SpineOut : February - March 2019
SNEWS pine Out FEBRUARY / MARCH 2019 HOT OFF THE PRESS Matthew Flinders sought a sea-faring career even though his friends, after having read Robinson Crusoe, counselled against it. So in 1790, at the age of 15, he joined the Royal Navy. He proved to be an excellent sailor and cartographer, making three voyages to the Southern oceans from 1791 and 1810. He sailed from England to Australia even before it was called Australia. He and his best friend George Bass explored the east coast of New South Wales in a tiny boat called the Tom Thumb and later in a bigger boat sailed all around Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) to prove it was an island. He and his cat, Trim, were the first to circumnavigate Australia. They proved that the colony of New South Wales and New Holland in the west coast, was all the same country. He called it Terra Australis which then became Australia. On the way back to England, he called into Mauritius for repairs to his boat and the French imprisoned him there for six and a half years. Sadly Trim mysteriously disappeared and Matthew Flinders suspected he was eaten.