Collections

The SA Maritime Museum preserves the oldest nautical collection in Australia. In 1872 the Port Adelaide Institute began a museum collection to complement its library and its educational and social programs. That collection grew over the following century reflecting the seafarers and the ships that visited Port Adelaide. It is now held in trust at the SA Maritime Museum.

The Maritime Museum’s collection ranges from the Port Adelaide Lighthouse that was first lit in 1869 to a plaque that explorer Matthew Flinders left at Memory Cove in 1802 to mark the loss to eight seafarers. It includes figureheads, nautical instruments, bathing costumes, shipwreck artefacts, paintings, models and vessels.

Our scope is the maritime heritage of South Australia from the coast to inland waters. The collection of over almost 20,000 objects and over 20,000 images is at once a window to the heritage of the local community and to the ships of the world..

Memorial tablet commemorating Matthew Flinders' voyage

Marble plaque commemorating the shores surveyed by Matthew Flinders on 26 February 1802. The plaque was commissioned by Lady Jane Franklin after she visited Spencer Gulf in 1841.

Lady Jane was the wife of explorer and fifth Governor (1827- 1843) of Tasmania, Sir John Franklin. She convinced the then Governor of South Australia Colonel Gawler to commission the tablet as a monument to Flinders. Sir John Franklin (1786-1847) served as midshipman under Matthew Flinders (to whom he was related by marriage) in HMS Investigator during his survey of the Australian coast, 1801-1803. Franklin disappeared in the Arctic in 1847 on an expedition to find the north-west passage.

The inscription reads: 'THIS PLACE/ from which the Gulf and its/ Shores were first surveyed/ on 26. Feb. 1802 by/ MATTHEW FLINDERS R.N./ Commander of H.M.S. Investigator/ the Discoverer of the Country now called South Australia/ was set apart/ on 12. Jan. 1841/ with the sanction of COL. GAWLER. K. H./ then Governor of the Colony/ and in the first year of the government of CAPT. G. GREY/ adorned with this Monument/ to the perpetual Memory/ of the illustrious Navigator/ his honored Commander/ by JOHN FRANKLIN CAPT. R.N./ K.C.H.K.R./ LT. GOVERNOR OF/ VAN DIEMEN'S LAND'.

Associated locations: Port Lincoln, Tasmania

Caption: Flinders Commemorative Plaque commissioned by Lady Jane Franklin

AccessionNo: HT86954(m)

Depth: 40 mm

Width: 460 mm

Height: 865 mm

Material: Marble, wooden frame.

Date Created: 1863

Physical Description:
Marble plaque commemorating the shores surveyed by Matthew Flinders on 26 February 1802. Inscription reads: 'THIS PLACE/ from which the Gulf and its/ Shores were first surveyed/ on 26. Feb. 1802 by/ MATTHEW FLINDERS R.N./ Commander of H.M.S. Investigator/ the Discoverer of the Country now called South Australia/ was set apart/ on 12. Jan. 1841/ with the sanction of COL. GAWLER. K. H./ then Governor of the Colony/ and in the first year of the government of CAPT. G. GREY/ adorned with this Monument/ to the perpetual Memory/ of the illustrious Navigator/ his honored Commander/ by JOHN FRANKLIN CAPT. R.N./ K.C.H.K.R./ LT. GOVERNOR OF/ VAN DIEMEN'S LAND'.

Significance:
The Plaque is an important indicator of exploration and commemmoration of the discovery of South Australia by European explorers – Matthew Flinders surveyed the shores of what is now known as South Australia on the HMS Investigator on 26th February 1802. It is illustrative of the relationship/connections between the colonies before Federation – John Franklin was the then Governor of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) and an explorer himself. Reminiscent of the lasting importance of and contemporary interest in Matthew Flinders – Flinders University (bearing his name) and the Encounter 2002 celebrations are important indicators of the surviving legacy of Matthew Flinders in South Australia.

Provenance:
Marble plaque commemorating the shores surveyed by Matthew Flinders on 26 February 1802. Commissioned by Lady Jane Franklin after she visited Spencer Gulf in 1841. Lady Jane was the wife of former explorer and fifth Governor (1827 to 1843) of Tasmania Sir John Franklin. She convinced the then Governor of South Australia Colonel Gawler to commission the tabletas a monument to Flinders. John Franklin laid the stone in 1863 on a visit to the South Australian coastline with Lady Franklin. John Franklin died on an expedition to find the north west passage in 1847. Inscription reads: 'THIS PLACE/ from which the Gulf and its/ Shores were first surveyed/ on 26. Feb. 1802 by/ MATTHEW FLINDERS R.N./ Commander of H.M.S. Investigator/ the Discoverer of the Country now called South Australia/ was set apart/ on 12. Jan. 1841/ with the sanction of COL. GAWLER. K. H./ then Governor of the Colony/ and in the first year of the government of CAPT. G. GREY/ adorned with this Monument/ to the perpetual Memory/ of the perpetual Memory/ of the illustrious Navigator/ his honored Commander/ by JOHN FRANKLIN CAPT. R.N./ K.C.H.K.R./ LT. GOVERNOR OF/ VAN DIEMEN'S LAND'.