A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
Re: Flinders' Survey of Australia.
From: Lee Martin
Date: 2008 Mar 4, 12:42 +1000
From: Lee Martin
Date: 2008 Mar 4, 12:42 +1000
George, Flinders' two volumes are available at the Gutengerg Project, www.gutenberg.net .Use the search engine on "flinders" , or the reference file names for the two volumes are 12929-h and 13121-h. The volumes are available as .txt or html files, the .txt file has no navigational facility, and the html file is much easier to use.Also at the Gutenberg Project is a very good biography of Flinders, written by Earnest Scott, a professor of history at Melbourne University a bit over a 100 years ago.....file reference for that is 7304-h. If you cant find any of these, I am happy to email a copy, they are about 2meg each. However, the Gutenberg Project is a resource worth getting to know. Copies of Flinders' Journal and his ship's log are at the State Library of NSW.....a starting page for that is http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/discover_collections/history_nation/terra/flinders.html , at the bottom of that page is a link to the Flinders' archive. Included in the archive is a typed transcript of Flinders' journal, and a facsimile copy of the actual handwritten journal. The facsimile copy is difficult and slow to read. The idea is to use the transcript to home in on what you want, and then go to the facsimile copy for detail. The transcript specifically omits Flinders' astronomical observations, for fear of introducing transcription errors. Again, if you cant find the transcript, I am happy to email a copy. By now it has probably dawned upon you that I am a bit of a student and admirer of Flinders. I think he is right up there with Cook and Bligh, but had his career cut short by incarceration by the French and subsequent debilitating illness. One of Flinders' lesser known exploits is an open boat voyage from Wreck Reef to Sydney. Flinders was travelling back to England after completing his circumnavigation of Australia, as a passenger on HMS Porpoise. The Porpoise, and another ship, the Cato were wrecked on Wreck Reef, about 300 miles ofshore from Mackay, Queensland. (A third ship fled the scene in a disgraceful display of cowardice.) Flinders, together with a group of men, sailed/rowed the 900+ miles to Sydney in an open cutter, to arrange a rescue of the rest of the ships' complement left at the reef.. I have asked a number of my sailing mates how long they they thought such a voyage might take...most have guessed in the order of several months. Incredibly, Flinders did it in12-13 days. Speed was of the essence, as it was not known whether or not the reef became submerged at high tide (it does not).You can find an account of this exploit in the second volume of Flinders' work. I am currently cruising the Queensland coast in my yacht Banjo and find great interest and enjoyment in retracing Flinders' steps. Lee Martin ----- Original Message ----- From: "George Huxtable"
To: Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 8:59 PM Subject: [NavList 4573] Flinders' Survey of Australia. > > I've just been reading "The Voyage of the Investigator", by K A Austin, > written in 1964. This is the story of Matthew Flinders' cicumnavigation > and > survey of the continent of Australia from 1801 to 1803. > > It's rather short on the technical detail that I like to go for, but > nevertheless a good account of an important voyage, by a skilled and > enterprising (if unfortunate) navigator. > > Flinders died at only 40, in 1814, and the last few years of his life were > spent in writing "A Voyage to Terra Australis", in two volumes and a folio > Atlas, which appeared in the year he died. > > On page 202, Austin writes- > > "A major setback occurred when the lunar tables that had been used during > the voyage were found tohave been erroneous. As a result, all observations > made for longitude had to be corrected, and all charts altered > accordingly. > This revision took up most of 1813". > > [Unfortunately, no reference is given for that interesting bit of > information. Perhaps it's mentioned within the journal itself, which I > haven't read. Can anyone tell me if an accessible digitised version of > Flinders' "A Voyage to Terra Australis" exists? All I have is an edition > (2000) by Tim Flannery, titled "Terra Australis", purporting to be of > Flinders' book, but so thoroughly filleted that little remains.] > > It's a bit of a surprise, in that Austin also tells us, on page 44, that > the > Board of Longitude provided Investigator with "astronomical telescopes and > five timekeepers". The chronometers of that era were not always robust, > and > it's likely that not all the five remained in action over the whole two > years. > > However, the problem with chronometers in those days (and later) was their > gradual drift. Fine for on ocean voyage of a couple of months, but > providing > unacceptably degraded longitudes when used over much longer periods than > that, unless some known headland, with known longitude, had been sighted > en > route. Flinders had left civilisation (if Port Jackson, later known as > Sydney, could be described that way) in May 1802,. From what Austin tells > us, it appears that from then on he must have relied on his lunars to find > any drift. That was exactly what Cook had had to do in his second voyage, > using an early chronometer, 30 years before. Neither Cook nor Flinders > could > expect to do any better than the precision of the lunar predictions in > their > current Almanacs. > > I have read comments elsewhere about inaccuracies in the Nautical Almanac, > which appears not to have progressed much in prediction accuracy since its > inception in 1767, and grown complacent about it. I wonder how big were > those almanac errors in 1801-03, and who or what had brought them to light > by 1813? It's an interesting thought, that if those discovered Almanac > errors were large enough to call for significant corrections to Flinders' > observed longitudes, they were affecting every other lunar navigator, > elsewhere in the World, in exactly the same way. > > George. > > contact George Huxtable at george---.u-net.com > or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222) > or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK. > > > > --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ To post to this group, send email to NavList@fer3.com To unsubscribe, send email to NavListemail@example.com -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---