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Blog post from Sunday, 19 July, 2015

On this day, 19th July 1814, Matthew Flinders, the great navigator and cartographer, died.

Matthew Flinders (1774-1814) was the first man to circumnavigate Australia. His charts were so accurate that some are still in use to this day.

After sailing with Captain Bligh on the Providence, Flinders’ adventures brought him to Australia onboard the Reliance. In 1796 he explored the coastline around Sydney in a tiny open boat called Tom Thumb. He next proved that Tasmania was an island by finding and sailing through Bass Strait.

In his most successful voyage, 1801 - 1803, he charted the coastline of Australia, completing and linking together other partial surveys to give us the first complete picture of our island nation.

See more in Discover collections at the State Library of New South Wales. In the Library’s collections are Memorabilia, including a bicorn hat and sword belonging to Flinders, plus mementos kept by his wife.

Matthew Flinders, ca. 1800 - watercolour miniature portrait

Bicorn, or cocked hat, belonging to Matthew Flinders

Sword : said to have belonged to Matthew Flinders