Matthew Flinders' Cat

Trim is the most famous Australian cat (b1799 black, with white paws, chin and chest), saving the tragic colonial explorer Flinders (sunburnt), who gave our nation its name, on many an occasion. Trim gained his name by choosing a place on boats that best kept the boat level. Sadly, he came to a very sticky end.

Following in the pawprints of Trim I once set off for north east Terra Australis (sometimes shortened to Australia) following their track. Here, in the map created by the adventurers, is an extract of the coastline mapped during their expeditions (which i took with me because of verbals disagreements with my mapping AI). 

Copyright in the map is asserted by the Government of South Australia, and is reproduced here under a general licence applying to the original. The full map is available at:

Everyone comes to Sydney eventually, and some will walk past Trim without noticing him. I met Trim some years ago while researching prosecutions against the early Governors of the Colony in the State Library. At lunch and after work, i would come out here and talk to him.

As a kid, I loved listening to stories - I guess most kids do. When I tell my young lawyers about difficult legal rules, I find it best when I wrap it up in a story.  For example, the legal rules dealing with accidental discovery are complex  (you know the situation - you are walking along minding your own business, and you see a diamond ring sparkling in the grass).  When I describe the rules, at a technical level, I have to resort to n-space concepts.  Far more efficient to tell them  a couple of stories, starting with the one about the poor chimney sweep who found a gem.

When Flinders wrote his story about Trim, he had a lot of time but there was no one listening.  Now people in Sydney own Trim fiercely, but I suspect that they have not understood the story. There is lots to like about Sydney.  It is an amazing wonderful modern city.  But we who live outside the city pay a high price.  Sydney sucks the rest of the state of New South Wales dry of our youth, employment opportunities, and local initiative.

We need a little balance. So when i come to Sydney, i come visit Trim.


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