Celebrating South Australia


22 February 1802 Memory Cove

 22 February 1802   Memory Cove

In February 1802 Captain Matthew Flinders in his ship Investigator was hard at work charting the coast of South Australia. The ship was charting the whole Southern Australian coastline from west to east. Flinders found the entrance to a large gulf which he named Spencer's Gulf after Earl Spencer, First Lord of the Admiralty in Britain.

On 22 February Flinders anchored in a cove near the entrance of Spencer's Gulf. There, on 24 February he erected a tablet in memory of John Thistle, the master, William Taylor, midshipman, and six of the crew who, as Flinders wrote, were 'unfortunately drowned near this place from being upset in a boat. The wreck of the boat was found but their bodies were not recovered'. Flinders named the cove, Memory Cove, and the nearby cape, Cape Catastrophe.

He had erected South Australia's first memorial which was an engraved sheet of copper attached to a stout post. Replacement plates were mounted at Memory Cove in 1897 and again in 1924.

R.M. Gibbs,  A History of South Australia,   Balara Books, Adelaide, 1969, p.12
Brian Samuels, South Australian Memorials 1802-1935, Leaflet No. 5, Community History Unit, History Trust of SA, Adelaide,1992.