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Voyage in Search of La Perouse, Volume I

Date: 1800
Dimensions:
212 x 143 x 45 mm
Medium: Paper, ink, leather
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00040484

User Terms

    Description
    This is the first of two volumes by Jacques Labillardiere translated into English that recounts the 1791-93 expedition led by French Admiral Bruny d'Entrecasteaux. Commanding the ships LA RECHERCHE and L'ESPERANCE, d'Entrecasteaux combined hydrographic survey work (particularly in Tasmania and the Recherche Archipelago in Western Australia) with the search for the missing La Perouse expedition in the Pacific.
    SignificanceThis account provides details of the natural history and ethnography of the countries visited on the expedition, including extensive information about Aboriginal lifeways as well as on the flora and fauna of Australia.
    HistoryFrom 1791 to 1793 Jacques Labillardiere was botanist on the expedition commanded by Admiral Joseph-Antoine Bruny d'Entrecasteaux sent to search for the missing French explorer La Perouse. The expedition was also ordered to conduct scientific work and surveys of the countries they visited.

    Stopping briefly at the Cape of Good Hope, the expedition's two ships RECHERCHE and ESPERANCE continued to southern Tasmania. During the following years d'Entrecasteaux searched the western Pacific - actually sighting Vanikoro Island in the Solomons (where La Perouse's ships were wrecked) but not stopping there.

    This was the second time in as many years that a European vessel had come close to finding traces of La Perouse's missing ships; HMS PANDORA had sailed past Vanikoro in August 1791 during their search for the 'pirated' BOUNTY. Although plumes of smoke were detected, they did not bother to investigate these obvious signs of habitation.

    Although he was unable to locate the missing ships during the expedition d'Entrecasteaux conducted important scientific research and exploration of the Pacific, western Australia and Tasmania. However by 1793 many of the ship's crew were sick and dying including d'Entrecasteaux who died of scurvy in July. The remaining expedition sailed to Surabaya in the Dutch East Indies where they learnt the French King had been executed and the newly formed Republic of France was at war. At the time many of the expedition papers were captured by the British.

    Jacques Labillardiere returned to France in 1796 and his 'Voyage in search of La Perouse' detailing the d'Entrecasteaux expedition was first published in 1800. It offers an account of the natural history and ethnography of the countries d'Entrecasteaux visited. In 1804-1807 Labillardiere also published 'Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen', the most comprehensive account of the Australian flora to that time.


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