sailing directions, remark books, extracts from logs, minute books and survey data books, mostly dating from 1779 to 1918. They can be found in Records of the Hydrographic Department M2318-37 ( and M2436-67 (

Finding-aid Notes

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2018. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.


Bathurst, HMS (ship); Cook, James, Capt.; Endeavour, HMS (ship); Flinders, Matthew, Capt.; Hunter, John, Capt.; Investigator, HMS (ship); King, Phillip P., Capt.; Lady Nelson, HMS (ship); Maps, plans and charts: Australia; Maps, plans and charts: Australia; Maps, plans and charts: New Zealand; Murray, J., Lieut.; Pickersgill, Richard; Royal Navy: exploration and surveys; Sirius, HMS (ship)


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 245, p91.

Biographical / Historical

The Hydrographical Office of the Admiralty was created by an Order-in-Council of 12 August 1795 which stated that it would be responsible for 'the care of such charts, as are now in the office, or may hereafter be deposited' and for 'collecting and compiling all information requisite for improving Navigation, for the guidance of the commanders of His Majesty's ships'. Alexander Dalrymple, who had been Hydrographer to the East India Company since 1799, was appointed the first Hydrographer.In 1797 the Hydrographer's staff comprised an assistant, a draughtsman, three engravers and a printer. It remained a small office for much of the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, under Captain Thomas Hurd, who succeeded Dalrymple as Hydrographer in 1808, a regular series of marine charts were produced and in 1814 the first surveying vessels were commissioned. The first Catalogue of Admiralty Charts appeared in 1825. In 1817 the Australian-born navigator Phillip Parker King was supplied with instruments by the Hydrographic Department which he used on his surveying voyages on the Mermaid and the Bathurst.

Item Descriptions

M. Flinders: Australia or Terra Australis, 1804 (File 1.Y46/2)

M. Flinders: General chart of Terra Australis, 1798 - 1803 (File 2.Y46/2)

J. Cook: Cape Tribulation to Endeavour Streights (sic), 1770 (File 3.B3804/1)

J. Cook: Cape Townsend to Cape Tribulation, 1770 (File 4.B3804/2)

J. Cook: Smoaky (sic) Cape to Cape Townsend, 1770 (File 5.B3804/3)

J. Cook: Point Hicks to Smoaky (sic) Cape, 1770 (File 6.B3804/4)

R. Molyneux: Endeavour River to Cape Howe, 1770 (File 7-10.593)

M. Flinders: Gulf of Carpentaria, Torres Strait and part of Coral Sea, 1807 (File 11.Y46/4)

M. Flinders: Torres Strait and part of Coral Sea, 1802 - 1803 (File 12.Y46/4)

M. Flinders: Torres Strait and part of Coral Sea, 1808 (File 13.Y46/5)

M. Flinders: The track of Investigator through Torres Strait, 1808 (File 14.Y46/8)

M. Flinders: Torres Strait and eastern approaches, 1802 - 1803 (File 15.Y46/6)

M. Flinders: Torres Strait and eastern approaches, 1804 (File 16.Y46/7)

S. Ashmore: Tracks of the brigs Hibernia and Nimrod through Torres Strait, 1811 - 1822 (File 17.D7765)

M. Flinders: Cape Direction to Cape Grafton, 1802 - 1803 (File 18.Y46/9)

M. Flinders: Cape Grafton to Cape Manifold, 1802 (File 19.Y46/10)

M. Flinders: Dunk Island to Sandy Cape, 1802 - 1803 (File 20.Y47/1)

M. Flinders: Port Stephens to Northumberland Islands, 1800 (File 21.Y47/3)

M. Flinders: Percy Islands to Lat. 27 degrees S. (File 22.Y47/7)

R. Pickersgill: Shoalwater Bay to Botany Bay, 1770 (File 23-24. 541/6)

M. Flinders: Sandy Cape to Port Stephens, 1804 (File 25.Y48/2)

M. Flinders: Cape Moreton to Lat. 32 degrees S, 1799 - 1802 (File 26.Y48/3)

M. Flinders: Point Lookout to Newcastle harbour, 1799 - 1802 (File 27.Y48/4)

M. Flinders: Lat.32 degrees S to Jathra Head, 1798 - 1803 (File 28.Y48/5)

M. Flinders: Port Stephens to Cape Howe, 1798 - 1803 (File 29.Y48/6)

R. Pickersgill: Botany Bay to Lat.38 degrees 10' S, 1770 (File 30.541/2)

M. Flinders: Hunter River to Lat.44 degrees S., including Tasmania, 1798 - 1799 (File 31.Y49/1)

M. Flinders: Lat.33 degrees S. to 37 degrees S, 1798 - 1803 (File 32.Y48/7)

M. Flinders: Twofold Bay to Corner Inlet, 1798 - 1803 (File 33.Y48/8)

M. Flinders: Bass Strait, 1802 - 1803 (File 34.Y48/9)

M. Flinders: Bass Strait, 1802 - 1803 (File 35.Y48/10)

J. Murray: Bass Strait, 1802 (File 36.Y40)

F. Barrallier: Bass Strait tracks and soundings, 1802 (File 37.Y68)

J. Black: Track of Harbinger through Bass Strait, 1800 - 1801 (File 38.Y64)

J. Buyers: Track of Harbinger and Margaret through Bass Strait, 1800 - 1801 (File 39.Y39)

M. Flinders: Tasmania, 1798 - 1799 (File 40.Y49/3)

M. Flinders: Tasmania, 1798 - 1799 (File 41.Y49/4)

M. Flinders: Cape Otway to Encounter Bay, 1802 (File 42-43.Y50/2-3)

M. Flinders: Encounter Bay to head of Great Australia Bight, 1802 (File 44.Y50/6)

M. Flinders: Backstairs Passage to Streaky Bay, including St Vincent and Spencer Gulfs, 1802 (File 45-46.Y53/10)

M. Flinders: Streaky Bay to Long.128 degrees E, 1802 (File)

M. Flinders: Head of Great Australia Bight to Cape Aird, 1802 - 1803 (File 48.Y51/6)

M. Flinders: Long.128 degrees E. to 121 degrees 30'E, 1802 - 1803 (File 49.Y51/8)

M. Flinders: Cape Pasley to Cape Leeuwin, 1801 - 1803 (File 50.Y51/10)

M. Flinders: Long.121 degrees 30'E. to Cape Leeuwin, 1801 - 1802 (File 51.Y52/2)

M. Flinders: Gulf of Carpentaria, 1802 - 1803 (File 52-53.Y53/2-3)

M. Flinders: Gulf of Carpentaria, south and east coasts, 1802 - 1803 (File 54.Y53/8)

J.S. Roe: Torres Strait and coasts to Claremont Island, 1824 (File 55.E248a/1)

P.P. King: Torres Strait and coast to Cape Sidmouth, 1819 - 1821 (File 56.E248/1)

J. Haywood: Murray Island to Pandora Entrance, 1791 (File)

C. Jeffreys: Cape Grenville to Endeavour River, track of Kangaroo, 1815 (File 5800000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000)

P.P. King: Cape Sidmouth to Cape Bedford, 1819 - 1821 (File 59.E248/2)

R. Pickersgill: Cooks Passage to Trinity Bay, 1770 (File 60.541/4)

P.P. King: Cape Bedford to Frankland Island, 1819 - 1821 (File 61.E248/3)

J.S. Roe: Cape Kimberley to Dunk Island, 1824 (File 62.E248a/3)

P.P. King: Frankland Island to Magnetic Island, 1819 - 1821 (File 63.E248/4)

P.P. King: Magnetic Island to Gloucester Island, 1819 - 1821 (File 64.E248/5)

M. Flinders: Flinders Passage and Barrier Reef, 1802 (File 65.Y47/2)

P.P. King: Gloucester Island to Percy Island, 1819 - 1821 (File 66.E248/6)

M. Flinders: Lat.20 degrees 30'S. to Cape Manifold, including Broad Sound and Shoalwater Bay, 1802 (File 67.Y47/4)

M. Flinders: Cape Palmerston to Cumberland and Percy Islands, 1802 (File 68.Y47/5)

M. Flinders: Lat. 20 degrees 30'S. to Cape Manifold, 1802 (File 69.Y47/6)

J. Murray and M. Flinders: Cumberland Island to Port Bowen, tracks of Lady Nelson and Investigator, 1802 (File 70.Y61)

J. Murray and M. Flinders: Continuation of route of Lady Nelson and Investigator, 1802 (File 71.Y45/2)

J. Murray: Port Bowen to Wide Bay, 1802 (File 72.Y45/1)

M. Flinders: Keppel Bay, Port Curtis and Bustard Bay, 1802 (File 73-74.Y47/9-10)

M. Flinders: Keppel Bay and Port Curtis, 1799 - 1803 (File 75.Y47/8)

J. Murray and M. Flinders: Keppel Island to Moreton Bay, 1802 (File 76.Y66)

M. Flinders: Bustard Head to Moreton Bay, 1802 (File 77.Y48/1)

J. Murray Track of Lady Nelson, Lat.26 degrees S. to 30 degrees S. (File 78.Y69)

J. Murray and M. Flinders: Tracks of Lady Nelson and Investigator, Lat.28 degrees S. to 33 degrees 15'S. (File 79.Y67)

J. Murray: Smoky Cape to Port Jackson, 1802 (File 80.Y45/3)

J. Murray: Broken Bay to Cape Howe, 1802 (File 81.Y62)

J. Hunter: Broken Bay, 1789 (File 82.C581a/2)

M. Flinders: Bass Strait: Raine Head to Wilson Promontory, Flinders Island and Banks Strait, 1798 (File 83.Y65)

M. Flinders: Wilson Promontory to Flinders island, 1802 - 1803 (File 84.Y49/2)

J. Grant: Wilson Promontory to Cape Schanck, 1801 (File 85.Y63)

M. Flinders: Cape Patterson to Cape Otway, including Western Port Bay and Port Phillip, 1802 (File 86.Y50/1)

M. Flinders: North-east Tasmania and Furneaux Group, 1798 - 1799 (File 87.Y49/5)

M. Flinders: Southern Tasmania, 1798 (File 88.Y49/7)

J. Hayes: Cape Pillar to South West Cape, including Derwent River and D'Entrecasteaux Channel, 1798 (File 89.A466)

W. Bligh: Cape Pillar to South West Cape, 1777 (File 90.497/2)

M. Flinders: North-west Tasmania, including Hunter Island, 1798 (File 91.Y49/8)

C. Robbins: Tasmania: Hunter Island to Circular Head, 1802 - 1803 (File 92.Y41)

M. Flinders: Cape Otway to King and Albatross Islands, 1802 (File 93.Y49/10)

M. Flinders: Soundings south-east of Cape Otway, 1802 (File 94.Y50/4)

M. Flinders: Cape Northumberland to Encounter Bay, 1802 (File 95.Y50/5)

M. Flinders: Encounter Bay to Foul Bay, including Backstairs Passage and Investigator Strait, 1802 (File 96.Y50/7)

M. Flinders: St Vincent Gulf and Corny Point to Riley Point, 1802 (File 97.Y50/8)

M. Flinders: Investigator Strait and Spencer Gulf, 1802 (File 98.Y50/9)

M. Flinders: Upper part of Spencer Gulf, 1802 (File 99.Y50/10)

M. Flinders: Spencer Gulf: Shoalwater Point to Harvey Bay, 1802 (File 100.Y51/1)

M. Flinders: Spencer Gulf: Tumby Island to Liguanea Island, including Louth Bay, Port Lincoln, 1802 (File 101.Y51/2)

M. Flinders: Spencer Gulf: Sir Joseph Banks Group to Coffin Bay, including Port Lincoln, Cape Catastrophe, 1802 (File 102.Y54/1)

M. Flinders: Cape Wiles to Lat.33 degrees S., 1802 (File 103.Y51/3)

M. Flinders: Streaky, Smoky and Denial Bays and Nuyts Archipelago, 1802 (File 104.Y51/4)

M. Flinders: Point Eyre to Long.130 degrees E., 1802 (File 105.Y51/5)

M. Flinders: Long.130 degrees 30'E. to 126 degrees 30'E., 1802 - 1803 (File 106.Y51/7)

M. Flinders: Long.126 degrees 35'E. to 121 degrees 30'E., 1802 - 1803 (File 107.Y51/9)

M. Flinders: Recherche Archipelago, 1802 - 1803 (File 108.Y52/1)

M. Flinders: Long.121 degrees 30'E. to Bald Island, 1801 - 1802 (File 109.Y52/3)

G. Vancouver: Recherche Archipelago to Chatham Island, 1791 (File 110-11.436/1-2)

G. Vancouver: Recherche Archipelago to Chatham Island, 1791 (File 112.523a)

M. Flinders: Bald Island to Cape Leeuwin, 1801-2, 1801 - 1802 (File 113.Y52/4)

P.P. King: Rottnest Island to Lat.30 degrees S., 1821 (File 114.E248/7)

P.P. King: Point Dongard to Lat.26 degrees 45'S., 1821 (File 115.E248/8)

P.P. King: Cape Cuvier to Cape Wessel, 1818 - 1822 (File 116.E248/9)

P.P. King: Cape Cuvier to Rosily and Airlie Islands, 1818 - 1821 (File 117.E248/10)

P.P. King: Exmouth Gulf to Thevenard Island, 1818 - 1821 (File 118.E248/11)

P.P. King: Rosily and Airlie Islands to Forestier Island, including Dampier Archipelago, 1818 - 1821 (File 119.E248/12)

P.P. King: Scholl Island to Point Walcott, including Dampier Archipelago, 1818 - 1821 (File 120.E248/13)

P.P. King: Cape Latouche Treville to Cape Baskerville, 1821 (File 121.E248/14)

P. P. King: Coulomb Point to Scott Strait, 1821 (File 122.E248/15)

P.P. King: Cape Bertholet to Hall Point, 1821 (File 123.E248/16)

P.P. King: Prince Regent River to Cambridge Gulf, 1821 (File 124.E248/17)

P.P. King: Camden Sound to Vansittart Bay, 1821 (File 125.E248/18)

P. Heywood: Soundings Champagny Island and Scott Reef to Sahul Bank, 1801 (File 126.V48)

M. Flinders: Soundings Sahul Bank and Timor, 1803 (File 127-29.Y52/8-10)

P.P. King: Cambridge Gulf to Melville Island, 1819 (File 130.E248/21)

P.P. King: Cape Fourcroy to Braithwaite Point, including Melville Island and Clarence Strait, 1818 (File 131.D820)

M. Flinders: New Year Island to Wessel Island to Limmer Bight, 1802 - 1803 (File 132.Y53/1)

M. Flinders: Wessel Island to Groote Eylandt, 1802 - 1803 (File 133-34.Y53/4-5)

M. Flinders: Sir Edward Pellew Group to Lat.11 degrees S. and east coasts of Gulf, 1802 - 1803 (File 135.Y53/6)

M. Flinders: Sir Edward Pellew Group, 1802 - 1803 (File 136.Y53/7)

M. Flinders: River van Alpen to Lat.12 degrees S. and east coasts of Gulf, 1802 - 1803 (File 137.Y53/8)

R. Pickersgill: New Zealand: Capt. Cook's discoveries, 1770 (File 138.552/1)

R. Pickersgill: New Zealand: Capt. Cook's discoveries, 1770 (File 139-40.458)

R. Pickersgill: Cape Maria Van Diemen to Cavalli Island, 1769 (File 141.552/8)

R. Pickersgill: Cavalli Island to Mayor Island including Hauraki Gulf, 1769 (File 142.552/3)

J. Cook: Cavalli Island to River Thames, 1770 (File 143.B3806)

R. Pickersgill: Tauranga Harbour to Poverty Bay, 1769 (File 144.552/2)