Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/339

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

Governor at his levée, to pay our compliments to him as the representative of majesty; after which, a dinner and ball are given to the colony, at which not less than 52 gentlemen and ladies will be present. Amidst all this, how much preferable is such a 'right hand and left' as that we have had at Spilsby with those we love, to that which we shall go through this evening."

A few alterations were made in the ship, which was re-rigged and overhauled; and a new eight-oar boat was built to replace the one lost in Spencer's Gulf. She cost £30, and was constructed after the model of the boat in which Bass had made his famous expedition to Westernport. She proved, "like her prototype, to be excellent in a sea, as well as for rowing and sailing in smooth water."

Fourteen men were required to make up the ship's complement. A new master was found in John Aken of the Hercules, a convict transport, and five seamen were engaged; but it was impossible to secure the services of nine others from amongst the free people. Flinders thereupon proposed to the Governor that he should ship nine convicts who could bring "respectable recommendations." King concurred, and the number required were permitted to join the Investigator, with the promise that they should receive conditional or absolute pardons on their return, "according to Captain Flinders' recommendation of them." Several of them were experienced seamen, and proved a great acquisition to the strength of the ship. Flinders also took with him his old friend Bongaree, "the worthy and brave fellow" who had accompanied him on the Norfolk voyage in 1799, and a native lad named Nambaree.

It was determined, after consultation with King, to sail to the north of Australia and explore Torres Strait and the east side of the Gulf of Carpentaria, as well as to examine the north-east coast with more care than