The Baudin Expedition left France in 1800, the largest scientific expedition ever to leave Europe. On board were the zoologist Francois Peron, the artists Charles-Alexandre Lesueur and Nicolas-Martin Petit as well as astronomers, geographers, botanists, zoologists, mineralogists, gardeners and a pharmacist.
Napoleon was keen for the expedition to succeed, to bring glory to revolutionary France. Also the newly formed "Society for the Observation of Man" in Paris wanted to research indigenous people, the real beginnings of anthropology; and Napoleon's consort Josephine wanted to stock her garden at Malmaison with exotic flora and fauna!
Two young naval officers, Louis and Henri Freycinet were also on board, and the Peninsula, and now National Park, is named after them, although it was Faure and Bailly on their longboat voyage who made the discovery.
The journals, exquisite artworks and maps of this expedition provide us with a unique window through which to view this area and its indigenous people pre-settlement.
The original From France to Freycinet Festival was held in 2002 to commemorate the bicentenary of the visit of the Baudin expedition to our shores. Our fifth Festival in 2010 focuses on the natural history and anthropology of the Tasmanian East Coast to honour the zoologist Francois Peron who died in 1810.
The explanation of the many French names bequeathed to us by this expedition, and still used today, is truly fascinating, and can be discovered in the second edition of the booklet "From France to Freycinet - the background to the French names on the East Coast of Tasmania" available from book stores, local businesses or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition a visit to the permanent From France to Freycinet Exhibition at The Swansea Barkmill will enable you to see some of the artwork, read much of the background and get a real feel of the history of the Exploration.
A visit on line to the Museum of Natural History Le Havre - Collection Lesueur (Curator Gabrielle Baglione) will give access to a wonderful range of Lesueur's art work.
The French Reconnaisance-Baudin in Australia 1801-1803, Frank Horner (also in French translated by Mme Martine Marin, president of the "Friends of Nicolas Baudin" in Paris)
Baudin in Australian Waters, edited Jacqueline Bonnemains et al
The Baudin Expedition and Tasmanian Aborigines, N J B Plomley
The Journal of Post Captain Nicolas Baudin, Libraries Board of SA
Ill Starred Captains Flinders and Baudin, Anthony J Brown
Baudin's Last Breath, Victor Barker
The Navigators, Victor Barker
Encountering Terra Australis, Jean Fornasiero et al
Francois Peron, an impetuous life, Edward Duyker