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Memento : Issue 23
May 2003 Number 23 continued on p. 2 he Minister for the Arts and Sport, the Hon. Rod Kemp, MP, opened Matthew Flinders: The Ultimate Voyage, in our Canberra gallery on 20 March. The exhibition from the State Library of NSW marks the bicentenary of Flinders' epic circum- navigation of Australia. In introducing the exhibition, Minister Kemp highlighted some of Flinders' major achievements. Flinders compiled the first complete chart of the continent, discovered that Australia's east (New South Wales) and its west (New Holland) were the same land- mass and, with George Bass, proved Tasmania was an island. Minister Kemp enthusiastically recommended the exhibition, which presents more than 50 eighteenth and nineteenth century treasures, many never before seen by the Australian public. Exhibition curator Paul Brunton also spoke at the opening. With customary wit, Paul told visitors that 'Flinders was delighted to be in Canberra, the national capital of the country that he named ... and delighted to be at the National Archives, being something of an archivist himself in his concern for the documentary record'. On a serious note, Paul explained that the subtitle of the travelling exhibition, 'The Ultimate Voyage', was chosen to give Flinders 'his lap of honour ... the honour of which he was robbed during his lifetime'. Matthew Flinders spent from 1801 to 1803 tracing the coast of the Australian continent aboard the Investigator. But his charts were not published until 1814. On his way home to England, Flinders was detained by the French authorities on the island of Mauritius. Accused of being a spy, he remained there for six and a half years. During this time he drew his great map of Australia, but the prolonged stay kept him separated from his wife, Ann, and delayed the publication of his charts, effectively ending his career at the age of 29. The exhibition brings together precious items from the collections of the State Library and other institutions and individuals, including Flinders' great- great grand-daughter. They include Flinders' handwritten log books and journal from the HMS Investigator, his charts of Australia, private letters including love letters to his wife, and personal items such as his sword, chess set, flute and shaving kit. Flinders sails into the Archives Portrait of Matthew Flinders. Unknown artist,1801. Watercolour on ivory. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales (ZML MIN 52)