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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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Captain Matthew Flinders RN

1814
an unknown artist and Joyce Gold Naval Chronicle Office (publisher)

stipple engraving on paper (sheet: 23.0 cm x 13.0 cm, image: 9.0 cm x 8.0 cm)

Matthew Flinders (1774–1814), navigator, entered the British navy at the age of fifteen, served with Captain Bligh on the voyage to Tahiti and fought on the Bellepheron. At twenty he sailed for Sydney on the same ship as surgeon George Bass, with whom he later made his first exploratory excursions in New South Wales, and with whom, in 1798–1799, he proved Van Diemen’s Land to be an island. Having returned to England, he set out again in 1801 on the Investigator, reaching Cape Leuwin, WA in December. Mapping the entire southern coast, he arrived in Port Jackson in May 1802. On 22 July he headed north, making detailed surveys of Queensland’s coastline and islands, inching through the Torres Strait and the Gulf of Carpentaria on the increasingly unseaworthy Investigator. With him was Bungaree. By way of Western Australia, they limped into Port Jackson on 9 June 1803. A few weeks later Flinders sailed for England as a passenger on HMS Porpoise to secure a suitable ship to continue his explorations. Porpoise struck a reef and was lost, but Flinders navigated its cutter more than 1127 km back to Port Jackson and its crew was saved. In December 1803, returning to England on the ramshackle Cumberland, Flinders was forced to take port in Mauritius. There, he was detained, under suspicion of being an English spy, until 1810. Having returned to England at last, Flinders wrote up his findings under the title A Voyage to Terra Australis. The day after its publication, he died. His grave, the whereabouts of which was long a mystery, was discovered beneath Euston Station, London, in January 2019 during archaeological surveys pending construction of a high-speed railway.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2014

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Joyce Gold Naval Chronicle Office

Captain Matthew Flinders (age 40 in 1814)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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