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Blog post from Friday, 7 August, 2015

On this day, 7th August 1779, Louis Claude de Saulces de Freycinet, the French naval officer and cartographer who explored parts of Australia and islands in the Pacific Ocean, was born..

In 1800 he joined Captain Nicholas Baudin on a voyage of exploration to Australia and Tasmania. After his return to Paris in 1804, he completed an account of this expedition, Voyage de découvertes aux terres australes (1807; “Voyage of Discovery to Southern Lands”), for which he also drew maps.

In 1817 he took command of l’Uranie to conduct magnetic and oceanographic research in the Pacific. His wife, Rose, disguised as a sailor, was smuggled aboard and accompanied the voyage, which she described in a journal published in 1827. (Original held in the State Library of New South Wales)

On the return voyage from Sydney to France, via Cape Horn, l’Uranie was wrecked in the Falkland Islands, but the scientific data and specimens aboard were saved. Freycinet purchased an American whaler, renamed la Physicienne, and in it returned to France.

Read more in our feature on French exploration in Discover Collections

The State Library of New South Wales holds editions of Voyage de découvertes aux terres australes : fait par ordre du gouvernement, sur les corvettes le Géographe, le Naturaliste, et la goëlette le Casuarina, pendant les années 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803, et 1804 : historique / rédigé par Péron et continué par M. Louis de Freycinet.

These images have been digitised from the 2nd edition, provided for research purposes only and must not be reproduced without the prior permission of the State Library of NSW.