Egypt in South Africa


On 3 June 1853 Anne Flinders and William Petrie’s first and only son, William Matthew Flinders Petrie (later known as Flinders Petrie), was born.
William Petrie, the father of Flinders, had a brilliant scientific mind and during the time when his parents lived in Cape Town in the 1820s, William attended school at the South African College. Before the age of 16 he started studying medicine at the Cape Town Hospital (later Groote Schuur hospital). William’s mentor was their neighbour, Sir John Herschel. William and his brother became friendly with the children of Hershel’s assistant, Piazzi Smyth. When the Petrie family moved to London William abandoned medicine to study chemistry.
Anne Flinders’ mother was Ann Chappell(e) and her father Captain Matthew Flinders, the navigator and explorer who had chartered the coasts of Australia. Anne was an intelligent woman fluent in six languages, mostly self-taught: German, Italian, Hebrew, Greek, Spanish and Portuguese.


Sir John Herschel, the mathematician, astonomer, chemist, inventor and experimental photographer was William's mentor and neighbour.

Piazzi Smyth, known for his studies of the Great Pyramid of Giza was a family friend of the Petries.