Nicole Starbuck is currently an adjunct academic at Flinders University, after serving as a lecturer at the University of Adelaide, Department of History. She specialises in the late eighteenth- to early nineteenth-century French histories of anthropology and exploration in the South Pacific. In 2006 she was awarded a research scholarship by the Baudin Legacy Project to prepare a PhD at the University of Adelaide, under the supervision of Jean Fornasiero, John West-Sooby, and Margaret Sankey. Nicole Starbuck was awarded a Norman McCann Summer Scholarship at the National Library of Australia in 2007. She completed her PhD thesis, entitled Constructing the “Perfect” Voyage: Nicolas Baudin at Port Jackson, 1802 in 2009. The thesis delves into the nature of maritime exploration during the era of Bonaparte through a close analysis of the expedition’s five-month stay in colonial New South Wales. It examines the French-English relations, the expedition’s scientific work, the reconstruction of the expedition for its second campaign, and the contribution of this episode to the results of the voyage. In 2013, this research was redeveloped and published as a book entitled Baudin, Napoleon and the Exploration of Australia by Pickering & Chatto.

Based on her research concerning the Baudin expedition, Nicole has also presented papers at interstate and international conferences, including the conference held at the Royal Academy of Brussels in September 2009.

Publications on the Baudin expedition


Baudin, Napoleon and the Exploration of Australia, London, Pickering & Chatto, 2013.

Articles and Chapters

“Louis Freycinet at Port Jackson: ‘Race’, Colonialism, and the Figure of the French Scientific Traveller, 1802-1839”, in J. Fornasiero & J. West-Sooby (eds), ‘Roaming freely through the universe’: Nicolas Baudin’s voyage to Australia and the pursuit of science, Mile End, Wakefield Press, 2021, pp. 302-317.

“The Baudin Expedition and the Aborigines of ‘Botany Bay’: Colonial Ethnography in the Era of Bonaparte”, Zeitschrift für Australienstudien / Australian Studies Journal, 32, 2018, pp. 29–43.

“Ritual Encounters of the ‘Savage’ and the Citizen: French Revolutionary Ethnographers in Oceania, 1768-1803”, in M. Bailey & K. Barclay (eds), Emotion, Ritual and Power in Europe, 1200-1920: Family, State and Church, Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2017, pp. 123-143.

“Entre exploration, observation et régénération: regards croisés de voyageurs sur les familles françaises et exotiques sous la Révolution Française”, in Jean-Luc Chappey & Maria-Pia Donato (eds),  “Voyages, voyageurs et mutations des savoirs entre Révolution et Empire”, Annales historiques de la Révolution française, 385, 3, 2016, pp. 167-186. Also published in English as: “Exploration, observation and regeneration: Voyagers’ perceptions of French and Tasmanian families during the French Revolution”, Annales historiques de la Révolution française, 385, 3, 2016, pp. 178-198.

“Science for Science’s Sake?”, in J. Fornasiero, L. Lawton & J. West-Sooby (eds), The Art of Science: Nicolas Baudin’s Voyagers 1800-1804, Mile End, Wakefield Press, 2016, p. 97.

“‘Naturally fearful’: emotion, race and French-Papuan Encounters, 1818–30”, The Journal of Pacific History, 51, 4, 2016, pp. 357-374.

“’Race’, intimacy and go-betweens in French-West Papuan encounters”, in T. Shellam, Nugent, S. Konishi & A. Cadzow (eds), Brokers and Boundaries: Colonial Exploration in Indigenous Territory, Canberra, ANU Press, 2016, pp. 39-60.

“Colonial Vision: French voyager-artists, Aboriginal subjects and the British colony at Port Jackson”, in N. Edwards, B. McCann & P. Poiana (eds), Framing French Culture, Adelaide, Adelaide University Press, 2015, pp. 29-52.

“Neither civilized nor savage: the Aborigines of colonial Port Jackson, through French eyes, 1802”, in A. Cook, N. Curthoys & S. Konishi (eds), Representing Humanity in the age of Enlightenment, London, Pickering & Chatto, 2013, pp. 123-133.

“Primitive Race, ‘Pure Race’, ‘Brown Race’, ‘Every Race’: Freycinet’s understanding of Human Difference in Oceania”, in J. West-Sooby (ed.), Discovery and Empire: the French in the South Seas, Adelaide, University of Adelaide Press, 2013, pp. 215-244.

“The Colonial Field:  Science, Sydney and the Baudin expedition (1802)”, The French Australian Review, 52, June 2012, pp. 3-35.

“Nicolas Baudin. La relâche à Sydney et la deuxième campagne du Géographe“, in M. Jangoux (ed.), Portés par l’air du temps, les voyages de Nicolas Baudin, special number of Etudes sur le XVIIIe siècle, 38, 2010, pp. 133-144.

“Sir Joseph Banks and the Baudin expedition: exploring the politics of the Republic of Letters”, History and Civilization: Papers from the George Rudé Seminar, 3, 2009, pp. 56-69.


“French Designs on Colonial New South Wales: François Péron’s memoir on the English settlements in New Holland, Van Diemen’s Land and the archipelagos of the great Pacific Ocean”, The Journal of Pacific History, 50, 3, 2015, pp. 374-375.

“Science, Voyages, and Encounters in Oceania, 1511-1850”, Transfers – Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies, 5, 2, 2015, pp. 143-144.

“Anglo-French Rivalry in Australian History”, History Australia, 10, 3, 2013, p. 277.