A Famous Crew Member

A Famous Crew Member


'Notwithstanding my great partiality to my friend Trim, strict justice obliges me to cite in this place a trait in his character which by many will be thought a blemish: He was, I am sorry to say it, excessively vain of his person, particularly of his snow-white feet.'

Matthew Flinders, A Biographical Tribute to the Memory of Trim (c. 1803-1810)


Matthew Flinders, in his whimsical biography of the cat, noted that 'Trim presented a request to be of the party [on Norfolk], promising to take upon himself the defence of our bread bags', and indeed Trim was to prove an accomplished ratter.

Flinders wrote of his four-footed friend that, he was: a 'good-natured purring animal', one 'endowed with an unusual degree of confidence and courage' who had been 'born on board His Majesty’s ship the Roundabout in 1799 during a passage from the Cape of Good Hope to Botany Bay.' Stephen Murray-Smith has noted the tribute to Trim, authored by Flinders, shows the great navigator and cartographer was 'an affectionate, tolerant and humorous man.'

Trim, being: 'a favourite with everybody on board, both officers and seamen, he was well fed, and grew fast both in size and comeliness.' Indeed, the cat was so loved that poor behaviour, particularly with regards to rations, was openly tolerated. For dinner, he 'was commonly seated a quarter of an hour before any other person, his modest reserve was such that his voice was not heard until everybody else was served. He then put in his request, not for a full allowance, he was too modest […] he petitioned for a little, little bit, a kind of tythe from the plate of each.'

The faithful feline was with his master on Mauritius. Unlike Flinders, Trim would never leave the island.


To the memory of


the best and most illustrious of his Race,

the most affectionate of friends,

faithful of servants

and best of creatures.

He made the Tour of the Globe, and a voyage to Australia,

which he circumnavigated and was ever the

delight and pleasure of his fellow voyagers.

Matthew Flinders, A Biographical Tribute to the Memory of Trim (c. 1803-1810)