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British explorer Matthew Flinders, the man who gave Australia its name, is to be commemorated with a life-size bronze statue in the centre of London today (Fri).
The 6-foot high work was commissioned by the South Australian Government and will be unveiled by HRH the Duke of Cambridge at Australia House, before being installed at its permanent home in Euston Station, where it is believed he was buried.
The Duke will also reveal a commemorative Matthew Flinders locomotive nameplate for one of Virgin Trains' flagship Pendolinos that sees service on the West Coast Main Line between London Euston, the Midlands, North West and Scotland.
South Australian Government officials based in the UK have led the two-year initiative to mark the life of Flinders on the bicentenary of his death. Despite his remarkable achievements, Flinders is largely unknown in the UK, but sculptor, Mark Richards, has set out to create a work that both explained who he was and what he did.
Aged just 27, he was the first to circumnavigate Australia, and defined the borders of the continent, proving that New South Wales and Western Australia (New Holland as it was then known) were a single entity.
Flinders became the driving force behind the naming of the country when he wrote “Terra Australis” on his 1804 chart after he explored the then ‘unknown’ southern coast of Australia.
During an earlier exploration of Australia he also established with George Bass that Tasmania (then referred to as Van Diemen’s Land) was a separate island from the mainland of Australia.
He is also responsible for naming more than 150 places across Australia including such tourist attractions as Kangaroo Island in South Australia.
On his return to England in 1803, Flinders' vessel needed urgent repairs at Isle de France (Mauritius). Although Britain and France were at war, Flinders thought the scientific nature of his work would ensure safe passage, but instead he found himself under arrest and held in captivity for more than six years.
Flinders is considered the nautical grandson of Captain James Cook whose wisdom was passed down through Captain William Bligh, who had served under Cook and later commanded Flinders in the Providence.
His professional prowess and expertise as a navigator and hydrographer, inherited from Cook and Bligh, was further enhanced by his own experiences and determination and experts say there is little doubt he would have achieved even more had he not died at the early age of forty.
Flinders left his mark on Australia and its history and so helped lay the foundations that were to prove so vital to the country’s future.
He has become a household name in Australia and now has a University named in his honour – Flinders University in the city of Adelaide, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016.
Bill Muirhead, Agent General for South Australia said “He was a great Englishman who had an immeasurable influence to South Australia, Flinders literally helped to shape the entire country and it’s a great honour to finally be able to properly recognise his astonishing achievements here in his homeland.
“Having the Duke of Cambridge unveil Mark Richard's brilliant masterpiece further strengthens the historic bond between Australia and Great Britain for a new generation”
Sir Richard Branson added "Australia has always been a country close to my heart. Its stunning landscape, it’s wonderful people and that refreshing free spirit that has so many parallels with the Virgin brand.
“So owe a great debt of gratitude to the work of Captain Matthew Flinders. I can certainly relate to his sense of adventure and discovery and believe it's only right the 200th anniversary of his death be marked in this way."
Explorer Matthew Flinders, the man who gave Australia its name, is to be commemorated with a life-size statue in London. The work will be unveiled by HRH the Duke of Cambridge at Australia House, before being installed at its permanent home in Euston Station, where it is believed he was buried.
Virgin Trains has appointed Hope&Glory PR as its retained consumer agency following a competitive pitch process.
Glasgow Central Station’s main concourse came alive with creativity when seven youth dance groups from across the world met for the first time on their way to the YDance Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival. The groups travelled from London free of charge, courtesy of Festival sponsors, Virgin Trains.
Carlisle was the big winner at the annual Virgin Trains' Feel Good Awards ceremeony on 26 June 2014, when excellence in staff across various ‘V Good’ categories was recognised. Carlisle Station won V Good station and Onboard Customer Service Assistant, Anabela Ferreira won V Good service.
Glasgow’s council and business leaders have welcomed completion of Virgin Trains’ new First Class Lounge at Central Station.
Virgin Trains is delighted to have achieved an overall passenger satisfaction rating of 90% in the latest National Rail Passenger Survey. The survey, which measures areas such as punctuality, cleanliness and speed, shows that Virgin Trains continues to comfortably beat the average for the long distance sector (86%).
We are one of the most experienced train companies in Britain, having been around since 1997, sending our Pendolino and Super Voyager trains speeding between different destinations all over the country. But as inspirational as our past has been, it's our future that we really get excited about...
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