Captain Matthew Flinders
Matthew Flinders helped shape what was to become the city of Melbourne is many, unusual ways. Although he never once used his own name for any feature in all his discoveries, Flinders' name is now associated with over 100 geographical features and places in Australia in addition to Flinders Island, in Bass Strait including Flinders Street in Melbourne, Flinders Street Railway Station, a school (Matthew Flinders Girls Secondary College in Geelong), a shire (Shire of Flinders), and even a hotel.
Captain Matthew Flinders RN (16 March 1774 - 19 July 1814) was a distinguished navigator and cartographer, who was the first to circumnavigate Australia and identify it as a continent.
On his first voyage to New South Wales, he made friends with the ship's surgeon George Bass, and the two of them sailed through what became the Bass Strait, confirming that Tasmania was an island. In 1801 he was commissioned to chart the whole coastline of New Holland, and he specially noted the fertile land around Port Phillip, today's Melbourne.
In 1802 Flinders explored Port Phillip, which unbeknownst to him had been discovered only 10 weeks earlier by John Murray aboard the Lady Nelson. Flinders scaled Arthur's Seat, the highest point near the shores of the southernmost parts of the bay, where the ship had entered through The Heads. From there he saw a vast view of the surrounding land and bays.
Flinders reported back to Governor King that the land had 'a pleasing and, in many parts, a fertile appearance'. He stated on 1 May 1802, "I left the ship's name on a scroll of paper, deposited in a small pile of stones upon the top of the peak". Here, Flinders was drawing upon a British tradition of constructing a stone cairn to mark a historical location. The Matthew Flinders Cairn, which was later enlarged, is located on the upper slopes of Arthurs Seat a short distance below Chapman's Point.
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