Welcome to the ‘Naming of Australia’ website
We hope your interest in this site will be a positive and rewarding experience, and that you will be motivated to help us achieve our objective which is set out below.
Purpose of the site
- To raise awareness—of the fact that this year, 2004, is the 200th anniversary of the naming of Australia.
As individuals we celebrate the anniversaries of the key events in our lives. Our birthday, the birthdays of relatives, Mothers Day, our wedding anniversary, the date of an achievement, or of a death etc. As citizens, we remember Anzac Day, religious holidays, and various days of significance.
Over the past 30 years, groups of dedicated historians from all around Australia, have at different times in different places, been remembering and paying tribute to the life of one particular Englishman, Matthew Flinders.
In 1974 the Victorian government organised two weeks of celebrations for the 200th anniversary of Flinders’ birth. In more recent times, people on the south coast of Queensland, at Augusta in Western Australia, at Sweers Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria, at Encounter Bay in South Australia, around the coast of Tasmania, and from Cape Leeuwin to Arthur’s Seat, along the coasts of New South Wales north and south of Port Jackson, have all had their reasons to reflect on the life of Matthew Flinders and on his contribution to their history. In 1988 Australia celebrated its bicentenary, the 200th anniversary of European settlement at Sydney Cove. On 9 June last year we remembered the 200th anniversary of the return of Flinders to Sydney Cove at the end of his circumnavigation voyage.
On 26 January this year, almost out of the blue to many of us fortunate enough to be in the audience, Her Excellency Marie Bashir AC Governor of New South Wales informed us that 2004 is another bicentennial year, the anniversary of the naming of Australia.
- To stimulate interest, to communicate, to discuss in the short time at our disposal and to plan a strategy for how we might celebrate the naming of Australia, an event which has never been celebrated before.
- To develop a program of events for 14 November, the date suggested as the most appropriate on which to have a national celebration to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the first map of Australia leaving Mauritius.
- To consider whether the celebration of the naming of Australia is an event that warrants a moment of reflection or a more significant commemoration on a regular basis, or whether once in two hundred years is to suffice.