Remains of Matthew Flinders discovered

By AG STAFF 25 January 2019
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The discovery officially ends a 200-year mystery.

THE BODY of British explorer Matthew Flinders, understood to be the first person to circumnavigate Australia, has been found in a burial site located beneath a London train station.

The remains of the British explorer were discovered by archaeologists working on HS2, a high-speed rail project linking London and Birmingham, preserved by a lead breastplate.

“I was rather hoping that there would be a ship or an anchor — something that linked him to his nautical endeavours,” Head of Heritage for the HS2 project, Helen Wass, told the ABC.

“But it’s just so exciting to see that here and to know that this was his grave.”

Flinders died at the age of 40 and was interred at St James’s cemetery in 1814.

“The records show that he was buried here. He died in a house not very far away from this site,” Helen said.

“An urban myth was that he was buried under Platform 15 of the modern Euston Station — we now know that is not true.”

Due to over crowding, and eventually the encroachment of the railway station on the cemetery, Flinders’ headstone was removed, and it was feared his remains had been lost forever.

A major part of the HS2 Project has been to exhume the graves at St James’s cemetery to identify the bodies. It was the discovery of the lead breastplate that bared Flinders’ name that was attached to his coffin, which confirmed his resting place.