Kalamunda residents Brian and Ann Jefferson on their UK visit.

Kalamunda residents at Flinders UK reinterment

Kalamunda residents visited the village of Donington earlier this year, in time to see excavations start on Flinders’ new resting place.
May 23, 2024
Jacki Elezovich

MOST Australians know the name Matthew Flinders, the first man to circumnavigate Australia.

He is remembered across the country in monuments and statues, including Flinders Station in Melbourne.

More than 200 years after his historic voyage, he will be remembered for eternity by his birthplace of Donington, in the United Kingdom, as he is reburied in the village church St Mary and the Holy Rood.

Kalamunda residents Ann and Brian Jefferson visited the village of Donington earlier this year, in time to see excavations start on Flinders’ new resting place.

Mrs Jefferson said she was proud to be part of the moment.

“It was a pure coincidence, but pretty special that we were able to be there,” she said.

The stonemason on site allowed Mrs Jefferson to pick up the tools and do some digging herself, and she said she liked knowing an Australian was even a small part of his reburial.

“The stonemason who was there had just started chipping away. I told him we were Australian he said it was a good omen that we’d come on his first day,” she said.

Flinders’ remains were thought to be lost, after the headstone on his grave was removed in the mid-1800s.

However, his body was rediscovered in London in 2019, amidst digging for a railway project.

Matthew Flinders ‘bring him home’ campaign chair Jane Pearson said it had taken the team years to bring the move to fruition.

“As soon as we heard of the confirmed discovery of the remains of Captain Flinders, we knew that we wanted them to be returned to Donington.

"We could see no other logical place for them to be.

"So, we started the campaign to bring him home and we were really pleased to learn that everyone else seemed to agree with us,” she said.

The campaign is run by a group of volunteers and was started shortly after Flinders’ body was rediscovered in 2019.

Last year, they were awarded 35,000 pounds (more than $70,000) to fund the operation to transfer Flinders’ remains from London to Donington village, in Lincolnshire.

The reburial in July will be a three-day memorial event comprised of multiple church services and community celebrations to follow.

Ms Pearson said more than 700 people have registered interest to attend, so many that seating inside the church had had to be put to a ballot.

She said the delaying original plans due to Covid-19 became a silver lining, allowing the group to plan bigger festivities.

“Interest has built and our planning has recognised the wide range of people who want to be involved – resulting in three days of services.

"By doing it this way we hope to have offered as many opportunities as possible to get the whole community involved.”

Privately owned, proudly independent local news service.

ALL IMAGES & WORDS © 2023 Echo Newspaper
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram