In 1858, Melbourne was just 23 years after being established and Victoria, 7 years. Citizens of the colony knew only about the coastal fringes of NSW and Victoria and the ‘ghastly bank’ (the area inside the coast, a vast desert). Today, we know more about outer space then they did about going north of the Great Darling River.
Victoria became one of the richest places in the British Empire. They made a proposal for and exploration party to unlock the great mystery of the Arid Interior (a dried area in the central of Australia). It was also a scientific exploration to find out about new species, gold and minerals of the mysterious country. It was as important as the telegraph line discovered in London by the same colony of people.
On the 20th of August 1860, the expedition left Melbourne for the great Gulf of Carpentaria. Seven men died attempting to cross the enormous mainland. The expedition was so called “ill-fated” but everyone had forgotten about the incredible achievements and determination for the first men to cross the continent, Burkes and Wills!
George Bass was born in England (1771-1803). His friend to be Matthew Flinders was also born in England (1774-1814). Together in 1795, they joined to battle the journey to New South Wales. Bass, the doctor of the HMS Reliance and Flinders, the all-important Midshipman.
Bass and Flinders shared the same interest, to explore. They explored Botany Bay and Georges Lake together. They became best friends. On their second voyage, they discovered Port Hacking and Lake Illawarra. They had also proved to Governor Hunter that Australia and Van Dieman’s Land (now Tasmania) are separated by sea.
In 1799, Bass resigned and in 1803, he sailed for Chile, South America. Unfortunately, the ship had disappeared and Bass was never seen again. Thsi was a very tragic moment for Flinders.
In1801, Flinders sailed back to England. As soon as he arrived, he was sent back to Australia and was put in charge of an expedition around the country, taking him three years to complete it.
After the expedition, he sailed in the Cumberland back to England. On the way, the Cumberland started leaking. He stop on Mauritius that was ruled by the French colony. At that time, the French were in a war with England and so the French thought he was a spy. They arrested him for six years.
In 1810, he returned and arrived in very poor health. Four years passed and Flinders died of bad health in 1814, aged 40.