Another ‘homecoming’ for Flinders

Flinders Uni’s namesake Matthew Flinders has had another homecoming of sorts with the unveiling of a third life-size statue of the explorer in Port Lincoln.

The explorer, who first visited the area that was to become Port Lincoln in February 1802 (and which he named in honour of his home region Lincoln, UK), has now been immortalised in a bronze statue.

It’s an exact replica of an original statue at London’s Euston station, and a second statue unveiled at the Tonsley Innovation Precinct last year by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The 2m-high work was unveiled by South Australian Governor Hieu van Le  at Port Lincoln’s Flinders Precinct almost 215 years to the day after Flinders landed in the West Coast region during his antipodean voyage on HMS Investigator.

The three castings so far unveiled are of a design by British sculptor Mark Richards, who also attended the Port Lincoln ceremony.

Mr Richards said it depicts Flinders kneeling and using his compass to chart his voyage along the South Australian coast.

Businessman Roger Lang donated the statue to Port Lincoln’s Axel Stenross Maritime Museum, which has loaned it to the local council. Mr Lang said the idea to make the statue was first put forward by the State Government in 2014 — the bicentenary of the explorer’s death.

The statues cement the major contribution of Matthew Flinders to British Naval and Australian history – and of a four-year project for Mr Richards who was commissioned by the State Government of South Australia in 2013.

“I see this sculpture to be as much an introduction, as it is a commemoration to his legacy and I feel honoured to have been asked to undertake such a landmark commission,” Mr Richards told the BBC at the unveiling of the original Matthew Flinders memorial statue at Australia House in London in 2014. This statue is now located at Euston train station in London where Flinders is thought to be buried.

As well a series of limited-edition bronze maquettes have helped support the new Matthew Flinders Memorial Statue Scholarship established to further develop educational links between South Australia and the UK.

The inaugural recipient of a memorial scholarship was Lauren Bryant, a Flinders archaeology student who is back at Flinders this year doing postgraduate studies.

“The scholarship money was very valuable in helping to pay for my trip and study time in England last year,” Lauren says.

“I was able to study at the University of Leicester for a semester as part of my undergraduate degree, which really enhanced my archaeology studies and gave me ideas for a future research focus.”

 

 

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