Iconic map of Australia with the first use of the name "Australia", showing the first circumnavigation of the landmass and the basis on which Flinders formulated the theory that it was a new continent. Flinders worked on his charts and papers while a prisoner on Mauritius and when he finally returned to England, suggested the name Australia to the Admiralty. It was rejected but Governor Macquarie had been informed of this nomenclature and began using it regularly in his correspondence. Reluctantly the Admiralty changed their minds and accepted the name but not until ten years after the death of Flinders, in 1824.
The map, published in 1814, is a truly remarkable geographical achievement and integrates all of the surveys in which Flinders participated, with the greatest prominence given to the work of H. M. S. Investigator. Other routes are also shown, including the two ill-fated attempts by Flinders to reach England, on H.M.S. Porpoise and H.M.S. Cumberland.
Finally, as noted above, this is the first use of the name “Australia” on a map. It was a name chosen quite carefully by Flinders and avoided any political implications for the two European powers claiming the landmass at the time, Great Britain and Holland, Flinders was also determined to promote his theory that Australia was a new continent and he aligned the name to match the existing continental names, Europa, Africa, Asia and America. Despite initial reluctance on the part of the Admiralty, the name was widely adopted and is still in use today. It would not be an exaggeration to say that this map is Australia’s birth certificate.
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