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Miriam Estensen

In the shadow of the famous romance of Ann and Matthew Flinders lies another, even sadder love story, between Flinders’s partner in exploration George Bass and his wife, Elizabeth. Bass and Flinders are so firmly bracketed in the Australian historical imagination that it comes as a surprise to find that the only references to Flinders in this collection of the Bass letters come from Elizabeth. Flinders does not even merit an entry in the biographical notes at the beginning of the book.

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Miriam Estensen is prodigious. It is only a year since I reviewed her Life of George Bass (2005) in ABR, and here is another well-researched historical volume, out in time to mark the four-hundredth anniversary of the Spanish expedition, which inter alia made the first European passage through the Torres Strait.

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