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Australia

Matthew Flinders was the third of the triad of great English sailors by whom the principal part of Australia was revealed. A poet of our own time, in a line of singular felicity, has described it as the "last sea-thing dredged by sailor Time from Space; "* (* Bernard O'Dowd, Dawnward, 1903.) and the piecemeal, partly mysterious, largely accidental dragging from the depths of the unknown of a land so immense and bountiful makes a romantic chapter in geographical history. All the great seafaring peoples contributed something towards the result.

The condition of Le Geographe when she made her appearance outside Port Jackson, on June 20th, 1802, was in striking and instructive contrast with that of the Investigator on her entry forty-two days before. Flinders had not a sick man on board. His crew finished the voyage a company of bronzed, jolly, hearty sailors, fit for any service. Baudin, on the contrary, had not a single man on board who was free from disease.

Among the Flinders Papers is a list of names given by Flinders to points on the Australian coast, with his reasons for doing so. The list is incomplete, but has served as the basis of the following catalogue, for help in the enlargement of which I am greatly indebted to Mr. Walter Jeffery: -

Young Flinders received his preparatory education at the Donington free school. This was an institution founded and endowed in 1718 by Thomas Cowley, who bequeathed property producing nowadays about 1200 pounds a year for the maintenance of a school and almshouses. It was to be open to the children of all the residents of Donington parish free of expense, and in addition there was a fund for paying premiums on the apprenticeship of boys.

Preparations for the continuance of researches in the Investigator proceeded speedily during June and July, 1802. Friendly relations were maintained with the staff of the French ships, who on one occasion dined on board with Flinders, and were received with a salute of eleven guns. A new chart of the south coast was then shown to Baudin, with the part which he had discovered marked with his name.

Hat Hill, named by Flinders from Cook's suggestion that it "looked like the crown of a hat." Red Point. Martin's Isles, after the boy who accompanied them. Providential Cove (native name, Wattamowlee).

VOYAGE OF THE FRANCIS:

Green Cape. Cape Barren Island. Clarke Island, Hamilton's Rocks, after members of the crew of the Sydney Cove. Kent's Group, after the Captain of the Supply. Armstrong's Channel, after the Master of the Supply. Preservation Island.

VOYAGE OF THE NORFOLK:

Bligh's second expedition was authorised by the admiralty in March, 1791, and the commander was consulted as to "what sort of vessel may be best adapted to the object in view." The Providence, a 28-gun ship, was chosen, with the brig Assistant as a tender. The latter was placed in charge of Lieutenant Nathaniel Portlock. Flinders, eager for sea experience, joined the Providence as a midshipman on May 8th, and thus had the advantage of being under the immediate direction of her captain.

There was some anxious discussion between King and Flinders as to the best course to follow for the expeditious completion of the survey of the coasts of Australia. The Investigator being no longer fit for the service, consideration was given to the qualifications of the Lady Nelson, the Porpoise, the Francis, and the Buffalo, all of which were under the Governor's direction. King was most willing to give his concurrence and assistance in any plan that might be considered expedient.

A. MANUSCRIPT SOURCES.

1. The Flinders Papers, in the Melbourne Public Library, consisting of a letter-book of Flinders (August 31, 1807, to May 31, 1814); manuscript narrative of the voyage of the Francis; miscellaneous notes and memoranda by friends and relatives, a short manuscript memoir, and a large quantity of transcripts of journals, family letters, etc. This material is not at present numbered, and allusions to it in the text of the book are therefore made by the general reference, "Flinders Papers."

When Bligh's expedition returned, Europe was staggering under the shock of the French Revolution. The head of Louis XVI was severed in January; the knife of Charlotte Corday was plunged into the heart of Marat in July; Marie Antoinette, the grey discrowned Queen of thirty-eight, mounted the scaffold in October. The guillotine was very busy, and France was frantic amid internal disruption and the menace of a ring of foes.

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