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A Voyage to Terra Australis, volume 1

Date: 1814
Overall: 48 x 325 x 260 mm, 2.45 kg
Medium: Ink on paper in leather binding
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00001898
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    'A Voyage to Terra Australis', Volume I was written by the British navigator Matthew Flinders and records his command of HMS INVESTIGATOR to explore the Australian coastline in 1801, 1802 and 1803. It was during this voyage that Flinders became the first European to circumnavigate Australia. He began writing this two volume narrative and accompanying atlas while imprisoned for seven years on the Ile De France (Mauritius), during the Napoleonic War. It was published the same year that he died at the age of 40 in London.
    SignificanceThis famous book represents Flinders' exploration and charting of Australia's coastline between 1801 and 1803. His work substantially increased the knowledge, detail and accuracy of cartographic maps depicting the continent, so much so that they were still being used well into the 20th century.
    HistoryPrior to Matthew Flinders circumnavigation of the Australian coastline in 1801-1803 cartographic maps and charts of the continent were incomplete and inaccurate. Many believed Australia to be two individual land masses separated by an inland sea.

    With the backing of the notable and highly respected Sir Joseph Banks, Flinders was appointed in 1801 to take command of an expedition to 'New Holland for the purpose of making a complete examination and survey' of the southern coast, the north-west coast, the Gulf of Carpentaria and parts westward, Torres Strait and if time permitted 'the whole of the remainder of the north, the west and the north-west'.

    Flinders' exploration of Australia's coastline and the subsequent publication of 'A Voyage to Terra Australis', a 2 volume narrative with accompanying atlas greatly enhanced peoples' understanding of Australia's geography. Now respected as one of the greatest maritime explorers of his time, Matthew Flinders provided accurate and detailed charts of the Australia and chartered substantial areas of its unknown coast.

    'A Voyage to Terra Australia' also contained information about the settlement of Port Jackson, the Indigenous Australian population, a summary of earlier voyages of discovery to Terra Australis, details of his imprisonment on Ile de France (Mauritius), records on navigational science and the botany of the continent.
    Related People
    Publisher: G and W Nicol

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