A New History of the French Scientific Voyage to Australia (1800-1804)

The aim of the Baudin Legacy project is to establish the importance of the Baudin expedition in the history of early European contact with Australia and its place in French/Australian history. It was conceived during the conference of the Australian Society for French Studies in 2002 in Sydney which celebrated the bicentenary of the visit of the Baudin expedition to that city. At that time Professor Margaret Sankey from the University of Sydney, Professor Jean Fornasiero and Associate Professor John West-Sooby from the University of Adelaide, and Professor Michel Jangoux from the Université libre de Bruxelles, decided to work together to make the writings generated by the expedition more visible to other scholars, as well as working themselves on various aspects of the expedition in order to highlight the importance of the scientific material, little recognised in the two centuries since the expedition's voyage to Australia. Dr Nicole Starbuck, of the University of Adelaide, completed a PhD in the context of the project.

The Baudin Legacy project was funded in Australia through an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant and in Belgium from the National Funding for Scientific Research (Fonds national de la recherche scientifique [FNRS]). The five year project commenced in 2005, with its primary aim being to provide an online archive and reference guide, accessible to all those interested in the Baudin expedition and French exploration in general. Thus the core of this online archive, the Baudin Legacy website, comprises the French transcriptions and the English translations of the writings generated by the expedition: the journals of Baudin, his officers, scientists and crew. This is supported by an iconographical archive and other reference tools such as archival sources, library holdings and bibliographies. Not all of the items listed in our menus were ready at the time the website went online, but material will be progressively posted on site as it becomes available.

The project's website has been supported by the Embassy of France in Australia. The project has entered into a collaboration with the State Library of NSW and is supported by the Australian National Maritime Museum. In France, the project's research is supported by the Muséum d'histoire naturelle du Havre the Archives Nationales de France and the Bibliothèque centrale du Muséum national d'histoire naturelle.