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Australian Explorers

Tuesday, March 26, 1996. :   A bronze statue to Captain Matthew Flinders' cat is unveiled at the New South Wales State Library.

     Matthew Flinders was the sea explorer who, together with Bass, was the first to prove that Van Diemen's Land, or Tasmania, was an island and not connected to the mainland. Flinders was also the first to circumnavigate the continent, and between December 1801 and June 1803, he charted most of the coastline of Australia.

Accompanying Flinders on most of his journeys between 1799 and 1804 was his cat, Trim. Trim was born on His Majesty's ship 'The Rousabout' during a journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Botany Bay in 1799. Trim quickly endeared himself to whichever crew accompanied Flinders on his many journeys. Described as black with a bushy tail, a white star on his chest, white paws and a white chin, Trim showed himself to be a cat of superior intelligence and personality. After falling overboard numerous times, Trim became adept at swimming, catching a rope thrown to him and climbing back on board ship. Trim travelled with Flinders to Moreton Bay on the 'Norfolk', to England in 'The Reliance' and circumnavigated Australia in 'The Investigator'.

Flinders was returning to England on 'The Janty' when he was shipwrecked on a coral reef in what Flinders referred to as the Great Equinoxial ocean on the night of 17 August 1803. Trim accompanied Flinders through two months of sheltering in tents on islands. When ships arrived to assist Flinders and his crew, Trim elected to follow his master in the schooner 'Minikin' rather than join the crew who travelled to China on a larger, sturdier ship. When Flinders was forced to land at the Isle of France due to the Minikin's leaking, he was captured by the French and detained on the island of Mauritius on the grounds that he was a spy. For some time, Trim enjoyed the company of a French woman and her daughter on the island, until one night he sadly disappeared, never to be seen again. Flinders was distraught, and during his next few years' internment at the island, penned an historic and little-known essay, a tribute to his beloved cat Trim.

On 28 March 1996, a bronze statue was unveiled commemorating Trim. Sculpted by John Cornwell, it now stands on the windowsill of the Mitchell Library in Macquarie Street, Sydney, fittingly positioned just behind a statue of his master, Matthew Flinders. The unveiling was performed by Rear-Admiral David Campbell, in the presence of State Librarian Dagmar Schmidmaier and around four hundreds dignitaries and guests.

Today in History

Thought For Today
Whoever is faithful in small matters will be faithful in large ones; whoever is dishonest in small matters will be dishonest in large ones.
Luke 16:10 (c) GNB
Beware - your character will show through in every aspect of your life

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