The Life of Captain Matthew

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Matthew Flinders was the third of the triad of great English sailors by whomthe principal part of Australia was revealed. A poet of our own time, in aline of singular felicity, has described it as the "last sea-thingdredged by sailor Time from Space; "* (* Bernard O'Dowd, Dawnward,1903.) and the piecemeal, partly mysterious, largely accidental dragging fromthe depths of the unknown of a land so immense and bountiful makes a romanticchapter in geographical history. All the great seafaring peoples contributedsomething towards the result. The Dutch especially evinced their enterprisein the pursuit of precise information about the southern Terra Incognita, andthe nineteenth century was well within its second quarter before the name NewHolland, which for over a hundred years had borne testimony to theiradventurous pioneering, gave place in general and geographical literature tothe more convenient and euphonious designation suggested by Flinders himself,Australia.* (* Not universally, however, even in official documents. In theReport of the Committee of the Privy Council, dated May 1, 1849, "NewHolland" is used to designate the continent, but "Australia"is employed as including both the continent and Tasmania. See Grey's ColonialPolicy 1 424 and 439.)

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