Sunday, February 20, 2011

ShShSu #144 Larger than life.

I often wonder what it would have been like for early British explorers in their small sailing ships, coming for the first time into Port Phillip Bay (Victoria). To see the hazy, low lying hills in the distance and smoke curling from the fires of the local Aboriginals must have been amazing. Everything different: sounds, sights, smells all unfamiliar, not knowing what was safe to touch and eat or what would be lethal.

Matthew Flinders was an influential early British navigator who circumnavigated Australia, explored Port Phillip Bay, and was keen for the island land mass to be called Australia. This statue of him is located in a park in Mornington, a bayside town.

The plaque on the side of the statue reads:

1788 – 1988

Matthew Flinders
Navigator & explorer 1774 – 1814
Dedicated by Cr. William Hanson J.P.
To commemorate the Australian Bicentenary
26th January 1988
“The adventurous spirit of Matthew Flinders
lives on in the hears of all Australians”
Sculptor Marc Clark

His larger than life shadow is fitting given his influence.

As an aside, the trees in the background aren't native to the area. The early navigators and explorers would have seen lower growing shrubby trees, totally unfamiliar to them in colour and shape. The paintings from that time appear strange to us, as if the artists were unable to paint what they saw and had English filters on their eyes.

And for a little bit of local history extracted from that well known academic resource Wikipedia:
"Proceeding along the coast, Flinders explored Port Phillip, which unbeknownst to him had been discovered only 10 weeks earlier by John Murray aboard theLady Nelson. Flinders scaled Arthur's Seat, the highest point near the shores of the southernmost parts of the bay, where the ship had entered through The Heads. From there he saw a vast view of the surrounding land and bays. Flinders reported back to Governor King that the land had 'a pleasing and, in many parts, a fertile appearance'.[3]. He stated on May 1, "I left the ship's name on a scroll of paper, deposited in a small pile of stones upon the top of the peak". Here, Flinders was drawing upon a British tradition of constructing a stone cairn to mark a historical location. The Matthew Flinders Cairn, which was later enlarged, is located on the upper slopes of Arthurs Seat a short distance below Chapman's Point.[4]"
Appropriately, stone cairns are dotted around Port Phillip Bay with historic information related to

Matthew Flinders and his crew.

Thanks to Hey Harriet for hosting Shadow Shot Sunday. Follow the link to see shadow shots from around the world.


Sylvia K said...

Great and interesting history to go with a terrific shadow shot for the day! Always enjoy the history in particular! Hope your weekend is going well!


Hey Harriet said...

The Matthew Flinders statue and shadow are both very grand! I enjoyed reading about the history of this fine country. It sure would have appeared a very different place way back then! Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)

Paula Scott said...

Now that's an explorer I hadn't heard the name of. But, I will say that I don't (ashamedly admitting to it too) know very many explorer names.
What a cool shadow he has cast!

Marvin said...

Standing tall and casting a long shadow over Australian history.

Boonie S said...

Interesting post - and great shadow shot - and what a cool hat that dude's wearing! I'm going to get Mrs S to knit me one just like it.
Have a great week my friend.

All the best, Boonie and Mrs S

HOOTIN' ANNI said... very interesting!!! At first I thought perhaps it was Napoleon....glad you added a bit of history for us.

My Shadow Shot Dolphin Art

Thanks for visiting with me.

Miss Becky said...

thanks for sharing this history of your great nation; when I was in high school Australia was one of those spots on the globe that my finger would point to when playing the "where I'd like to live someday" game. Fast forward several decades and here I am, visiting via the internet! What a grand, dignified shadow shot! nicely done Sue. Have a beautiful week!

fiziskandarz said...

interesting entry. thank you for sharing :) i really like the shadow of the sculpture in the image too :)

mississippi artist said...

I love history, and hearing it from a native of the country is especially interesting. It is larger than life.

BLOGitse said...

What a statue and great history - in a same post.
Have a good week ahead!

Sweet Repose-Junk Revival said...

Ours are both young countries, imagine too what our Native Americans must've thought and feared! Cool shadow!

sue said...

Thankyou everyone for your comments. It seems that a few of us aren't too great with history. It was getting a bit long to incorporate some information about the local aboriginal peoples, but I'll see what I can do another time.

Marvin, far too many of the early people in power cast very negative shadows, particularly where the aboriginals were concerned, but also in regard to the convicts. It was a brutal time.

Boonie, I look forward to seeing the outcome of Mrs S's creative talent. Um, do you plan to wear it in public? Just asking in a caring and sharing way.

Anni, An easy mistake to make, the memorabilia in regard to Napoleon is a couple of kilometres south of here. Truly!

Becky, the internet is a truly remarkable tool, I think it's the next best thing to teleportation. The ability to hop around the world and be invited to share in the thoughts and lives of others fills me with wonder. Have a lovely week.

MA, BLOGitse and SR-JR, you've all encouraged me to "do better next time" with regard to history. As a child we didn't learn about the history of our local area, just Australia in general, and other countries too of course.

Thankyou all for visiting and commenting, I really enjoy hearing what you have to say. Take care, and see you next week.

Francisca said...

Not much I can add to this lively conversation. I like the history and the shadow shot. It's a bit harsh to look at people's behaviour in the past through today's "enlightened values" glasses. And I'm not sure we're too much better today.

Your next drabble about what's in a name is pretty funny!

imaginationlane said...

Great shadow shots, and I did enjoy the history to go along with it...t's always good to learn about places we've not been to. I have family in Sydney, but have not yet made it there to visit...something to aim for!

I will definitely drop in again...


Kathe W. said...

history lesson and a cool shadow shot! Cheers!

sue said...

Francisca, what you say is absolutely correct, I don't think that much has changed really. Unfortunately.
Glad you liked "what's in a name" it was fun to write.

Imaginationlane, thankyou Lynette, it'll be good to see you again :) Sydney is a pretty amazing place. You can go on a harbour cruise and hear the history at the same time and see where events took place.

Kathe, the response has been so positive that I'll try to combine the two again. It'd be a good reason to improve my history which is sadly ... um ... not up to scratch (I'm embarrassed to admit that)

Beverley Baird said...

I'm late getting around!

What great shadows cast by this great man. Thanks for all the info about him.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

anjoe playhouse said...

So great history and photos. As an european I first saw the figure as Napoleon, but it last no long ;-D