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Captain Matthew Flinders RN

Date: 1814
Overall: 900 x 750 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00000850
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    Matthew Flinders was the first European explorer to circumnavigate the Australian coastline and prove it was one continent. This hand coloured stipple engraving depicts Flinders in captain's dress uniform of navy blue jacket and white waistcoat with gold braid and gold buttons. The print was published in London on 30 September 1814 for the Naval Chronicle Office, just two months after Flinders had died in London. It was printed in honour of the navigator and appeared alongside an obituary compiled by his brother Samuel.
    SignificanceThis engraving depicts Matthew Flinders - one of the great maritime explorers of Australia.
    HistoryMatthew 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 his charts were so accurate that they were still being used in the 20th century. Family records describe Flinders as 'slight and active' with a 'pale complexion' and having 'extreme energy and activity'. He was a devout student of navigation and cartography, impressing many associates with his enthusiasm and perseverance.

    Flinders sailed to New South Wales in 1795 onboard HMS RELIANCE. He received a number of appointments with the colony's government to explore the coastline of New Holland (Australia), and with the help of the explorer George Bass, Flinders confirmed that Van Diemen's Land was separate from New South Wales. His most important command was HMS INVESTIGATOR - with the backing of the notable and highly respected Sir Joseph Banks. The purpose of the voyage was to make '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'.

    On his return voyage to England in December 1803 Flinders was forced to stop at Ile de France (Mauritius) for supplies and repairs. At the time England was once more at war with France. Flinders was detained as a suspected spy for seven years on the French occupied island, spending time completing survey work, charts and his expedition narrative.

    After being released in 1810 Flinders made his way back to England and endeavored to complete his three volume publication detailing the INVESTIGATOR expedition, titled 'A Voyage to Terra Australis'. He died in London on 19 July 1814, aged 40 - the day his publication was released.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Captain Matthew Flinders RN

    Web title: Captain Matthew Flinders RN

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