Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer

4

Matthew Flinders' 'A Voyage to Terra Australis' (1814), Volume 1

2004.0011.0001

Matthew Flinders' 'A Voyage to Terra Australis' (1814), Volume 1

Object information

Physical description

Book titled 'A Voyage to Terra Australis : undertaken for the purpose of completing the discovery of that vast country, and prosecuted in the years 1801, 1802 and 1803' by Matthew Flinders, Printed by W. Bulmer, London, for G. and W. Nicol, London, Volume 1 of 2 (plus atlas volume), 1814. Pale green, dark blue and tan coloured marbled covers and page edges. Brown calf cover corners and spine that has five raised bands. Red lettering piece in second panel for title, and dark green lettering piece in third panel for author's surname and volume number. Decorative gilt aster motif in the centre of the other compartments. Bookplate of Richard Alsager inside front cover [Possibly Captain Richard Alsager who commanded the British East India Company Ship 'Waterloo',1325 tons]. Nine plates after William Westall, engraved by J. Byrne, John Pye, W. Woolnoth, I. Scott, Edward Finden and S. Middiman. A 203 page introduction detailing earlier South Seas voyages is followed by a day-by-day record of the expedition of Matthew Flinders to Australia. He sailed from England on 18 July 1801, and during the next two years he surveyed the entire south coast of Australia from Cape Leeuwin to Bass Strait, the east coast, and the Gulf of Carpentaria. He returned to Port Jackson in 1803 having completed the first circumnavigation of Australia. Has an appendix by Robert Brown the botanist who accompanied the expedition. Flinders was detained by the French in Mauritius for six and a half years on the return journey and was not released until June 1810. This work was formally published one day before his death on 19 July 1814.

Statement of significance

The Matthew Flinders Collection comprises one copy of Matthew Flinders (1814, London) A Voyage to Terra Australia comprising two volumes of text plus an atlas. The text traces the coastal exploration of Australia to 1803 whilst the charts in the atlas represent the state of British knowledge of the Australian coastline in 1810-11. The text volumes and atlas were purchased from the collection of Kevin Crotty at an Australian Book Auctions auction.

Matthew Flinders (1774-1814) was an accomplished navigator who served in Australian waters from 1795 to 1803, engaged mostly on coastal survey work. His most notable achievements were to demonstrate that Van Diemen's Land was not part of New South Wales and that New Holland and New south Wales were part of one continental mass. Flinders is generally acknowledged as the first to use the term 'Australia' to name that continent.

Object information

Back to top