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The Flinders papersletters and documents about the explorer Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)
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Background to the project

This project is the result of a short-term Caird Fellowship at the National Maritime Museum in 2000. The Caird Fellow, Lindsey Shaw (now Senior Curator at the Australian National Maritime Museum) transcribed the papers of Matthew and Ann Flinders from the collection held by the Museum (see about the original papers). During this process she wrote explanatory notes about the various people, places and vessels referred to in the papers, and compiled a glossary of unusual terms and phrases. She also made rough translations of the documents written in French.

This website reflects the Museum’s aim to make its collections available to the widest possible audience. These transcripts will be valuable to researchers and lifelong learners interested in 19th-century social and naval history, the history of chartmaking and navigation or in Matthew Flinders himself.

Flinders's letters reveal a man of great intelligence, resourcefulness and humanity, often in the midst of the most trying circumstances. They offer an insight into his relationships, both professional and private, and into the lives of well-known contemporaries such as Joseph Banks, John Franklin, William Bligh and William Wilberforce.