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* Matthew Flinders and the Investigators
* The Investigators sample chapter: Prologue
* Chapter Notes
* References and Further Reading
* The Investigators: Radio Interviews
Triumph and tragedy in the voyage by Matthew Flinders that put Australia fully on the map.
The Investigators is an historical novel, retelling for today’s readers the magnificent story of the first modern circumnavigation of Australia by Captain Matthew Flinders and his crew on HMS Investigator 1801-03.
* The tale has times of high adventure on the unknown coast of southern Australia.
* Triumph when for the first time the full outline of the continent is shown on a chart.
* Disaster when the crew are shipwrecked off the Barrier Reef (so named by Flinders) and spend nearly two months castaway literally on a desert island.
* Tragedy when Flinders is arrested as a spy by the French at Mauritius, and held prisoner-of-war for six-and-a-half years allowing his rivals to publish their charts first.
* Throughout, the book is suffused with the sad love story of Matthew and his wife, Ann.
They married soon after Flinders was appointed to command Investigator, and he hoped to bring her on the ship to Sydney while he completed the circumnavigation. This was denied by the Admiralty, and after only a few weeks of married life Ann was forced to stay at home for nine long years before Matthew returned to England. His letters of love and longing, separation and desire still read with the utmost poignancy.
* The story is told largely from the point of view of Flinders’ young cousin, John Franklin, a young midshipman on board aged only 15 when the voyage began – but who in later life rose to become an Admiral, lieutenant-governor of Tasmania (Van Diemen’s Land), and a famous Arctic explorer in his own right.
Flinders taught him his navigation doing the Investigator voyage. Sir John Franklin always said it was this experience that determined him to become an explorer himself. The loss of Franklin’s entire expedition while trying to find the Northwest passage around the top of Canada in 1847, still intrigues historians, and even today new facts continue to emerge.
Flinders' map of Australia (Wikipedia Commons)
[The Investigators by Anthony Hill, published by Michael Joseph, a imprint of PENGUIN BOOKS Melbourne, Australia, 7 March 2023, 349 pages, rrp $32.99.]