A map of Sydney from 1802

A message on the AUS-CONVICTS mailing list on Rootsweb has provided a link to this wonderfully detailed German map of Sydney in 1802.

Plan von Sydney der Hauptstadt der Englischen Colonien in Australien.

Aufgenommen von Hrn. Lesueur; und berichtigt von Hrn Boullanger i. J. 1802

[Map of Sydney, the capital of the British colonies in Australia.

Recorded by Mr. Lesueur, and corrected by Mr Boullanger AD 1802]


It is an excellent reminder to all of us to look at maps of the places where our ancestors lived from the time that they lived there. Even if they didn’t live in Sydney, as my ancestors didn’t, they passed through here on their way out to the areas where they eventually settled, and probably stayed a day, or a week. Imagine them walking down these streets, past the Barracks or the Hospital, and seeing convict gangs and red-coated soldiers, and trying to find a bed and a meal for the night.

Look for maps of the area where your ancestor lived or might have visited. Here are a few examples:

  • Mapco, where the above map came from. They are constantly finding new maps for our pleasure.
  • National Library of Australia’s MapSearch, over 100,000 maps held in libraries across Australia.
  • Historical Parish Maps – NSW Department of Lands
  • Old Maps UK for UK maps

And don’t forget Google Maps, to see what the place looks like now, in both map and satellite views, and street view in some areas. Perhaps the old house is still there!

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