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Matthew Flinders
Matthew Flinders

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson / Graeme Saunders

The statue commemorates navigator and cartographer, Matthew Flinders (1774 - 1814). 

In 1900, George McCrae suggested the erection of a monument to the explorer Matthew Flinders, and a large sum of money was raised, but deaths in the committee and World War One followed. The committee was re-constituted in 1919 and the design costing 1500 pounds was approved, and the site selected.

Matthew Flinders RN was an English navigator and cartographer, who was the leader of the first circumnavigation of Australia and identified it as a continent.

Flinders made three voyages to the southern ocean between 1791 and 1810. In the second voyage, George Bass and Flinders confirmed that Van Dieman's Land (now Tasmania) was an island. In the third voyage, Flinders circumnavigated the mainland of what was to be called Australia, accompanied by Aboriginal man Bungaree.

Our Melbourne correspondent telegraphed yesterday:— The new bronze statue of Matthew Flinders, the early Australian navigator, recently erected on the west side of St. Paul's Cathedral, facing Swanston street, was unveiled today by the Governor of Victoria, Lord Stradbroke, in the presence of a large gathering of citizens. The Flinders memorial movement dates back to 1911, when the first efforts were made to obtain the sum required. The cost of the memorial was £2,100, which has been publicly subscribed. The sculpture was carried out by the late Mr. C. Web Gilbert, and the statue was cast in Paris. Among the gathering today was the sculptor's widow.
Register (Adelaide), 9 November 1925.



Address:Flinders & Swanston Streets, St Paul`s Anglican Cathedral, Melbourne, 3000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.816962
Long: 144.967495
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Artist:Charles Web Gilbert


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 8th November, 1925
Front Inscription

Captain Matthew Flinders R.N.


Erected by public subscription 1925

Captain Matthew Flinders 1923 - 1925
Charles Web Gilbert (1887 - 1925)

At twenty-one Matthew Flinders was both an outstanding navigator and an experienced seaman, having been apprenticed to the notorious Captain William Bligh. Together with George Bass, Flinders circumnavigated Tasmania, then thought to be part of the mainland, in the ship Norfolk.  He explored much of the eastern coastline often by open boat, but is best remembered for having successfully circumnavigated and mapped Australia for the first time in 1803, a voyage he began in 1801.  

The colonial imperative for this task was a fear that the French would claim part or all of the continent.  The artist Charles Web Gilbert was responsible for a number of important commissions within Australia and overseas.  He has been describes as a "natural carver and modeller," and this piece is probably his most imaginative, using the prow and two sailors as the base for an heroic Flinders. He died suddenly one month before the sculpture's unveiling. 

Source: MA,MED,VMR
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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