Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Australian beginnings

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Matthew Flinders was born the oldest son of a surgeon-apothecary in the market town of Donington, Lincolnshire, in 1774. When Flinders was young he dreamed of wealth and fame, while reading of exotic locations in Robinson Crusoe and conscious of complaints by his father about their lack of money.

Matthew Flinders refused to follow in the footsteps of his father into medical practice. Instead he decided to pursue a career in the Royal Navy, where there was the prospect of prize money and the chance to make a name for himself.

When Flinders was fifteen years old he joined the H.M.S ALERT in October 178, as a Lieutenant’s servant. In 171 he sailed with Captain Bligh on the Providence and later with Captain Hunter. During the late 170’s Flinders’ sailed to Australia and established him as a first class navigator, an excellent cartographer and a man of determination. Flinders was a self-educated navigator.

Cheap University Papers on Australian beginnings

Matthew Flinders was a diminutive man at just 167 cm; he was fearless to the point of recklessness. This is what enabled him to captain his ship, Investigator, around the uncharted and treacherous Australian coastline. It is also what is believed to have led him to his imprisonment for six and a half years, when he should have been living in the glory of his achievements.

Achievements and Difficulties

In 175 Flinders first sailed to Australia aboard the Reliance for the British Navy. Matthew Flinders and George Bass bought an eight-foot long boat called Tom Thumb to explore the southern coastline of Australia. They first sailed south of Sydney and rowed up the Georges River. During 175- 178 they had mapped much of the southeast coast of Australia. In 178 Bass and Flinders sailed around Tasmania proving it to be an island. They were the first Europeans to realize that Tasmania was an island. Flinders returned to England aboard the Reliance in 1800.

In 1801, Flinders returned to Australia as Captain aboard the Investigator. He first sighted land at Cape Leeuwin. ‘On this second trip he mapped the entire south coast of Australia, from Cape Leeuwin to the Spencer Gulf to the Bass Strait. ). On July , 180, he sailed to the east coast of Australia, mapping the coastline from Port Jackson (where Sydney is located) up to the Gulf of Carpentaria. He continued west and then south, sailing completely around Australia; he returned to Port Jackson on June , 180, even though his boat was leaking badly. This was the first time anyone had sailed around Australia. Flinders was placed in charge of the Investigator to make a thorough survey of the Australian coastline. He had been married three months earlier and was expecting to take his wife along but Admiralty had other ideas. It was eight years before husband and wife met again.’

Flinders returned to England in 180 aboard the Cumberland. He had to stop for repairs at Mauritius. ‘Thinking he was a spy; the French kept him prisoner for 6 1/ years and stole his charts and papers (he was released when the British took over the island). He didnt arrive home until 1810, and reached home sick and a forgotten man. He wrote an account of his travels, called Voyage to Terra Australis Undertaken for the Purpose of Completing the Discovery of that Vast Country, and died the day after it was published.’

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