The Life of Matthew Flinders by Miriam Estensen

By Miriam Estensen

The compelling tale of the existence and instances of Matthew Flinders, one in all Australia's – and history’s - maximum explorers. From the writer of 'Discovery'.

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All on board are well—present my kind remembrances to Captain and Mrs. Bligh, and believe me Yours very sincerely Thos. Pasley P. S. 2 Preparations for the voyage took several months, mainly at the Deptford shipyard on the Thames, with its docks and slipways, its huge storehouse and long rows of workshops. Bligh received two ships. One was the 28-gun, three-decked Providence, a new West Indiaman, designed to carry large cargoes. QXD 3/6/02 12:56 PM Page 12 Th e L i f e o f M a t t h e w F l i n d e r s complement of 200 that included twenty marines, a security Bligh did not have on the Bounty.

2 Preparations for the voyage took several months, mainly at the Deptford shipyard on the Thames, with its docks and slipways, its huge storehouse and long rows of workshops. Bligh received two ships. One was the 28-gun, three-decked Providence, a new West Indiaman, designed to carry large cargoes. QXD 3/6/02 12:56 PM Page 12 Th e L i f e o f M a t t h e w F l i n d e r s complement of 200 that included twenty marines, a security Bligh did not have on the Bounty. The second was the small, two-masted brig Assistant to serve as tender, with 27 men, among them four marines, all commanded by Lieutenant Nathaniel Portlock, an experienced and science-minded sailor.

At 10 the signal to engage . . 5 A few shots were exchanged, but darkness came on with heavy rain and thick haze, and the French ships vanished into the gloom. In December 1793 the Bellerophon returned for the winter to the naval anchorage at Spithead, in the strait between the Isle of Wight and the English mainland. The ship’s refit began: repairs, replacements, sides and stern repainted. Flinders recorded a cold winter, squally, with sleet and snow in January. In April 1794 Captain William Pasley was promoted to rearadmiral, and Flinders, still with him on the Bellerophon, became an aide-de-camp.

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