Matthew Flinders - The Ultimate Voyage

The world's first national touring exhibition on the intrepid British explorer, Matthew Flinders, to mark the bicentenary of his epic circumnavigation of Australia (1801 - 1803), will open at Launceston's Queen Victoria Museum on Monday, 28 October.

Matthew Flinders: The Ultimate Voyage presents over fifty rare 18th century treasures, many never previously seen by the Australian public. The exhibition explores the drama, tragedy, romance and achievements of this historical hero.

In just 23 years, from 1791 to 1814, Flinders transported breadfruit with Bligh, explored coastal New South Wales, charted Bass Strait and Tasmania, circumnavigated and named Australia, was shipwrecked, imprisoned in Mauritius, experimented on the effect of magnetism in ships and wrote a legendary book on Australian exploration. What makes this even more extraordinary is that he did all of this before his early death at age 40.

Matthew Flinders: The Ultimate Voyage is at the Queen Victoria Museum from October 28 to February 9, 2003 and then will continue to tour Australia until late 2003. To assist teachers in planning units of work around the exhibition, the State Library of New South Wales has produced education kits, which cover a range of learning levels and give useful background information for students researching the life and times of Flinders. These kits are available from the library's website:

Students and teachers can also visit the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery website ( for further information on the week of learning programs, costs and other booking information.

Paul Brunton - curator of the Flinders exhibition at the Queen Victoria Museum.


Matthew Flinders' chess set, ink stand, shaving brush and writing box.


The life of Matthew Flinders

By Ernest Scott.

Written in 1914 this is still a great piece of historical writing. There are some minor inaccuracies and it is slightly unfashionable, or politically incorrect in its attitudes, but it is still solid historically, because of Scott's insistence on going back to primary sources.

Bass and Flinders

By Cathy Dodson, illustrated by Roland Harvey

A wonderful picturebook introduction to the history of early Australian exploration. This book brings the voyages of Bass and Flinders vividly to life.

Terra Australis

By Matthew Flinders, foreword by Tim Flannery.

Matthew Flinders' own account of his voyages of exploration around Australia, and his attempts to return to England after the termination of the voyage of the Investigator. Tim Flannery's introduction provides a good brief biography of Flinders and puts his work in its context.

Explorer: DK Eyewitness Guides

By Rupert Matthews

Flinders is one of the many explorers mentioned in this survey of humanity's quest to explore further and further from home. Going back to ancient times, through the age of sail, to the stars. Generously illustrated.