Flinders' remains to be buried in England

Explorer Matthew Flinders' remains were found in London more than 200 years after his death.
Explorer Matthew Flinders' remains were found in London more than 200 years after his death.

The remains of Matthew Flinders, the first explorer to circumnavigate Australia, are to be buried in his home village in Lincolnshire, England.

Flinders' coffin was found in London by archaeologists excavating a burial ground for a rail project, it was revealed in January.

He had been buried at St James's burial ground in Euston in 1814 but the headstone was removed in the 1840s.

South Australian MP Frank Pangallo had called for the navigator's remains to be reinterred in the state, for putting the country - particularly South Australia and Tasmania - "on the map".

However the company behind the rail project said on Wednesday Flinders' remains will be buried at a parish church in the Lincolnshire village of Donington.

The decision follows requests from descendants of the Flinders family and the local community.

"It is fitting that the last voyage of Captain Matthew Flinders will be back to the village of Donington where he grew up and we are pleased to be playing our part in his last journey," HS2 head of heritage Helen Wass said in a statement.

"This local boy from Donington put Australia on the map due to his tenacity and expertise as a navigator and explorer."

Donington's St Mary and the Holy Rood Church treasurer Jane Pearson said she was delighted to hear Flinders' remains were being brought to the village.

"All the people from the village, including the members of the church and the Matthew Flinders Bring Him Home Group, will be too. This is wonderful news for us - and something we have long hoped for," she said in a statement.

Flinders made three voyages to the southern ocean between 1791 and 1810.

In the second voyage, George Bass and Flinders confirmed that Van Diemen's Land, now Tasmania, was an island.

In the third voyage, Flinders circumnavigated the mainland.

Australian Associated Press