Bicentenary of Matthew Flinders LandingPrint Page Print this page

The monument commemorates the Bicentenary of the landing of Matthew Flinders at Sea Hill on Curtis Island in 1802.

Captain Matthew Flinders RN(1774 – 1814) was a distinguished English navigator and cartographer, who was the first to circumnavigate Australia and identify it as a continent. Flinders made three voyages to the southern ocean (August 1791 – August 1793, February 1795 – August 1800 and July 1801 – October 1810).

On 22nd July 1802 he sailed north along the eastern coast of New South Wales and Queensland. He made a detailed survey of the Queensland coast up to the Gulf of Carpentaria. He explored Keppel Bay and Capricorn Coast between 9th August and 20th October 1802, landing at Curtis Island, Port Clinton, Shoalwater Bay and Percy Islands. Soon after passing through Torres Strait, the Investigator was found to be not only leaking badly but also the timbers were rotten. He eventually circumnavigated Australia arriving at Port Jackson on 9th June 1803.

On Saturday 17 August, the Capricorn Coast Historical Society enjoyed the company of at least 100 people who came along to celebrate the bicentenary of Flinders' landing at Sea Hill on Curtis Island. The original trip planned for 10 August had to be postponed because of poor weather conditions. While the morning started ominously with some rain, the prayers offered by the Reverend Kaye Ronalds as we left the shore seemed to have been answered before the boat reached the island.

On the trip over trip over, costumed actors Greg Thomas and Paul Gee, read from the logs and diaries of Matthew Flinders, Peter Good, the very down to earth gardener on board Flinders' ship, and Lieutenant Murray who captained the Lady Nelson. Upon landing, several porpoises joined the celebrations by delightfully frolicking in the waters beside our boat, the Reef Cat.

In the shade of some trees, maritime historian, Craig Gordon talked about Flinders and his exploration. He was joined by Landcare Educator and historian John Fletcher who spoke about the ‘scientific gentlemen' on board the Investigator, especially the renowned botanist Robert Brown and the enormous number of previously unknown plants he and his team had uncovered. Mr Fletcher also called attention to the meticulous drawings of artists Ferdinand Bauer and William Westall.

After a short walk to the cemetery, the Hon Vince Lester, Member for Keppel, read a very moving dedication prepared by the Reverend Kaye Ronalds. Craig Gordon followed with a detailed history of the cemetery and those buried there. Listening intently to Mr Gordon¹s talk was the great-grandson of one of the men buried there who had came from Cornwall aboard the ill-fated Countess Russell in 1873.

Members of Landcare – Alby Wooler, Chantelle James and John Fletcher – officiated at the tree-planting ceremony. Trees planted included Flindersia australis as well as several named after Sir Joseph Banks, the keen supporter of the scientific investigation who was responsible for having Flinders appointed to undertake the exploration.

After a magnificent lunch on the beach, passengers boarded the Reef Cat for a short trip around to Pacific Creek. Here approximately 50 disembarked for a 1km walk to the lighthouse where the Capricorn Coast Historical Society had erected a monument commemorating Flinders' landing. Before unveiling the plaque, the Hon Vince Lester spoke at length about Flinders, his hardships, determination, his marriage and his personal attributes, including his affection for his beloved cat named Trim who sailed with him for many years.
The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland, 2002. 


Address:Sea Hill Lighthouse, Curtis Island
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -23.491078
Long: 150.980147
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Landscape


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 17th August, 2002
Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au