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Matthew Flinders arrived in the Gulf waters on November 3rd, 1802 in the "Investigator".For the next 2 & a half months he examined and chartered the Gulf Coast. Lort Stokes in the "Beagle" spent the period between the 29th June and 4th August, 1841 retracing Flinders route in more detail.Whilst in the Gulf Flinders blazed a tree on Sweers Island. Between July 30th and August 6th Stokes discovered the Albert River and ascended it for a distance of 50 river miles from the mouth in a long boat.
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This time two vessels, the "Pera" and the "Aernem" under Jan Carstenszoon were despatched.
The expedition extended discovery of the eastern gulf coast south to the Staeten (Steaten) River, landing at several points (principally for water) and gave the first descriptions of the northern coast of Australia.
The time of their visit was April and May, and they were not impressed with what they saw.
The discovery of the areas now known as the Gulf Country was exclusively a Dutch maritime affair.
By the beginning of the 17th century the Dutch East India Company was well established in the East Indies and was looking to extend its influence and increase its profits by searching out new sources of supply for the raw materials which the islands yielded so abundantly. Jansz, Captain) was dispatched from Bantam in 1605 to learn more about the lands and islands to the south, especially New Guinea.
The expedition sailed down the south-west coast of New Guinea, missed Torres Strait entirely (the Strait was discovered by Torres in 1606) and entered the Gulf of Carpentaria.
They sailed down the eastern gulf coast as far as Cape Keer-Weer, and then turned back to the islands.
Mathew Flinders (1802) - Detailed examination of the Gulf coasts was carried out by British naval vessels in the first decades of the 19th century, but Britain's interests in the north were not aroused until Dutch and French activities prompted action.
Cook, in 1770, had re-established the existence of Torres Strait, and Bligh's and Edward's voyages in these same waters kept the Cape in public and official mind.
By 1802 it was apparent that Britain had a real interest in the north and that more knowledge about the coastlines was urgently needed.
The opportunity to prosecute such examinations came in 1802 when Matthew Flinders, in the refitted "Investigator", set sail from Port Jackson with instructions to examine Torres Strait and the coasts of the Gulf of Carpentaria.