Baudin expedition to Australia
The Baudin expedition of 1800 to 1803 was a French expedition to map the coast of Australia. Nicolas Baudin was selected as leader in October 1800. The expedition started with two ships, Géographe, captained by Baudin, and Naturaliste captained by Jacques Hamelin, and was accompanied by nine zoologists and botanists, including Jean-Baptiste Leschenault de la Tour, François Péron and Charles-Alexandre Lesueur.
In 1801 Nicolas Baudin reached Australia. He discovered part of the southern coast and was the first to discover the western coast A lot of Western Australian places still have French names today from Baudin's expedition (Peron Peninsula, Depuch Island, Cape Levillain, Boullanger Island and Faure Island); the Australian plant genus Guichenotia honours the name of Antoine Guichenot.
In April 1802 they encountered the British ship Investigator captained by Matthew Flinders, also engaged in charting the coastline, in Encounter Bay in what is now South Australia. They later stopped at the British colony of Sydney for supplies.
From Sydney, the expedition headed to Tasmania, before continuing north to Timor. On their way home the ships stopped in Mauritius, where Baudin died of tuberculosis. The expedition finally came back to France in 1804.
The French had peaceful relationships with all Aboriginal peoples they met. They notably produced precious ethnological studies of Tasmanian Aboriginals, who were decimated following the British colonization of Tasmania early in 19th century.
An inscription on a rock was left by members of Géographe on Kangaroo Island, Australia, in 1803. The inscription reads, “Expédition de découverte par le commendant Baudin sur le Géographe, 1803”, i.e. “Expedition of discovery by Captain Baudin in the Géographe, 1803”. To protect it from erosion, the original rock is now housed at the Gateway Visitor Information Centre on Howard Drive, Penneshaw.
Officers and sailors
Scientists and artists
A total of twenty four various scientists and artists including five gardeners accompanied Baudin on the expedition. It was an unprecedented number to be assembled for a voyage at the time, which was probably not surpassed until the Harriman Alaska Expedition almost one hundred years later. However, after only six months at sea, and before reaching Australia, ten of the group were disembarked at Mauritius mainly due to illness. Subsequently, five others died. In fact, only six of the original group of scientists and artists would complete the journey home.
|Bernier, Pierre-François||Astronomer||Died at sea, 6 June 1803|
|Bissy, Frédéric||Astronomer||Left ship at Mauritius due to illness, 25 April 1801|
|Caguet, François||Gardener||Disembarked at Mauritius, 20 April 1801|
|Delisse, Jacques||Botanist||Left ship at Mauritius due to illness, 25 April 1801|
|Depuch, Louis||Mineralogist||Left ship at Mauritius due to illness, 3 February 1803, where he died some days later|
|Dumont, Désiré||Zoologist||Left ship at Mauritius due to illness, 25 April 1801|
|Faure, Pierre||Geographer||Disembarked at Mauritius, 15 December 1803|
|Garnier, Michel||Painter (de genre)||Left ship at Mauritius due to illness, 25 April 1801|
|La Tour, Jean-Baptiste Leschenault de||Botanist||Left ship at Timor due to illness, 2 June 1803|
|Lebrun, Louis||Technical draughtsman
|Left ship at Mauritius due to illness, 25 April 1801|
|Lesueur, Charles-Alexandre||Painter (natural history)|
|Levillain, Stanislas||Zoologist||Died at sea, 29 December 1801|
|Mauge, René||Zoologist||Died at Maria Island, 21 February 1802|
|Merlot||Gardener||Disembarked at Mauritius, 20 April 1801|
|Michaux, André||Botanist||Disembarked at Mauritius, 20 April 1801|
|Milbert, Jacques||Painter (landscape)||Left ship at Mauritius due to illness, 25 April 1801|
|Petit, Nicolas-Martin||Painter (de genre)|
|Riedlé, Anselme||Gardener (Chief)||Died at Timor, 21 October 1801|
|Saint-Vincent, Bory de||Zoologist||Left ship at Mauritius due to illness, 25 April 1801|
|Sautier, Antoine||Gardener||Died at sea, 15 November 1801|
- François Péron, Voyage de découvertes aux terres australes (‘Voyage of Discovery to the Southern Lands’, three volumes, Paris, 1807–1816)
- Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot, Nouveau dictionnaire d'histoire naturelle (‘New Dictionary of Natural History’, 1816–1819): new bird species described
- Jacques Labillardière, Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen (‘Specimens of the Plants of New Holland’, 1804–1806)
Over 200,000 specimens from the expedition were deposited in Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (zoology) and Jardin des Plantes (botany). Live plants, animals and birds were also sent to Empress Josephine Bonaparte's gardens at Château de Malmaison.
- M.L. Freycinet, Carte Générale de la Nouvelle Hollande dressée par M. L. Freycinet Commandant de la Goëllette le Casuarina, An 1808. Louis Freycinet, Atlas Historique, Paris, 1811. 
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- Brian Plomley, "The French in D'Entrecasteaux Channel, 1802", Tasmanian Tramp, no.24, 1982/ 1983, pp. 17–27.
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