Matthew Flinders - easier version

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In 1799, Matthew Flinders set off in the Norfolk and headed north from Sydney. He examined Moreton Bay and Hervey Bay.  After he returned to England, he was asked by the government to completely map the coastline of Australia.

Flinders was made a commander and given charge of a crew of 88 men aboard the Investigator. During this voyage he named many places including Cape Catastrophe where two of his crew was drowned. They were swamped while  returning from the mainland in a small boat. He also discovered and named Gulf St. Vincent, Kangaroo Island, Investigator Straits and Encounter Bay. Here he met up with a French sea captain, Captain Nicholas Baudin. Although Britain and France were at war in Europe, the 2 captains met and exchanged charts and information.

After some time in Sydney, Flinders continued in the Investigator up the east coast of Australia. Flinders reached the Gulf of Carpentaria and followed the coastline wondering if it led to an inland sea. The Investigator was now badly in need of repairs so he sailed north to Timor and rebuild his ship. While he was here he was able to get fresh supplies for his crew who were showing signs of scurvy.

When the repairs were finished, Flinders set sail down the west coast of Australia, arriving eventually back in Sydney on 9 June 1803. Flinders had circumnavigated Australia and was the first explorer to do so.

It was the last voyage for Flinders. Many of his crew had died and many were very sick. The Investigator was not considered fit to be used any more.

Flinders was eager to do more exploring, and so he decided to sail to England on the Cumberland to get money to finance a new expedition. Unfortunately, he was forced to call into Mauritius for repairs. The French arrested him as a spy and he spent the next six and a half years in gaol. The French took his charts and journals.

When he was set free at last, he found his name was almost forgotten. The French captain, Captain Baudin had claimed Matthew Flinder's discoveries as his own and had been given credit for the discoveries made by Flinders.

Flinders was broken-hearted and set about publishing his journal outlining all his discoveries. Unfortunately, he died the day it was published, 18 July 1814.

It was Flinders who suggested the name Australia after his 1801-1803 voyage.  At that time, the western half of Australia was known as New Holland, the eastern half as New South Wales and Tasmania was known as Van Diemen's Land. Governor Macquarie adopted the name in 1817.

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