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The extraordinary life, loves and voyages of the man who put Australia on the map

Fearless, sharp-eyed and handsome, Matthew Flinders was one of the greatest of all maritime adventurers and undertook one of the most important voyages of discovery - to circumnavigate and map the famed Great Southern Land.

Together with his Aboriginal interpreter and guide, Kuringgai man Bungaree, and his beloved rescue cat Trim, Flinders explored the furthest reaches of Australia and meticulously recorded its rugged coastlines on maps so accurate they are still used today.

He also gave our vast island continent its name, turning the centuries-old title 'Terra Australis' into 'Australia' and making the name widely popular through his writing.

Growing up in rural England, Flinders became fascinated with the sea, inspired by the adventure story of Robinson Crusoe and the history-making explorations of Captain James Cook. While not much more than a boy, Flinders fought in great naval battles against the French, and from a young age was at the forefront of major maritime voyages that took him right around the globe. With Sir Joseph Banks, England's foremost scientist as his mentor, Flinders set off in 1801 to discover and map the vast reaches of the great continent of the southern ocean.

Flinders recorded his work, voyages and adventures in what would become his famous book and atlas, which announced to the world the true nature of the Australian continent's treasures - and its Indigenous people.

But rather than bask in the accolades of his extraordinary feat, Flinders then spent years as a virtual political prisoner trapped off the coast of Africa when rushing home to his beloved wife, Ann, in England. His love for her, and his heart-breaking fight to escape his prison bonds to be with her again, was the last great adventure of a fascinating life.

From the bestselling, critically acclaimed author of Banks, Banjo, Hudson Fysh and Monash, Flinders is a rollicking adventure tale of a man who loved the sea, and adored his family - and pushed himself to the limits of human endeavour to show it.