Author(s): Miriam Estensen
Matthew Flinders was just 17 when he first saw Terra Australis, and unlocking its mysteries would become the burning motivation for the rest of his short life - at times at terrible cost to himself and others. Flinders joined the Royal Navy as a teenager, journeyed to Tahiti with Bligh's second - and successful - breadfruit voyage, fought the French in the Caribbean and the Atlantic and sailed with Australia's second governor, John Hunter, to the distant colony of New South Wales. The strange, unmapped continent captured his imagination and exploring its uncharted shores became the central goal of his life. Winning the support of the influential Joseph Banks, he received command of the HMS Investigator on an epic voyage to explore and chart the entire Australian coast.