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Matthew Flinders: Chart of Terra Australis - East Coast. Sheet I

Map: AUNZ2771
Cartographer: Matthew Flinders
Title: Chart of Terra Australis - East Coast. Sheet I
Date: 1814
Published: London
Width: 18 inches / 46 cm
Height: 25 inches / 64 cm
Map ref: AUNZ2771
This chart covers the coast of New South Wales from Cape Hawke in the north to Batemans Bay in the south and was made during the first circumnavigation of Australia in H.M.S Investigator, Sloop. SL < br>
Other names on the map feature Broken Bay, Port Jackson, Botany Bay, Jervis Bay and Mount Dromedary. In modern geographical terms, it covers the coast from Cape Hawke in Booti Booti National Park, south to Newcastle, Gosford, Sydney, Wollongong and finally south to Batemans Bay.

There are several ship’s tracks shown along the coast: these include that of the Investigator before and after its call at Port Jackson on the first stage of its survey, together with the route of its last desperate voyage in 1803 from Timor; that of H.M.S Norfolk, detailing the survey made by Flinders during his second journey and that of and even earlier journey made by Flinders to the Furneaux Islands on the schooner Francis in 1797. There are four insets on the map, all made on the survey of the New South Wales coast by Captain (later Vice Admiral) John Hunter. These detail Port Hunter, Broken Bay, Port Jackson and Botany Bay.

Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)

Matthew Flinders was one of the greatest navigators and explorers of the early 19th century. He sailed to the Pacific three times and, on his second voyage, was the first person to record that Tasmania was an island and not part of the Australian landmass.

His third and final voyage was his longest and greatest, being also the first full circumnavigation of Australia. Lasting from 1801-3, Flinders, now in command of the sloop H.M.S. Investigator, began a detailed survey of the coast of the new continent from Cape Leuwin in the southwest. He surveyed the south coast, and then turned north to record the coasts of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory. He reached the northwest coast of the Gulf of Carpenteria, before he was forced to abandon the project due to the increasingly poor condition of his ship. He rounded the west coast and returned to Sydney in 1803.

In Sydney H.M.S. Investigator was condemned as unseaworthy and decommissioned, requiring Flinders to find an alternative route home. He made two attempts to return to Great Britain: the first, on H.M.S. Porpoise, resulted in a shipwreck on the Great Barrier Reef and a heroic 800 mile journey back to Sydney. On his second attempt, on H.M.S. Cumberland, the condition of the ship was so dangerous that they were forced to dock at the French-owned Ile de France (Mauritius) in December of 1803. France and Britain had recently resumed hostilities in the Napoleonic Wars, and Flinders was taken prisoner by the French governor of Mauritius. He was imprisoned for five years and seven months, remaining on the island until 1810 when he was exchanged for a captured French officer by an English fleet blockading the island.

Flinders finally reached Great Britain in October, 1810, and after a period of recovery he began to prepare his papers for publication. His account of the voyage, which was published in 1814, included an atlas of sixteen charts pertaining to his coastal survey. It remains one of the greatest and most important accounts of Pacific exploration. Sadly, Flinders, whose health had been shattered, did not live to see their success, passing away just before the work was issued, at age 40. SL [AUNZ2771]