A book titled "Matthew Flinders' Narrative Of His Voyage In The Schooner FRANCIS: 1798 Preceeded And Followed By Notes On Flinders, Bass, The Wreck Of The SIDNEY COVE, & C, By Geoffrey Rawson With Engravings by John Buckland Wright".
This book is number 704 of 750 limited edition copies printed by Golden Cockerel Press in 1946 detailing Matthew Flinders' voyage as a passenger on board the schooner FRANCIS. It was taken from a manuscript by Flinders in the State Library of Victoria. In 1788 FRANCIS was sent to salvage cargo from the wreck of the SYDNEY COVE, lost in one of Australia's first attempts to trade with Bengal. Flinders' gained early experience in survey work despite the limitations in equipment and his status as a passenger.
SignificanceThis rare limited edition book contains information compiled by the famous explorer Matthew Flinders in his first official independent attempt to survey the Australian coast. Flinders theory on the existence of Bass Straight was of extreme importance to the colony of Australia, completely dependent on maritime shipping.
HistoryIn 1801-1803 Matthew Flinders was the first European to circumnavigate Australia and prove that New Holland and New South Wales was one continent. He was also the first to consistently use the term 'Australia', and produced charts so accurate they were still used well into the 20th century. His achievements made Flinders one of the most respected and famous marine explorers of the 1800s.
In 1788, prior to his circumnavigation of Australia Flinders requested and was granted permission by the Governor to conduct geographical observations on board the schooner FRANCIS. The primary goal of the expedition was to salvage cargo from the SYDNEY COVE wreck near Preservation Island. The expedition was Flinders first attempt to officially survey Australia's coast and geography. The trip sparked his ongoing interest in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), Bass Strait and the exploration of Australia's unknown coast.
Although he only had twelve days to conduct the work Flinders made insuightful descriptions of the wildlife and vegetation around Bass Straight, conducting survey work and discovering the Kent Group of islands. He also observed the sea currents and weather patterns around Preservation Island and theorised there was a body of water situated between Van Diemen's Land and mainland Australia. His report along with information collected by the explorer George Bass was of vital importance to the emerging colony, as a straight allowed quicker passages for ships travelling to England.
Flinders notes and journals from the FRANCIS expedition were later edited by Geoffrey Rawson and published by Golden Cockerel Press in 1946. Golden Cockerel Press was a very successful Limited Edition press which operated out of London, England during the 1930s-1950s. They specialised in historical research and the reproduction of books, manuscripts and journals related to Australian and Pacific maritime history.