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Matthew Flinders Statue

Mr TRELOAR ( Flinders ) ( 15:24 ): I rise today to speak about an event that occurred in Port Lincoln last weekend, on Saturday 25 February, exactly, precisely 215 years to the day since Captain Matthew Flinders of the Royal Navy was in what became known as Proper Bay or Boston Harbour. On Tasman Terrace underneath the Flinders Arch, we unveiled a statue of Captain Matthew Flinders complete with his cat, Trim. Poised there on the footpath, it is a wonderful statue.

Gathered there were identities from all over the world. Media personality Jane Doyle emcee’d the morning. Governor Hieu Van Le was invited and unveiled the statue, ably assisted by our own mayor, Bruce Green. The city of Port Lincoln has had for some time a twin city relationship with the city of Lincoln in Lincolnshire where, of course, Matthew Flinders hailed from, along with great supporters of his, Joseph Banks and Capt William Bligh. It is a fascinating story.

From Lincoln in Lincolnshire, Mayor Yvonne Bodger was present as was her assistant, Ms Kate Finn who, only a few years ago, organised for me to visit the Guildhall in the city of Lincoln. It was nice to finally meet her. Also present was the commissioned sculptor, Mr Mark Richards, who came from the Welsh borders. I think he is based in a town called Ludlow in Shropshire. He was present at the unveiling, and it was a very proud moment for him.

The Royal Australian Navy Hydrographer was present. Of course, he is the equivalent of Matthew Flinders in this day and age. In his speech, he highlighted the changes in technology that have ensued in the last 215 years. Flinders’ charts remain an extraordinary feat, in that their accuracy was unsurpassed. In fact, his charts were so good that they were used right up until World War II. There was some difficulty even in those days establishing longitude. The newly invented chronometer was in use, but there were still many calculations in relation to time to be made to establish longitude.

I must make special mention of Mr Roger Lang of the Lang Foundation, who is a great supporter of many things in Port Lincoln and in fact put up the money for the statue. We are forever grateful to him. In fact, on the Friday night before the unveiling, in the city council chambers, Roger had given a presentation on the life of Matthew Flinders. For Roger, Flinders has become a passion.

If there is anything we did not know about Matthew Flinders before that evening, we certainly know it now. It was a wonderful presentation attended by 100 or more people. I was pleased to be a part of that as well. Of course, I represent the electorate of Flinders and I am proud to say that of all the 47 electorates in South Australia, Flinders is the only one to retain its original name, which it has had since the 1850s.

Many of the place names around Port Lincoln and Lower Eyre Peninsula have been lifted straight from the map of Lincolnshire, and Flinders did that quite deliberately. For Mayor Yvonne Bodger and Kate Finn, names like Donnington, Stanford, Louth, Rigby and others are only too familiar. After the unveiling of the statue, we moved north along the foreshore to the Axel Stenross museum where the members have been hard at work for some time refurbishing and reconditioning the ketch Hecla.

The Hecla was built in 1905. I understand it is the English version of a volcano in Iceland. The Hecla is the last ketch that was in service plying the coastal trade in South Australia. Some 2,500 hours of volunteer labour have gone into refurbishing the Hecla and about $54,000 of museum money, which is a huge outlay for a small museum, but they are an enthusiastic bunch.

I congratulate them on their work. Governor Hieu Van Le, once again, was present for the unveiling. He unveiled the ketch along with members of the museum committee and the workforce, and it was a sight to behold. I would urge anyone visiting Port Lincoln to drop into Axel Stenross and have a look at the Hecla which is now fully refurbished, complete with decking, sails and rigging.

 

 

 

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