19 July 2014
A LIFE-SIZE bronze statue of Matthew Flinders, the first man to circumnavigate the country and pen the name `Australia', was installed at Euston Station early on Saturday.
With people sprawled at its base, bags haphazardly resting around it, an abandoned coffee cup left on its top, and somewhat bizarrely, a small flower pot having been placed at its centre, by 10am the sculpture looked well at home.
Midway between platforms and beneath the arrivals and departure boards, it looks out at, and will inevitably become a leaning post for, thousands of travellers passing through the station each day.
The statue, which shows the British explorer working over a map of Australia with his cat Trim, is the result of a two-year project by South Australian officials in the UK to create a lasting memory of Flinders in Britain.
It was unveiled by Prince William in a ceremony at Australia House in London on Friday morning, and less than 24 hours later was moved to the station, where Flinders is believed to be buried.
The Duke of Cambridge praised sculptor Mark Richards for "telling the story of Captain Flinders with such elegance".
"First, I appreciate the way this work communicates Captain Flinders as a man of action, strength and determination," he said.
"Second, I very much appreciate the sensitivity of the inscription around the base of the statue.
"Some of you may know that Matthew Flinders had an indigenous Australian on board ... with whom he clearly had a close rapport. His name was Bungaree, a person Flinders described as `worthy and brave'.
"'Worthy and brave' is a description that is just as apt for Captain Flinders himself."
While Flinders is a recognised name in Australia, particularly in South Australia where the Flinders Ranges, Flinders Chase National Park and Flinders University are named after him, the explorer is relatively unknown in the UK.
Agent General in London for South Australia Bill Muirhead said Flinders had an immeasurable influence by helping shape Australia, and it was great for his achievements to be recognised in his homeland.
"I hope that from today his story becomes much more widely appreciated in his home country."
Original Article Source: The Australian 19 July 2014