Matthew Flinders

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Matthew Flinders
BirthplaceDonington, Lincolnshire, England
Royal Navy Ships Officer

Flinders, Matthew,

1774–1814, English naval captain and hydrographer, noted for his charting and coast surveys of Australia and Tasmania. From 1795 to 1799 and again from 1801 to 1803 he made valuable maps and charts of the water and coasts, circumnavigating both Australia and Tasmania. He is said to have been the first to perceive and correct compass errors caused by iron ships. He wrote A Voyage to Terra Australis (1814). Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie was his grandson.


See biography by J. D. Mack (1966); study by M. Colwell (1970).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Flinders, Matthew


Born Mar. 16, 1774, in Donington, Lincolnshire; died July 19, 1814, in London. English explorer of Australia.

In 1797–98, Flinders circumnavigated Tasmania with G. Bass on the Norfolk, establishing that it was an island. From 1801 to 1803, on the Investigator, he explored and mapped the southern coast of Australia and discovered Spencer Gulf, the Gulf of Saint Vincent, Yorke Peninsula, and some coastal islands, including Kangaroo Island, which had been discovered somewhat earlier by a French expedition under N. Baudin. In 1802, Flinders explored the eastern and northern coasts of Australia; he plotted the Great Barrier Reef and made a survey of the Gulf of Carpentaria. In 1814 he proposed that the continent be called Australia instead of New Holland.

A number of geographical features have been named after Flinders, including an island off Tasmania; a bay in the Indian Ocean; a passage and reefs in the Great Barrier Reef; and, in Australia, a mountain range, a river, a city, a bay, and the settlement of Flinders Bay, in the southwest.


A Voyage to Terra Australis, vols. 1–2 (with atlas). London, 1814.


Svet, la. M. Istoriia otkrytiia i issledovaniia Avstralii i Okeanii. Moscow, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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