by P Patrick Llewellyn
Ended on July 15th 2018
Since 2015 the founders of the Institut Nicolas Baudin, Alizée Chasse and Patrick Llewellyn, have been working on Terre Australe, a trilogy of books that relates the expeditions of Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders to Australia in the early 1800s. While conducting their research, the authors discovered at the French National Library a totally new and forgotten map that is absolutely fundamental to the history of Australia.
So what’s it all about?
If you look on a modern map of Australia you will find no fewer than 450 place-names of French origin! It all started in Paris in 1811 during the reign of Napoleon when the charts of the Baudin expedition were published in the form of an atlas. These were the first complete maps of Australia’s coastline. Subsequently, and somewhat controversially, many of the original French toponyms were replaced with English ones. In 1910, one hundred years after the publication of Baudin’s atlas and the year Australia selected Canberra as its federal capital, this cartographical slight was in some measure corrected when Alphonse de Fleurieu, a descendant of the man who organized the Baudin expedition, travelled to Australia to lobby for the restoration of numerous French names. He took with him a map, drawn by his own hand, which indicated in red the place-names he hoped to restore—and his efforts did not go unrewarded. This precious document was transferred to the French National Library archives in 1912 and hasn’t been displayed in public since.
The Institut Nicolas Baudin Institute will be presenting the Baudin map in Australia between November 2018 and January 2019.
For the first time ever, a digitized preview of this atlas will go on display in a cycle of free lectures open to the public in Perth/Fremantle, Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Hobart. An exhibition featuring the original maps is scheduled for 2019. This conference tour will build on the presentation and signature tour of the Terre Australe trilogy of books, with the support of the amazing French Books on Wheels. Events include the French-language festivals Bonjour Perth and So Frenchy So Chic. In Sydney and Canberra the map will be displayed alongside the last two remaining marine chronometers of the period. These horological devices were used to calculate longitude and thus ensure the accuracy of charts. One comes from the Baudin expedition, on loan from the Silent World Foundation, and the other from the Flinders expedition, held by the Sydney Observatory.
The discovery of the Baudin map, a fundamental piece of Australian history, deserves to be presented to the widest audience in as many Australian cities as possible. Of course this can only be done with sufficient funding, which we have estimated to be $20,000au. This figure includes costs relating to conference logistics and organization, and an advance on the translation of Terre Australe into English by Graham Maclachlan. By contributing to this fund, you will be helping us release to the world an extraordinary piece of history that illustrates the long-standing bond of friendship between Australia and France!
Here is a full page article published in Le Marin (Groupe Ouest-France) about the preparation of the expeditions of the Institut Nicolas Baudin.
Here is the article that the Petit Journal devoted to us in its Melbourne edition. Don't forget to share our campaign in your social networks, and encourage your friends to make a pledge. https://lepetitjournal.com/melbourne/actualites/une-carte-inedite-bientot-presentee-en-australie-232663