Matthew Flinders set out to locate the missing pieces in what was the jigsaw puzzle of Australia.
Throughout the early 17th century the Dutch had gradually charted the coasts of Australia with the exception of the east coast, part of the south coast, and the north of Tasmania.
James Cook had sailed up the east coast in 1770 but had not charted that coast in detail. His chart needed to be refined and expanded.
Flinders filled in most of the remaining jigsaw pieces on Norfolk in 1798-1799 and on Investigator in 1801-1803.
He charted Tasmania and proved it to be an island. He charted the unknown south coast and proved there was no channel through to the north coast, dividing the continent, or a large gulf.
Flinders drew his great chart of Australia while he was detained at Mauritius. It was completed by August 1804. He titled it ‘Australia or Terra Australis’, making a bold claim for a new name for the entity he had recently delineated. This chart was published in 1814 but Flinders was forced to reverse the title. It was published as ‘Terra Australis or Australia’.