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Matthew Flinders In Redcliffe

Story: Redcliffe Guide
Aug 18, 2014
MATTHEW FLINDERS IN REDCLIFFE
The 215th anniversary of explorer Matthew Flinders’ landing at what we know as Woody Point was 17th July 2014. Flinders placed the name ‘Red cliff Point’ on the south eastern part of the Peninsula on his chart of Moreton Bay. His sloop Norfolk had been anchored 1.5 miles off that part of the Peninsula and his men had rowed him to a landing place somewhere near the present Woody Point Jetty.

The following was noted in his journal: “At half past ten o’clock anchored one mile and a half off a point that has red cliffs in it,… A little West of this Point I observed the latitude... to be 27 ̊ 16’ 25” S. The bight which lay round the Point is shoal with muddy bottom; the land is low, but not so sandy... The rocks are strongly impregnated Iron stone with small pieces of granite & crystal scattered about the shore.

From Red Cliff Point we pulled over to a green head about two miles to the westward, round which the bight is contracted into a river-like form, but the greatest part of it is dry at low water.”

We know the headland two miles to the west as Clontarf Point. There he found an aboriginal humpy and observed tracks of dogs (dingoes) kangaroos and emus on the beach. Flinders took away with him a large aboriginal fishing net and in its place left a tomahawk. What we know today as Redcliffe Point is obviously not what Flinders called by that name.

After his Moreton Bay explorations Flinders returned from Sydney to England in Reliance in 1800. He sailed from there in Investigator on 18th July 1801. Flinders surveyed the coastline of New Holland as he sailed east from Cape Leeuwin. Many places on the coast of South Australia owe their names to Flinders.

After arriving in Port Jackson on 9th May 1802, Flinders was soon ready to set out to complete the circumnavigation of our continent in Investigator.

Redcliffe Museum tells the fascinating story of local history and community through modern exhibits, film and interactives. For enquiries about sharing your story or volunteering, contact the Historical Society on

Ph: 3883 1898. Open: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4pm. Free entry. The Museum will be closed 1-5 September 2014.
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