Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Flinders Treat

He Was More Than Just A Seafarer

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


This is no ordinary mariner. This statue in central Melbourne honours the late Captain Matthew Flinders of the Royal Navy, who died on English soil in 1814, at the age of only 40. He was not the first person to use the word "Australia" but is acknowledged as the first to use the word on a map.

At a time when this country-continent was generally referred to as "New Holland" or "Terra Australis" he wrote to his brother in 1804: "I call the whole island Australia, or Terra Australis". He died the day after his book, A Voyage To Terra Australis, was published.

This statue of him stands outside St Paul’s Cathedral, just off a prominent street that runs past a landmark railway station. The street is called Flinders Street. The station is (you guessed it) Flinders Street Station.


I was once told that there are more monuments in Australia to this redoubtable sea captain than there are to any other Englishman. Honouring his name are the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, and that state also has a prominent university named after him.

If you haven’t heard of Flinders bars, allow me to explain. They’re not pubs. If you remember your early geography lessons, you would recall that iron substances aboard wooden sailing vessels of that era caused magnetic deviations in nautical compasses. Only when I sat down to write this post did I realise that Captain Flinders was the man who suggested a way of overcoming this potentially fatal flaw.

We should all drink to his memory. I’ll just duck out and see if I can find a pub called the Flinders Bar.


Visit the creative team behind That's MyWorld Tuesday.

33 comments:

Celebration of Life said...

This is a very interesting post today, David. I like tidbits of history, it was a real treat!
Jo

I think you will enjoy my post today, I thought of you when I posted it. :o)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

What an interesting history lesson, David, and you really brought that statue to life for us. Sea captains have always fascinated me.

An in terms of Australia, I keep bumping into Australians in my travels on the internet, and I love seeing their photographs and hearing their tales, including yours. Thank you for sharing.

richies said...

A great bit of history. Most people barely know any history of their own country let alone know the history of a country half way around the world. Thanks again!

An Arkie's Musings

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

all very masterful and majestic looking nutil l say the digger/crane!!

Cheffie-Mom said...

Wow, very interesting. I always learn something new when I visit your blog. I hope to visit Australia one day! (:

Alyson (New England Living) said...

Great photos! Nice to have a little history lesson as I have family living in Australia.

Lavinia said...

What a noble character. This statue is very dignified.

Daryl said...

I guess he didnt go too far with those people holding on to the prow ...

And how interesting today's word verification is SHIPIN .. I'm just sayin'

:-Daryl

Maggie May said...

That was a very interesting history lesson and good photos too!
Can't say that I have ever heard of him till today that is.

Leslie: said...

Very interesting about the bars! Hope you found one...lol

ewok1993 said...

Very very interesting.

See you next week.

Hilary said...

Very cool. You always give me something to learn when I visit. Sometimes it's even about my own country. But very cool to learn about yours.

Leora said...

That's a grand statue. Must have been a long, tossing trip, going by boat from Australia to England.

imac said...

I'll drink to that David.

Sylvia K said...

What a fascinating bit of history! I love that! And your photos are terrific! Thank you for sharing a bit of your world today!

babooshka said...

is was genuinely very interesting. Living in a tiny island of past and present seaman this is something I can relate too.

fishing guy said...

David: A neat post of a neat man of the sea. It seems appropriate that with all the ocean you have near to honor him.

Wren said...

Interesting bit of history I hadn't heard before. And do let us know if you find a Flinder's Bar with good single malts.

Kat said...

How about I have some CAPTAIN Morgan tonight in how of this wise man.
Thanks for the history lesson. :)

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Very interesting David, plus I would have sworn blind it was in front of a building in England! Quite an eye-opener for this Brit'!

Well I finally got my camera off 'auto' and onto 'manual' totally and got it right this weekend after alot of study. You can see the results on my post, if you get a chance.

Indrani said...

That was interesting bit of history about Australia. You managed to get a crane in to the last shot or was it the other way round.:)

marcia@joyismygoal said...

Yes history is so needed for us to learn and the pict too

Baruch said...

Very interesting part of your history.

Guy D said...

Fantastic shots as always, very impressive.

Cheers!
Regina In Pictures

Mojo said...

You know what would make a great follow on to this would be a piece on John(?) Harrison who created a completely wooden clock as a navigational aid to counter the same force.

Great story!

Shellmo said...

Loved hearing your part of the world's history. Beautiful statue!

pcpach said...

Every statue/monument has a story. You told this ones story well.

Louise said...

Quite an interesting post.

Really, there MUST be a pub somewhere called "Flinder's Bar." You can't be the only person there who would think that an appropriate and witty name.

Shall I move to Melbourne so I can borrow a lens? Naaah. Actually, my closest neighbors have a lens that will fit my camera, but the fact that I have destroyed three in eight months would make me hesistant to borrow anything! My new one arrive yesterday. I haven't uploaded anything, but the actual shooting process seems lovely.

Ivar Ivrig said...

Excellent. I love history.

FickleMinded said...

nice photo and nice piece of history that comes with it.

The Good Life in Virginia said...

enjoyed your post...might we join you at flinders bar?
love the photos.

erin

A Blog In The Rough said...

wow great sculpture, he looks so serious

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

I love my world post since they can take me places I'd probably never visit. Thanks for sharing another part of your world.