The Duke of Cambridge, will unveil a statute in honour of Captain Matthew Flinders, the first cartographer to circumnavigate Australia and identify it as a continent, at Australia House, London. The Duke will hear national anthems and speeches, meet the statue's artist Mark Richards, unveil the statue, and reveal a locomotive Matthew Flinders name plate, before meeting guests.
British explorer, Matthew Flinders, is celebrated in Australia as the man who gave the country its name.
Aged just 27, he was the first to circumnavigate Australia, and define the borders of the continent, proving that New South Wales and Western Australia (New Holland as it was then known) were a single entity. Flinders became the driving force behind the naming of the country when he wrote “Terra Australis” on his 1804 chart after he explored the then ‘unknown’ southern coast of Australia.
Sculptor, Mark Richards, set out to create a work that both explained who Flinders was, and what he did. This life-size six-foot high bronze statue is to be unveiled by HRH The Duke of Cambridge at Australia House, before being installed at its permanent home in Euston Station. The station is built on the site where it is believed Flinders was buried, upon his death age 40.
The Duke will also reveal a commemorative Matthew Flinders locomotive name plate for one of Virgin’s Pendolino trains that run between London Euston and Glasgow.
Flinders is considered the nautical grandson of Captain James Cook whose wisdom was passed down through Captain William Bligh, who had served under Cook and later commanded Flinders in the Providence.
His professional prowess and expertise as a navigator and hydrographer, inherited from Cook and Bligh, was further enhanced by his own experiences and determination. During an earlier exploration of Australia he also established with George Bass that Tasmania (then referred to as Van Diemen’s Land) was a separate island from the mainland of Australia. He is also responsible for naming more than 150 places across Australia including such tourist attractions as Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Experts say there is little doubt he would have achieved even more had he not died at the early age of forty.
Flinders left his mark on Australia and its history and so helped lay the foundations that were to prove so vital to the country’s future. He has become a household name in Australia and now has a University named in his honor – Flinders University in the city of Adelaide, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016.
For more information please visit: http://www.flindersmemorial.org/ (site live on 11/07/14)