Matthew Flinders: Adventures on Leaky Ships

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Carole Wilkinson (text) and Prue Pittock (illustrator), Matthew Flinders: Adventures on Leaky Ships, Wild Dog Books, July 2020, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781742034935

The maps of the coast of Australia which Flinders made from 1795 are so accurate that they are still used.  That is a significant tribute to a brilliant navigator. As is this book. 

His little cat, Trim, and his friendship with the ship’s surgeon, George Bass, has been recounted by others, and Wilkinson has brought Flinders alive for us again.  

He joined the navy when he was sixteen, travelled under Bligh, battled the French, suffered from scurvy, conquered a shipwreck, married, was imprisoned as a spy and named Australia. All this in forty years of life – 1774-1814. 

Pittock’s illustrations, which have a suggestion of cartoons, picture the people, scenes, and equipment with flair. The people are dignified and the scenes compelling. 

This is a generous and lively book suitable for all ages about the European beginnings of our country, told through the life of a remarkable man. 

Reviewed by Stella Lees 

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