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Remapping the map collection

By Curtin Library 12 July 2017 News & events Comments Off on Remapping the map collection

Curtin University Library is currently appraising an interesting collection of maps, with the intention to make these available to staff and students.

The maps are from collections kept at Robertson Library and Kalgoorlie Campus Library (now WA School of Mines Library) and total approximately 1,500 items.


Map of all those parts of the Territory of New South Wales which have been seen by any person belonging to the settlement established at Port Jackson, in the said Territory.

The collection includes a variety of maps:

  • Geological and topographic maps, ranging from 1950s-1970s, covering areas of Western Australia and other Australian States and Territories.
  • Geological, geophysical and topographic maps as well as mine plans and areas of mining activity and resource development, ranging from 1884-2011 and covering mainly Australian and some South African mining regions.
  • Reproductions of sketches and charts of early exploration activity in Australia carried out in the early to late 1800s (including routes of expeditions, town planning and electoral districts).
  • Nautical charts of the Australian North West and North East coastline and Papua New Guinea, reproductions of surveys carried out in the 1800s.
  • Topographic maps of Central and South American regions from the early to mid-1900s.
  • A selection of geological maps of the Lunar Hemisphere from the 1960s-1970s.

Geological Sketch Map of Western Australia 1894, originally published by George Philip & Son, 32 Fleet Street, London

In reviewing the maps, the Library has focused on building a research collection, and has therefore aimed to ensure the material is relevant and useful for research purposes. Curtin’s WA School of Mines and the curator of maps at the National Library of Australia were consulted on evaluation criteria. As a result, the maps have been assessed based on historical value, Australian content, alternative availability and relevance to teaching and research needs at Curtin.

The maps were mostly published before the second world war, with a particular focus on the geology and geophysics of Australia and Western Australia (especially the Kalgoorlie region). The Kalgoorlie Campus Library maps are particularly important both for their rarity, and for their historical and potentially practical value to geology and geophysics staff and student researchers.

Once the appraisal is complete our next steps will be to ensure appropriate storage of the maps and investigate best options for discoverability and access to the collection.

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