British charts are produced by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) and are often known as Admiralty charts. They offer worldwide coverage and the Library holds multiple editions of many charts. In the 19th century, charts were also produced by private companies, such as James Imray.
The UKHO’s index to its current charts can be found here.
A reference copy of the current edition of the “Catalogue of Admiralty charts” index book is available in the Special Collections Reading Room. Older editions can also be requested. An Excel spreadsheet listing the Library’s holdings of current Admiralty charts is available upon request.
All pre-1900 charts are catalogued individually, but few post-1900 editions are. Request UKHO charts via the overall series-level record .
Note that the Admiralty has changed its numbering system for its charts several times in the 20th century, so that a chart covering a particular area may have different numbers at different periods. Use the indexes/spreadsheet described above for current/recent charts. For historical charts, ask Maps Section staff for assistance.
The Library has many US charts, both US Coast Guard (USCG charts of American coastal waters, and US Navy (USN) charts offering worldwide coverage. The Library’s collection focuses mainly on USN Second World War charts of the SW Pacific region (including wartime American reprints of Japanese, German, French and British charts). Excel spreadsheets listing the Library’s holdings of USN and USCG charts are available upon request from the Maps Section.
Other nations’ charts
In general the Library currently collects charts of areas of Australian interest (e.g. Turkish charts of Gallipoli; some charts of East and Southeast Asian nations) but also has extensive holdings received by donation, or under exchange agreements with other countries in the 1960s-1990s. The Library’s catalogue usually has a single series record for each country’s charts (see country list above). The Map Section also holds official chart catalogues for French, New Zealand and Indonesian charts which can be used to assist with chart requests; in addition, Excel spreadsheets listing the Library’s holdings of charts from each of the countries noted above are available upon request from the Maps Section.