Matthew Flinders rediscovered

Recently we had this interesting story, as told here by London blogger Stephen Liddell.

matthew-flinders

Matthew Flinders

Over the weekend I had a fascinating conversation with my nephew Warren who lives in Cooktown. It can be summed up in a comment he wrote on a Facebook post by a grand-nephew in Adelaide, Mitchell, whom I have never actually met.

I don’t know if you are aware or not, but you are a direct descendant of the Guringai nation through your father and directly descended from King Bungaree who circumnavigated Australia on the Investigator with Mathew Flinders and later again with Philip Parker King on the Mermaid. King Bungaree was the first individual to be called an Australian and the first Aboriginal person to be given a gorget. Your ancestral land extends from north head in Sydney to Lake Macquarie, south of Newcastle. The Prime Minister’s residence is on our ancestral land. Our ancestors were the Broken Bay Clan. I have photos, birth and marriage records and blanket lists as well as other records all relating to our history and much more. Mate you are indigenous to this country.

See also my post How indigenous are you? and Warren’s own 2006 version at Family stories 4 — A Guringai Family Story. In the weekend conversation Warren confirmed that Sophy Bungaree — Warren’s direct ancestor on his mother’s side — was the daughter of Bungaree, as stated here.

Bungaree pictured in red colonial coat with black and gold details for hand-drawn portrait.

Do read Keith Vincent Smith, Bungaree. See also Bungaree was the first Australian to circumnavigate the continent, but he’s less well known than Matthew Flinders. Circumnavigated Australia TWICE in fact, which Flinders never did — or of course, James Cook, despite the impression left recently by our Prime Minister.

Not detracting at all from the achievements of Flinders — or Cook. On Flinders see Flinders Memorial.

Another topic in my conversation with Warren concerned the earlier (1804) version of Flinders’s famous map. This is the later version (1814):

5071804-3x2-940x627

See this 2004 news story The chart that put Australia on the map:

At 11.30am today in the Parkes Room of Parliament House, the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir, will present a chart to the president of the Legislative Council, Dr Meredith Burgmann. The chart is singularly plain: a simple, if meticulous, pen and ink rendition of the continent we call home.

Yet behind today’s ceremony lies a fascinating tale of two men, separated by two centuries. The first is Matthew Flinders, the explorer and map-maker who died in 1814, aged just 40. The second is Bill Fairbanks, 66, a company secretary from Wahroonga. What the two share is obsession. Flinders – born in Lincolnshire on March 16, 1774 – was obsessed with becoming the first man to circumnavigate the continent (a mission he achieved on June 9, 1803 when his ship, Investigator, limped back into Sydney harbour).

As for Fairbanks, he is obsessed with reminding us that 2004 is the 200th anniversary of an emotional moment in our history, the first time the name “Australia” was ever used on a map….

Warren was at a presentation earlier in Canberra involving the Governor-General and three descendants of Flinders —  great-great-great granddaughters Martha, Rachel and Susannah.

Just spoke to Warren by phone. He may be sending me pics of that occasion.

In the Herald story State Librarian Paul Brunton noted:

Flinders began drawing his chart in the middle of 1804 after being imprisoned by the French on Mauritius on his way home to Britain.

The Englishman had arrived on the island the previous December, and had been promptly arrested as a spy. He spent the next 6 years detained on Mauritius, despite his eagerness to get back to London to share his discoveries with the world.

By August 1804, Flinders had completed his chart, the first time the continent that had been named New Holland or Terra Australis had ever been accurately depicted. Perhaps even more symbolically, he had clearly labelled his chart “Australia or Terra Australis” – the first time, literally, Australia had been put on the map.

Yet despite its emotional significance, says Brunton, the 1804 map has never achieved the public acclaim it deserves….

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