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Flinders' instructions
Title : Flinders' instructions Flinders' instructions
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Creator : Flinders, Matthew, 1774-1814
Source : Voyage to Terra Australis..., p. 8
Place Of Creation : London
Publisher : G. and W. Nicol
Date of creation : 1814
Format : Book
Catalogue record
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Description :

The detailed instructions Matthew Flinders received prior to sailing from England on his voyage of discovery included directions for exploring the unknown south coast, and the search for a strait or an opening to an inland sea. These instructions were drawn up for him by Sir Joseph Banks, under the signatures of the Lords of the Admiralty, St Vincent, Troubridge and Markham. However, while free to speculate on the possibilities of unexplored coasts, the instructions were very clear on Flinders' duties and responsibilities.

In an epic voyage of discovery lasting from 1801 to 1803, Matthew Flinders was the first to circumnavigate the island continent known as New Holland. On 18 July 1801, Flinders sailed from Portsmouth in HMS Investigator to explore the continent's 'unknown coast', sighting Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia, on 6 December. By 27 January 1802, the Investigator was near the head of the Great Australian Bight. From February to March 1802, the British crew surveyed Spencer's Gulf, explored Kangaroo Island, and charted St Vincent Gulf. In April the Investigator revisited Kangaroo Island, and on April 8 and 9, unexpectedly met the French expedition under the command of Nicolas Baudin at the location which became known as Encounter Bay. Despite their countries being at war, the captains exchanged information in a spirit of cooperation.

Flinders continued to journey eastwards, leaving present day South Australian waters on 19 April, and reaching Port Jackson in May 1802. After the ship had been refitted and the crew rested, the English expedition sailed north to survey the eastern coast of the continent, adding to Cook's earlier charts, and then chart the Gulf of Carpentaria. The pressing need for further ship repairs forced Flinders to sail to Timor. He stopped his survey of the north Australian coastline at Wessel Islands. The Investigator then continued on around the western and southern coasts of New Holland, arriving back in Port Jackson [Sydney] in June 1803, thereby completing the circumnavigation.

Related names :

Flinders, Matthew, 1774-1814

Coverage year : 1801
Place : Australia
Further reading :
Flinders, Matthew, A voyage to Terra Australis ... Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1966

Estensen, Miriam Discovery: the quest for the great south land St Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 1998

Schilder, Gunter Australia unveiled: the share of the Dutch navigators in the discovery of Australia Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1976

Terra Australis to Australia edited by Glyndwr Williams and Alan Frost Melbourne: Oxford University Press in association with the Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1988

Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

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



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