From our Cartography Department..
Maps have always played a part in my life. As a child and later as a teenager, they were partly an information source, partly a decoding exercise and partly a confirmation that I knew exactly where I was located in relation to the rest of the planet. In primary school there was a World map, complete with the British Commonwealth colored in red, stuck on our kitchen wall. This map provided some conversation at what was otherwise a fairly quiet dinner table. Rather, it was conversations replaced with endless quizzes, such as “What is the capital city of ….?” or “How many countries are the starting with the letter Q?” ‘The answer to this one, after searching the map, must have been nil, as Qatar wasn’t a country until after I had left school and Queensland and Quebec would never pass my parental judges, “states and provinces aren’t countries!”
The next influential map of my formative years was the Army Ordinance map, complete with contour lines and a complicated legend down the side. This was the Boy Scouts cartography experience. There may have been a badge if you could demonstrate successfully how to read an Ordinance map, but from memory, it was more like using it on a Sunday afternoon hike to orientate your way back to the carpark before the picnic van left for Melbourne being reward enough.
The third great map of my growing up lived on the parcel shelf of our Ford Zephyr Mark 2, [although it could have also been on the floor after serious] braking. This was the Morgan’s Official Street Directory, Melbourne and Suburbs.
In glorious black and white, I could follow the route we were taking across town to visit relatives. Annoyingly, following such a route involved flipping from one map page to another non-consecutive map page and then onto yes, another non-consecutive map before you reached your destination.
Melbourne has produced a number of significant maps over the years. While the Morgan's is one of them, we need to go back in time and the also explore the cartography of Melbourne in more recent years.
Robert Hoddle’s 1837 map of the city grid was certainly one of the most important of them. This was the traditional street map from above, although interestingly, not quite on a north / south axis.
In that same year Robert Russell’s Map shewing the site of Melbourne and the position of the huts & buildings previous to the foundation of the township by Sir Richard Bourke in 1837, plotted much of the natural environment of Melbourne of the time, along with the proposed positioning of Hoddle’s Grid in dotted lines.
As Melbourne grew, William Green’s 1852 Map showed both the expansion of Hoddle’s Grid beyond Lonsdale Street and the streets of Melbourne’s fledgling suburbs. This map shows Melbourne just prior to the chaos and growth caused by the gold rushes.
By the latter part of the nineteenth century there was also a tradition of producing three dimensional looking maps of Melbourne. These maps had provided more a birds-eye view of the city complete with a few artistic elements, such as a spectator viewing the city from afar. See this SLV blogpost for more https://blogs.slv.vic.gov.au/such-was-life/birds-eye-views-of-melbourne/ on this topic.
In 1854, two years after Green’s Map had been produced the real estate industry, Nathaniel Whittock, drew the first bird’s eye view map of Melbourne for a much different clientele. Named The City of Melbourne, Australia drawn by N. Whittock from official surveys and from sketches taken in 1854 by G. Teale Esqr. of Melbourne, Whittock’s map came with a numbered index indicating prominent buildings. It also showed the newly opened Melbourne to Sandridge [Port Melbourne] train line.
1880 was the year of the Melbourne International Exhibition, and it was another bird’s eye view map. Like the venue for that exhibition, the World Heritage listed, Royal Exhibition Building, [included in the top right corner of the map], this map by Samuel Calvert was monumental in its scope of illustrating post gold rush Melbourne. Like the Whittock map, it came with a numbered index of significant buildings. Download it from here
https://digitised-collections.unimelb.edu.au/handle/11343/23968 and have a look.
It’s also interesting to compare it with a traditional street map of Melbourne of that year. Whitehead's map of Melbourne and suburbs 1880, compiled from the latest authentic sources, with new electoral districts coloured is online here. https://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/114804
It seems that there was a 50 year break until the next bird’s eye view map of Melbourne. In 1934, O J Dale, produced a map for the centenary of European settlement of Melbourne. As well as being three dimensional looking, it was full of labels, breakouts, with the occasional element of humour. Framed by caricatures of famous characters in Melbourne’s history, [all male, all European origin], it was sponsored by a rubber company.
What amazing about bird’s eye maps is that they are a mixture of art and cartography. They are all unique. They are all massive undertakings.
Another 50 years or so would go by, before Melbourne would see next map in this genre. Named The Melbourne Map, it would be published in 1990. For more of this amazing enterprise by Melinda Clarke and Deborah Young, read The Melbourne Map blogpost, https://www.themelbournemap.com.au/history/. Making such a map 30 years ago, a Morgan’s Street Directory, [or a Melways, or a UBD or a Gregory’s], would be resources along with a few aerial maps. But there was no ready access to anything like Google Maps. To fill in such gaps, Melinda went out and just took photographs. To this day she still has some several thousand images from this project. There is much more of this story in a recent interview with Melinda and Clare Bowditch. https://soundcloud.com/abc-melbourne/melinda-clarke-from-the-melbourne-map-project.
For those of us that live in this great city, Melbourne has changed remarkably in the 27 years since the publication of the first The Melbourne Map. And so the need for the new edition. Melinda Clarke and Deborah Young are there again, making them the only partnership that has been involved in two such maps of Melbourne. The Whittock / Calvert / Dale of the team is Lewis Brownlie. See https://www.themelbournemap.com.au/about/the-team/ So while the new edition of The Melbourne Map is much more complex planning, researching, illustrating and printing task, it is also a very different task. The project set up was crowdfunded through Pozible, the project has a website and an Instagram page, Google Maps are there for accuracy, as is software for the later colorisation. Watch the video if you want more. The Melbourne Map set up an exhibition in Collins Place, Melbourne on November 13-19, 2017. This was an opportunity for the public to meet Melinda, Deborah and Lewis, see great displays to see Lewis illustrating.
The Melbourne Map will be finished sometime next year. It will be a stunning record for anyone interested in Melbourne and for future generations, who will love it like its first edition or the maps of Whittock, Calvert and Dale. To order one of these great maps go to https://www.themelbournemap.com.au/shop/
For more images of my visit to the exhibition see https://flic.kr/s/aHsmbqmSTW