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This Day in History

Australian Explorers

Tuesday, December 8, 1801. :   Flinders explores and charts King George's Sound (later Albany) in Western Australia.

     Matthew Flinders was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1774. Flinders and George Bass did much sea exploration around Australia, adding to the knowledge of the coastline, and producing accurate maps. As well as being the first to circumnavigate Australia, Flinders, together with Bass, was the first to prove that Van Diemen's Land, or Tasmania, was an island and not connected to the mainland. Australia was previously known as New Holland, and after Captain Cook claimed the continent for England in 1770, the entire eastern half became known as New South Wales. Flinders was the one who first proposed the name "Terra Australis", which became "Australia", the name adopted in 1824.

Flinders charted the entire coastline of Australia between December 1801 and June 1803 in the ship 'Investigator'. On the evening of 8 December 1801, Flinders entered King George's Sound (later Albany) in Western Australia, to explore. He spent three weeks in the waterways, charting the coastline and determining what natural resources there could be used to facilitate settlement.

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