A small book containing a big story. Matthew Flinders, British navigator and cartographer, sailed to and from Australia between 1795 to 1803 for various reasons including mapping the entire coastline. On these precarious, dangerous and adventurous journeys, Flinders was accompanied by Trim, his black cat with white paws.
Written in conjunction with Flinders biographical tribute, this book “Trim The Cartographer’s Cat” or “The Ship’s Cat Who Helped Flinders Map Australia” shows a new and fascinating insight into the man who was the world’s most accomplished navigator and cartographer.
Matthew Flinders RN was the first to circumnavigate Australia and also instrumental in giving our continent its name. Trim accompanied Flinders through good times and bad, including a shipwreck, and this small volume has exciting chapters on their 19th century nautical experiences.
Trim was a seafaring daredevil, surviving fur-raising adventures. When he wasn’t climbing rigging or cadging food, he caught his own ocean-fresh flying fish suppers.
I like to think Trim’s name relates to a ship being “trim” as in desirable weight distribution for better handling at sea. Certainly he was a neat and ship-shape cat! However, you may find that Trim was named after a character in a 1759 novel by Laurence Sterne.
MAIN CONTENTS (but plenty more topics)
- “A Biographical Tribute in the Memory of Trim” by Matthew Flinders.
- “Matthew Flinders Trim’s Shipmate and Bedfellow” according to Dr Gillian Dooley PhD.
- “My Seafurring Adventures with Matt Flinders” from Trim himself, assisted by Philippa Sandall.
- Timeline: The Voyages of Matthew Flinders and Trim.
The book illustrations are wonderful, research is thorough, the format is highly readable. A great read for those who are interested in factual exploration history. I feel as if I got to know Flinders and his life skills. Of course, Trim’s rodent catch-and-clean-up service is another skill altogether! This book has given me more than I learned at school – and is suitable reading for a family or feline friend.
By all accounts, both Flinders and Trim were exceptional characters.
“Not many ships cats have one memorial statue, let alone six. But Trim does, including one outside Euston Station in London.”Trim The Cartographer’s Cat
Without venturing into the politics of what happened to Matthew Flinders (or Trim, or indeed First Nations People) after he sailed from Terra Australis, I enjoyed reading this publication and will go so far as to say every library should own a copy.
❤ Gretchen Bernet-Ward
Book: “Trim The Cartographer’s Cat”
Imprint: Adlard Coles
Illustrated: Beautiful maps, historical artwork, quirky original illustrations
Dimensions: 182 x 129 mm
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing