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Matthew Flinders
Title : Matthew Flinders Matthew Flinders
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Source : Naval chronicle, vol. 32,1814, opp.p.178
Place Of Creation : London
Publisher : Printed and published by and for Joyce Gold
Date of creation : 1814
Additional Creator : Flinders, Samuel 1782-1834
Format : Magazine
Catalogue record
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Description :

This portrait of Matthew Flinders appeared with the obituary written by his brother Samuel which was published in The Naval Chronicle, September 1814, two months after his death. Flinders was born on 16 March 1774 at Donington, Lincolnshire. From a family of doctors, Flinders was expected to take up the same profession, but inspired by reports of Cook's discoveries, and the reading of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, he decided to go to sea. Flinders began his naval career at the age of fifteen, on the HMS Alert. The following year he sailed with Captain Bligh on the Providence to Tahiti and honed his navigation skills. In 1795 he sailed in the Reliance to the new convict settlement at Botany Bay. On board Flinders befriended George Bass, who was of a similar intrepid nature. With Bass, Flinders made a number of small boat journeys and refined the charts of the New South Wales coast. In 1798 Flinders and Bass set out in the Norfolk to explore the extent of the strait between the mainland and Van Diemen's Land [Tasmania]. By circumnavigating Van Diemen's Land, Flinders proved that it was a separate island. After further exploration in the new colony, he returned home to England to put his proposal to explore the entire coast of Terra Australis to Sir Joseph Banks, who had great influence with the British Admiralty. By February 1801 the ambitious Flinders had been given command of the Investigator for this voyage of discovery, which was scheduled to take four years. The Investigator reached Cape Leeuwin on 6 December 1801. Sailing eastwards, Flinders first charted the unknown southern coastline, unexpectedly encountering Nicolas Baudin and the French expedition, and arriving in Port Jackson in May 1802.

After repairs to the ship and resupply, Flinders continued his survey of Australia's coast, sailing north from Sydney. In the Gulf of Carpentaria, the ship was examined and found to be rotten. Some repairs were made which enabled Flinders to continue his surveys, but he knew his time was limited by the weather. He would have to leave the north coast before the onset of the monsoon season if he was to return safely to Sydney. He stopped his work in March 1803 and sailing anti-clockwise circumnavigated Australia to return to Sydney, where he hoped to be able to acquire another ship to continue his work. However none was available and he would have to sail to England to apply for one. After shipwreck and rescue, he finally sailed in the Cumberland. Flinders was again encumbered with a leaky vessel and was forced by absolute necessity to put into Mauritius, held by France and with which England was again at war. Flinders was detained on the island for six and half years, finally reaching home in 1810. By this time a very ill man, he spent the next four years writing the account of his voyage and supervising the publishing of his charts. He died in July 1814 at forty years of age, the day after his account was published. Flinders has been described as one of the world's most accomplished navigators and hydrographers. He also contributed to the science of navigation, including research on tide action, and compass deviation due to the presence of iron in ships.
Related names :

Flinders, Matthew, 1774-1814

Flinders, Samuel Ward, 1782-1834

Coverage year : 1814
Further reading :
Retter, Catharine Letters to Ann: the love story of Matthew Flinders and Ann Chappelle Pymble, N.S.W.: HarperCollins, 1999

Estensen, Miriam The life of Matthew Flinders Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 2002

Ingleton, Geoffrey C. Matthew Flinders, navigator and chartmaker Guildford, Surrey: Genesis Publications in association with Hedley Australia, 1986

Flinders, Matthew, Matthew Flinders: personal letters from an extraordinary life edited by Paul Brunton
Sydney: Hordern House in association with the State Library of New South Wales, 2002

The Encounter, 1802: art of the Flinders and Baudin voyages [compiled by] Sarah Thomas Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia, 2002

Brown, Anthony J. Ill-starred captains: Flinders and Baudin Hindmarsh, S. Aust.: Crawford House Publishing, 2000

Ashley, Peter The indomitable Captain Matthew Flinders, Royal Navy Clanfield, England: Pierhead, 2005

Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

State Library of South Australia: Mortlock Wing. Taking it to the edge August 2004-

State Library of South Australia: Treasures of the State Library. Under the Southern Cross. Model of the Investigator



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