Born on 21 November 1772 and thus 16 months older than Matthew, Ann Chappelle had been part of Flinders’ circle of friends before he sailed for New South Wales on Reliance in 1795. He had not seen her now for over five years, though he had written to her and named a mountain and an island after her in Bass Strait. He had only one meeting with her, in January 1801, before they married on 17 April that year.
Flinders had promised to take her on Investigator with him. He was unable to redeem this foolhardy pledge. After three months of marriage, Matthew and Ann would not see each other again for over nine years.
Ann’s later letters to him deplore his decision to undertake the voyage and desert her. He answers firmly that there was no alternative as, unless he could add to his finances, there simply was not the money available to live decently in England.
Flinders was finally reunited with Ann in London in October 1810. He spent his remaining years with Ann living at a number of rented lodgings in London while he prepared his charts for publication. He died in July 1814 while Ann lived for a further 40 years, dying in 1852, aged 80. One daughter, Anne, was born to Matthew and Ann, in April 1812.