The French in Australia

The history of the French in Australia dates from the arrival of the La Perouse expedition at Botany Bay in January 1788, just days after the landing of the First Fleet, and French people have been living in Australia almost ever since.

Louis XVI giving final instructions to the Comte de la Perouse

Louis XVI giving final instructions to the Comte de la Perouse, 1785, by Edouard Nuel
Oil Painting    ML 39

The French who came to Australia after 1788, generally came in search of opportunity or new horizons.

The State Library of New South Wales's collections are rich in the records of early French explorers of Australia and the Pacific region. But these well known tales of imperial adventure and competition are only a small part of the more extensive and enduring story of French association with, and contribution to, Australia.


French in Australia is made possible through a partnership with Sofitel.

Quick Links

French in Australia

The State Library provides a free Information Request Service.

Made possible through a partnership with Sofitel