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Rare map of Shark Bay from the important French voyage of exploration under the command of Nicholas Baudin. In October 1800, Nicolas Baudin commanded an expedition to the south seas to complete the French survey of the Australian coastline, and make … Read Full Description
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Rare map of Shark Bay from the important French voyage of exploration under the command of Nicholas Baudin.
In October 1800, Nicolas Baudin commanded an expedition to the south seas to complete the French survey of the Australian coastline, and make scientific observations. The two ships, Le Geographe and Le Naturaliste, arrived near Cape Leeuwin in May 1801. Following instructions issued in France, both ships sailed north along the western coast of the continent. After staying at Timor, the French then sailed south to survey Van Diemen’s Land [Tasmania]. In following this itinerary, they missed the opportunity to be the first Europeans to survey the unknown southern coast. By early April 1802 Baudin in Le Geographe was in South Australian waters. He sailed westwards along the southern coastline, meeting Flinders at Encounter Bay, and continuing to Golfe de la Mauvaise [Gulf St Vincent] and Golfe de la Melomanie [Spencer Gulf], giving French names to many locations already named by Flinders. At Cape Adieu the survey was abandoned and Baudin sailed for Port Jackson where Le Naturaliste had already arrived. After wintering at Port Jackson, Baudin returned to the southern coast for a more detailed survey, and in January 1803 circumnavigated Ile Borda [Kangaroo Island]. While Baudin anchored at Nepean Bay, Freycinet and the geographer Boullanger explored the two gulfs in Casuarina – Le Naturaliste had been sent back to France with its scientific collections. By the end of February Le Geographe and Casuarina rendezvoused at King George Sound, and then explored the west and northwest coasts of ‘New Holland’, before heading home via Timor.
Baudin died in 1803 on the homeward voyage, so publication of the account and charts of his voyage was undertaken by Francois Peron, the expedition’s naturalist. The first volume of Voyage de decouvertes aux Terres Australes and Volume I of Atlas, which included plates, was released in 1807. French place names were recorded for ‘Terre Napoleon’ west of Wilson’s Promontory. As Peron died in 1810, cartographer Louis de Freycinet continued to edit the voyage’s account, and in 1811 he published the second part of Atlas, which featured the charts of the expedition, again recording French place names on ‘Terre Napoleon.’
From Peron’s, Voyage de decouvertes aux terres australes.
Louis Claude de Saulces de Freycinet (1779 - 1841)
Louis de Freycinet (1779-1841) Freycinet made the published the first map to show a full outline of the coastline of Australia. He was in command of the Uranie, which left Toulon on 17 September 1817. His wife Rose had been smuggled aboard, and her presence was acknowledged by the time they reached Gibraltar. They made the usual French passage via Tenerife, Rio, the Cape of Good Hope and Mauritius, where Louis was reunited briefly with his brother Henri, then serving as the Governor. The Uranie reached Shark Bay on 12 September 1818 and spent some time there, setting up an observatory and making further thorough surveys of the inlets and coast; it was during this visit that Freycinet also finally removed the Vlamingh plate. From Western Australia they headed to Coupang in Timor, and crossed to Dili, where the expedition was received in great state by the Governor. The vessel then picked its way northeast via Amboina, Pisang, Rawak and the coast of New Guinea, reaching Guam in mid-March 1819. The expedition stayed in Guam for eleven weeks before heading to Hawaii, which was first sighted on 5 August; they anchored in Kealakekua Bay three days later. They spent an important fortnight in the islands, making stays at Lahaina and Honolulu, and meeting any number of important figures there. From Honolulu they headed towards New South Wales, passing Samoa and the Cook Islands and naming “Rose Island”, which Freycinet erroneously thought a new discovery. They anchored in Port Jackson on 18 November, and spent a busy month in the bustling town, the growth of which astonished Freycinet. All of his savants set off to make surveys, including the important group of Quoy, Pellion and Gaudichaud, who crossed the Blue Mountains. It became a hectic social visit for Louis and Rose, who were fêted by Sydney society, and who cemented friendships with local luminaries like Barron Field and William Bland. The visit confirmed Freycinet’s interest in the region, which he would later make the subject of a detailed section in his voyage account. Leaving Port Jackson on Christmas Day, Freycinet sailed around the southern coast of New Zealand, making a fast passage to Cape Horn, where boisterous weather drove him into the southern Atlantic, and he made the decision to make urgently-needed repairs to the Uranie at “French Bay” (now Berkeley Sound) on the eastern coast of the Falklands. While entering the harbour on 14 February 1820 he struck submerged rocks, compelling him to beach the vessel, which was found to be irreparably damaged. Salvaging as much as they could from the wreck, the French set about sending a longboat to Montevideo for assistance, but before they could the sealing vessel General Knox, Captain Horn, came into sight. Reluctant negotiations were begun but before an agreement was reached, another vessel the Mercury, Captain Galvin, arrived, and it was on this second vessel that a passage to Rio de Janeiro was booked. Conflict between the French and the existing passengers, a group of Chilean rebels, meant that the deal changed, and Freycinet actually purchased the Mercury and agreed to disembark Galvin and the Chileans in Montevideo. On 8 May Freycinet took command, immediately and renamed the ship the Physicienne, and it was on this vessel that the expedition returned to Le Havre on 13 November 1820, after around three years at sea. Freycinet spent the next two decades co-ordinating and writing the official narrative of the voyage.
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