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Darwin's HMS Beagle chronometer to be sold by Bonhams in London next month
The chronometer will be offered in the Fine Clocks sale at New Bond Street, London, on July 9 with an estimate of £30,000–50,000. Photo: Bonhams.
SYDNEY.- An historic marine chronometer that was instrumental in mapping parts of the Australian coastline in the 19th century will go under the hammer in London next month.

Parts of Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory were mapped using the ‘W.E.Frodsham 2’ chronometer, which could fetch as much as $90,000 at auction.

The chronometer also accompanied Charles Darwin on his first-ever expedition aboard the legendary Admiralty ship the HMS Beagle.

Bonhams Australia chairman Mark Fraser said the auction was an opportunity for collectors to own an important piece of Australian and scientific history.

“It’s rare that such an important historical icon of colonial exploration comes to light, and one with a Charles Darwin connection to boot,” Mr Fraser said.

Charles Darwin was a young science graduate when he sailed with the HMS Beagle on its second expedition from 1831 to 1836, visiting South America, the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Sydney and Hobart.

The 190-year-old chronometer was also aboard the Beagle for its third expedition, when it undertook a survey of the Australian coast and resulted in the naming of Port Darwin and the Fitzroy River. In 1857 it joined HMS Herald for a further survey of the Australian coast.

Darwin’s five-year voyage was the catalyst for him developing his theory of evolution and he wrote extensively about his experiences in The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle and On the Origin of Species published in 1859.

The chronometer will be offered in the Fine Clocks sale at New Bond Street, London, on July 9 with an estimate of £30,000–50,000 (AUD$55,000–91,000).





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