The Life of Matthew Flinders by Miriam Estensen

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By Miriam Estensen

The compelling tale of the lifestyles and instances of Matthew Flinders, certainly one of Australia's – and history’s - maximum explorers. From the writer of 'Discovery'.

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The Life of Matthew Flinders

The compelling tale of the lifestyles and occasions of Matthew Flinders, one among Australia's – and history’s - maximum explorers. From the writer of 'Discovery'.

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The Cape of Good Hope was reached in October. From the bay where the ships dropped anchor, Cape Town presented a ‘pretty appearance’ with trees and handsome buildings. The ships remained a welcome two months for repairs and to replenish their supplies of water, firewood and provisions. Flinders wrote again to his father and to Pasley with long, frank and sometimes amusing descriptions of sights and people. Also at the Cape was a Dutch ship, the Waaksamheid, with Captain John Hunter and his crew on board as passengers, en route from Sydney to England.

On duty he no doubt preserved his young dignity, but in his journal his sense of wonder slips through in the doubly underlined adjective when one night a ‘blazing meteor . . 6 Tiny islands seen in passing, native boats and people, the care of breadfruit seedlings—his journal describes them in fascinated detail. The extent of Flinders’s navigational and hydrographic work on the Providence cannot be determined with any certainty. His father, having received Matthew’s letters from Tenerife, wrote in his diary, ‘with pleasure I note his being in favour with Capt.

QXD 3/6/02 12:56 PM Page 32 Th e L i f e o f M a t t h e w F l i n d e r s He was a friend and scientific adviser of the king, George III, and corresponded with some of Europe’s most eminent scholars. In London his house in Soho Square was the meeting place of scientists, explorers, foreign savants and a great variety of others whom Banks found interesting. The collections in his library and herbarium were outstanding. His access to information was encyclopaedic. Although Banks’s greatest personal interest was always botany, he extended his intellectual domain to all aspects of natural history.

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