Matthew Flinders bronze plaque in Portsmouth

First Circumnavigation of Australia.
Unveiled by Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Paula Riches 19th November 2010.
On 18th July 1801, HM Sloop Investigator under the command of Commander Matthew Flinders, Royal Navy set sail from Portsmouth's naval anchorage at Spithead. Commander Flinders had been commissioned to carry out a running survey and chart the entire coastline of the then unknown continent of Terra Australis. The circumnavigation was completed between 6th December 1801 and 9th June 1803. On the return passage Flinders was detained on the Ile de France (Mauritius) for six and a half years, returning to Portsmouth on 24th October 1810, giving Terra Australis the name of Australia

Captain Matthew Flinders RN (16 March 1774 – 19 July 1814) was a distinguished English navigator and cartographer, who was the first to circumnavigate Australia and identify it as a continent.Flinders made three voyages to the southern ocean (August 1791 – August 1793, February 1795 – August 1800 and July 1801 – October 1810). In the second voyage, George Bass and Flinders confirmed that Van Diemen's Land now Tasmania was an island. In the third voyage, Flinders circumnavigated the mainland of what was to be called Australia.Heading back to England in 1803, Flinders' vessel needed urgent repairs at Isle de France (Mauritius). Although Britain and France were at war, Flinders thought the scientific nature of his work would ensure safe passage, but a suspicious governor kept him under arrest for more than six years. In captivity, he recorded details of his voyages for future publication, and put forward his rationale for naming the new continent 'Australia', as an umbrella term for New Holland and New South Wales – a suggestion taken up later by Governor Macquarie.Flinders' health had suffered, however, and although he reached home in 1810, he did not live to see the publication of his widely praised book and atlas, A Voyage to Terra Australis.

Source: dbpedia

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