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LE GEOGRAPHE

Date: c 1990
Dimensions:
Overall: 525 x 635 mm, 5.2 kg
Medium: Bone, brass and wood.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Models
Object Name: Ship model
Object No: 00015464
Place Manufactured:Tarana

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    Description
    This model at a scale of 1:48 represents the French corvette LE GEOGRAPHE. Nicolas Baudin sailed from France in command of LE GEOGRAPHE and LE NATURALISTE on a scientific expedition to Australia in October 1800. In the course of three years he carried out surveys of Australia's coast and collected a wide variety of natural history specimens. The expedition was much handicapped by constant political tensions and Baudin died of tuberculosis while returning to France in 1803. As a result he was unable to defend his reputation and his expedition results were largely overshadowed in the turmoil of Napoleon's planned invasion of England.
    SignificanceThis model represents the French exploration ship LE GEOGRAPHE and highlights its role surveying Australia's coast under Nicolas Baudin. This expedition resulted in the earliest publication of a complete chart of Australia's coastline.
    HistoryGEOGRAPHE was laid down in 1794 as the URANIE, renamed GALATEE in 1799 and launched as GEOGRAPHE on 23 August 1800, a 20-gun 'Serpentine class' corvette of the French Navy. In October 1800 the ship left France under the command of Nicolas Baudin to survey the Australian coastline, returning in 1803. By 1811 it was being used as a prison hulk in L'Orient and soon after was broken up.

    Nicolas Baudin sailed from France in command of the ships GEOGRAPHE and NATURALISTE on a scientific expedition to Australia in October 1800. Apart from the scientific interests of the expedition, Baudin planned to survey parts of the Australian coast - particularly those areas as yet only poorly charted. The great French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville was an influential supporter of the expedition and his son Hyacinthe served as a midshipman aboard the GEOGRAPHE.

    In May 1801 the expedition reached Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia and although Baudin's instructions were to sail south to Tasmania, with winter approaching, he chose instead to start surveying north along the west Australian coast - discovering and naming Geographe Bay in the process. The GEOGRAPHE and NATURALISTE (under the command of Jacques Felix Emmanuel Hamelin) separated and Hamelin undertook a survey of Shark Bay, with the two ships reuniting at Timor.
    In November the expedition sailed south into the Indian Ocean and then east to Tasmania - arriving there in January 1802. Over the next three months the expedition surveyed much of Bass Strait and the south coast of Australia. Baudin's survey coincided with that of Matthew Flinders in the INVESTIGATOR and an encounter between the two men took place on 8 April 1802 in South Australia at a place named (by Flinders) Encounter Bay. The period Baudin spent in Tasmania produced a wealth of new geographic information, and the expedition's scientists collected abundant natural history specimens, and made important records of the indigenous Tasmanians.

    During the survey the GEOGRAPHE and NATURALISTE had acted separately but rendezvoused in Port Jackson in June 1802. At Port Jackson Baudin purchased a smaller vessel, the CASUARINA, to replace the slow and cumbersome NATURALISTE which was then sent home to France; he entrusted command of the CASUARINA to Louis de Freycinet, his surveying officer. Over the following year the expedition surveyed more of Bass Strait, King Georges Sound, and the Australian north coast around Bathurst and Melville islands. In August 1803 the expedition returned to Mauritius where Baudin died on 16 September and Captain Pierre Milius took command.
    Related People
    Model Maker: Michel Laroche

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