You know Flinders right? Famous for the quote ‘Hey diddly ho neighbourino!’
Oh wait, that’s Ned Flanders. Hang on, Flinders, Flinders, ok here we go…
Born in 1774, he is the man who gave Australia her name. Matthew Flinders was an English naval captain and hydrographer who detailed charts of much of the Australian coastline. Entering the navy partly after developing a longing to go to sea inspired by Robinson Crusoe, Flinders undertook many journeys to the shores of the land he would eventually name Terra Australis and was the first to circumnavigate it. After spending many years charting the coastline, he endeavoured to return to England, but was shipwrecked off the Great Barrier Reef and then later taken prisoner off Mauritius by the French, who confiscated (and copied) many of his maps and drawings, branding him a spy.
‘Had I permitted myself any innovation of the original term, it would have been to convert it into Australia; as being more agreeable on the ear.’ Matthew Flinders
He eventually arrived in London in 1810 and was greatly celebrated. He was encouraged to detail his journeys, which he did in a volume very originally named “A Voyage to Terra Australis’.
He is remembered in the naming of many places here in Melbourne including Flinders Street – the exactly one mile long street in which I am now living, and Flinders Station.
Earlier this year, it was discovered that his skeleton was potentially lying in the path of the new high speed rail link from London to the Midlands. I’m not sure how it appears that no-one can be exactly sure where he is buried, but it is assumed that it was somewhere underneath Platform 15 at Euston Station. Whilst a life-size bronze station has been erected on the new concourse at Euston, no one is sure what happened to Flinders remains, if they were indeed discovered during the excavations.