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Matthew Flinders
explorer, navigator
1774 - 1814

 

Flinders was the person chiefly responsible for giving our country the name 'Australia' (see The naming of Australia).

From 1802 - 1803, Matthew Flinders circumnavigated the continent in a leaky and rotting vessel, Investigator, producing a map of remarkable accuracy on which for the first time the word "Australia" was provocatively inscribed. Flinders proved there was one landmass: The east, New South Wales, was joined to the west, New Holland. He had already proven that Tasmania was separated from the mainland by a navigable strait. Flinders' handwritten logbooks and journals provide the earliest observations of parts of the Australian coast, the flora and fauna, as well as recording his contact with indigenous Australians. The story of Flinders' intrepid cat 'Trim', of whom he wrote so fondly, adds another dimension to our understanding of a unique man.

Flinders Street in Melbourne is named after him as is Flinders University. In the centre of Melbourne you will find a statue featuring Flinders and Bungaree.

 


The Bass & Flinders Memorial at Flinders (Victoria)