Written Records

As well as the official published account, the Voyage de découvertes aux Terres Australes, numerous documents have left a tangible written trace of the Baudin expedition. These include the journals kept by the officers and scientists who sailed on the ships, the letters they wrote or received, and a variety of other texts such as scientific notes and observations or reports on the places visited. For the first time, researchers and others interested in the Baudin expedition have access to these texts in electronic form. They are available in the original French and English translations will progressively be added to the site as they become available.

Most of the original manuscripts are held in institutional collections, primarily in France. Very few have been published, though a considerable number were transcribed by Madame Robert Hélouis at the beginning of the 20th century for the Public Library of New South Wales. The historian Sir Ernest Scott and Sir William Dixon also commissioned transcripts. The Hélouis Transcripts are now held in the Mitchell Library at the State Library of New South Wales and in the National Library of Australia.

In 1959 and 1960, Phyllis Mander-Jones, representing the Public Library of New South Wales in London, visited the Museum of Natural History in Le Havre, where she obtained microfilm copies of select scientific reports, and commissioned copies of some of Lesueur's artwork by the celebrated Australian photographer Axel Poignant. In 1963, the archivist Brian Baldwin, supported by the National Archives in Paris and by the State Library of South Australia, made the first complete copy of the principal journals and correspondence of the Baudin expedition. Copies of these 36 microfilms are now held in state libraries around the country.