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In the early nineteenth century, Australia remained largely uncharted, and doubt prevailed as to its unity as a continent. The 1801 expedition led by English mariner and cartographer Matthew Flinders (1774-1814), was groundbreaking in this respect. Flinders' charting of the Australian coastline provided the first complete map outlining the continent, and his influence was decisive in changing its name from Terra Australis to Australia - a term 'more agreeable to the ear'. Structured around daily geographical and astronomical observations, Flinders' journals - published in 1814, the day before his death - are remarkable for their humanity and sense of humour. Started in 1801, they continue to include Flinders' imprisonment by the French in the island of Mauritius between 1803 and 1810.
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Volume 1: Preface; Introduction: Prior discoveries in Terra Australis; Book I. Transactions from the Beginning of the Voyage to the Departure from Port Jackson: 1. Appointment to the Investigator; 2. Departure from Spithead; 3. Departure from False Bay; 4. Departure from King George's Sound; 5. Fowler's Bay; 6. Prosecution of the discovery of the unknown coast; 7. Departure from Port Lincoln; 8. Departure from Kangaroo Island; 9. Examination of the coast resumed; 10. Departure from Port Phillip; 11. Of the winds and currents on the south coast of Terra Australis, and in Bass' Strait; Appendix. Volume 2: Book II. Transactions during the Circumnavigation of Terra Australis, from the Time of Leaving Port Jackson to the Return to That Port: 1. Departure from Port Jackson, with the Lady Nelson; 2. The Keppel Isles, and coast to Cape Manifold; 3. Departure from Shoal-water Bay, and anchorage in Thirsty Sound; 4. The Percy Isles; 5. Passage from the Barrier Reefs to Torres' Strait; 6. Examination of the coast on the east side of the Gulph of Carpentaria; 7. Departure from Sweers' Island; 8. Departure from Sir Edward Pellew's Group; 9. Departure from Caledon Bay; 10. Departure from Timor; 11. Of the winds, currents, and navigation along the east coast of Terra Australis, both within and without the tropic; Book III. Occurrences from the Time of Quitting Port Jackson in 1803, to Arriving in England in 1810: 1. Departure from Port Jackson in the Porpoise, accompanied by the Bridgewater and Cato; 2. Departure from Wreck-Reef Bank in a boat; 3. Passage in the Cumberland in Torres' Strait; 4. Arrival at Port Louis (or North-West) in Mauritius; 5. Prisoners in the Maison Despeaux or Garden Prison; 6. Parole given; 7. Occupations at Vacouas; 8. Effects of repeated disappointment on the mind; 9. A prospect of liberty, which is officially confirmed; Appendix.

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