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Distillation de l'eau de mer - Installation de l'appareil

Date: 1825
Overall: 435 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00001488
Place Manufactured:Paris

User Terms

    An engraving featuring a technical drawing and location of the sea water distillation plant on the French corvette URANIE which circumnavigated the world between 1817 and 1820 under the command of Louis de Frerycinet.
    An account of the distillation plant was provided by Joseph-Paul Gaimard who was the assistant surgeon aboard the URAINE. In his journal of 1818 he writes:

    "After this change of course, we presumed that we were making for Shark Bay in Endracht’s Land. There is no fresh water in the latter harbour, and so our ironsmiths are busy assembling a still that is to be housed in the battery. It was originally set up in the hold, but the heat was much too great there, and, in any case, there was a more considerable risk of fire. These are doubtless the reasons why our commander has ordered the above-mentioned arrangement. We have every grounds to believe that the still will prove extremely valuable to us at the various places along the New Holland coastline where we may go ashore. I will speak further of it when we have enjoyed the benefits that it promises."

    SignificanceThis engraving is significant as a representation of attempts to overcome the problem of providing good-quality water to the crews of ships engaged in long-distance voyages.
    HistoryLouis de Freycinet was a French naval officer who had participated in the Baudin expedition as the expedition's hydrographer/cartographer. As one of the crew of LE NATURALISTE, he was held in high regard by Captain Baudin and eventually entrusted with the command of one of the expedition's auxillary vessels -the CASUARINA, a 20 ton schooner purchased in Port Jackson- in which de Freycinet was tasked to carry out independent surveys of parts of the southern and western Australian coast during 1803.

    Because of Baudin's death in 1803 de Freycinet collaborated with the naturalist Peron (who had been on board LE GEOGRAPHE as the expedition's principal scientist) on the analysis and presentation of the findings of the Baudin expedition; two volumes and several charts were published between 1807 and 1816.

    On the strength of this work, de Freycinet was promoted to the rank of ''Capitaine de vaisseau'' and offered command of another exploring expedition to complete the objectives of Baudin's original mission in Australian and South Pacific waters.

    In command of the corvette URANIE de Freycinet sailed from Toulon in September 1817 and subsequently spent three years at sea. His expedition explored and charted Shark Bay in Western Australia as well as many islands in the East Indies and Pacific Ocean, including the Moluccan, the Caroline and Mariana islands. The expedition finally put in at Port Jackson in November 1819 before returning home via Cape Horn. The URANIE was wrecked in the Falkland Islands in February 1820.

    De Freycinet's voyage in the URANIE was especially remarkable for the fact that Rose de Freycinet, Louis' wife, accompanied him during the voyage. She had joined the expedition clandestinely, having come on board disguised as the son of one of de Freycinet's officers. A journal kept by Rose de Freycinet survived the shipwreck and was published in the 1930s; an English translation was published by the National Library of Australia in 1996. (A Woman of Courage, translated by Professor Marc Serge Rivière)


    F. Péron and L. Freycinet, Voyage de Decouvertes aux Terres Australes: Exécuté par Ordre de sa Majeste, l’Empereur et Roi, sur les Corvettes le Geographe, le Naturaliste et la Goelette le Casuarina, Pendant les Annees 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803 et 1804, vols 1-2 (Paris, 1807-16)

    L. Freycinet, Voyage Autour du Monde, Entrepris par Ordre du Roi ... Exécuté sur les Corvettes de S. M. l'Uranie et la Physicienne Pendant les Annees 1817, 1818, 1819 et 1820: Historique, vols 1-2 (Paris, 1825)

    Marc Serge Rivière - A Woman of Courage (National Library of Australia ISBN 0 642 10676 2)
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