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Flinders Island

The Flinders Island, the largest island in the Furneaux Group, is a 1,367-square-kilometre (528 sq mi) island located in the Bass Strait, northeast of Tasmania, Australia. Flinders Island is situated 54 kilometres (34 mi) from Cape Portland and it is located on 40° south, a place known as the Roaring Forties.

Flinders Island was first inhabited at least 35,000 years ago, when people made their way from Australia across the then-land bridge which is now Bass Strait. A population remained until about 4,500 years ago, succumbing to thirst and hunger following an acute El Niño climate shift.

Some of the south-eastern islands of the Furneaux Group were first recorded in 1773 by British navigator Tobias Furneaux, commander of HMS Adventure, the support vessel with James Cook on Cook’s second voyage. In February 1798 British navigator Matthew Flinders charted some of the southern islands, using one of the schooner Francis' open boats. Later that year, Flinders returned and finished charting the islands in the Norfolk, he then went on to complete the first circumnavigation of Tasmania (1798–99), accompanied by George Bass, proving Tasmania to be an island separated from the Australian mainland by Bass Strait, later named in honor of George Bass.

James Cook named the islands Furneaux's Islands, after Tobias Furneaux. Flinders named the largest island in the group "Great Island". He also named a group of mountains on Flinders Island, the "Three Patriarchs". The small island just to the east, Flinders named "Babel Island" from the noises made by the seabirds there. Phillip Parker King later named the largest island Flinders Island, after Matthew Flinders. Flinders named Mount Chappell Island after his wife Ann née Ann Chappelle. There are three islands named "Flinders' Island"—the large island on the east side of Bass Strait, named by Phillip Parker King; an island in the Investigator Group of South Australia, named by Matthew Flinders after his young brother Samuel Flinders (midshipman on the Investigator); and an island in the Flinders Group north of Cooktown, Queensland was named after Matthew Flinders.

The island was often frequented by sealers and Aboriginal women, the majority of whom had been kidnapped from their mainland tribes. Seal stocks soon collapsed, causing the last sealing permit to be issued in 1828. Many sealers' families chose to stay in the Furneaux Group, subsisting on cattle grazing and muttonbirding.

From 1830, the remnants of the Tasmanian Aboriginal population were exiled to Settlement Point (or Wybalenna, meaning "Black Man's House" in the language of the Ben Lomond people) on Flinders Island. These 160 survivors were deemed to be safe from white settlers here, but conditions were poor, and the relocation scheme was short-lived. In 1847, after a campaign by the Aboriginal population against their Commandant, Henry Jeanneret, which involved a petition to Queen Victoria, the remaining 47 Aboriginals were again relocated, this time to Oyster Cove Station, an ex-convict settlement 56 kilometres south of Tasmania's capital, Hobart, where it is thought that Truganini, the last full-blood Tasmanian Aborigine, died in 1876.

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