Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/104

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

The second period belongs to the eighteenth century, and its hero was James Cook. He sailed up the whole of the east coast in 1770, from Point Hicks, near the Victorian border, to Cape York at the northern tip of the continent, and accomplished a larger harvest of discovery than has ever fallen to the fortune of any other navigator in a single voyage. To this period also belongs Captain George Vancouver, who in 1791, on his way to north-western America from the Cape of Good Hope, came upon the south-western corner of Australia and discovered King George's Sound. In the following year the French Admiral, Dentrecasteaux, despatched in search of the missing expedition of Laperouse, also made the south-west corner of the continent, and followed the coast of the Great Australian Bight for some hundreds of miles. His researches in southern Tasmania were likewise of much importance.

The third period is principally that of Flinders, commencing shortly before the dawn of the nineteenth century, and practically completing the maritime exploration of the continent.

A map contained in John Pinkerton's Modern Geography shows at a glance the state of knowledge about Australia at the date of publication, 1802. Flinders had by that time completed his explorations, but his work was not yet published. The map delineates the contour of the continent on the east, west, and north sides, with as much accuracy as was possible, and, though it is defective in details, presents generally a fair idea of the country's shape. But the line along the south coast represents a total lack of information as to the outline of the land. Pinkerton, indeed, though he was a leading English authority on geography when his book was published, had not embodied in his map some results that were then available.