Level 3 Mortlock Wing State Library of South Australia North Terrace Adelaide SA 5000

Maslen Thomas John, Friend of Australia 1830

Maslen, Thomas John. The friend of Australia or, a plan for exploring the interior and carrying on a survey of the whole continent of Australia, 1830. 

The book is important as an early work to seriously consider the exploration of the interior of Australia and to include a layout for an "Australian Town" similar to that adopted by Colonel Light for Adelaide in 1836.

2024 RGSSA 4621

Thomas Maslen enjoyed the climate and culture of India where he served in the army as an Officer of the Hon. East India Company.  Unfortunately his career finished prematurely due to ill health. After he was repatriated back to England he became interested in Australia reading everything he could about it. He became fascinated by the mysterious interior which at that time had not been explored.

Living in Yorkshire - which he called "the wilds of Siberia" - he wrote this book which includes a map of Australia adding to the interior whimsical names including "Australindia " and "Anglicania" and also showing "The Delta of Australia" with "The Great River or the Desired Blessing" flowing west across the Northern Territory and discharging into the Indian ocean.

Maslen was the first to recommended that camels would be the most suitable form of transport for exploring the interior of Australia and this proved to be correct in later years.

He also developed an interest in town planning and a layout plan for The Australian Town, which he drew in 1827, is included in the book based on a grid pattern similar that adopted in 1836 by Colonel Light for Adelaide, South Australia. Although it could not be shown on his plan "for want of room " Maslen was one of the first to suggest "That a park surrounding every town, like a belt one mile wide "- should be adopted.

RGSSA catalogue rgsp 919 M397

Maslen's plan for a town
Maslen's plan for a town
Maslen proposed camels for exploration
Maslen proposed camels for exploration