Nicole Starbuck is an independent historian who has also tutored in the History Departments of Flinders University and the University of Adelaide. She specialises in the late eighteenth to mid-nineteenth-century history of the Europeans in the South Pacific, and is particularly interested in the culture of discovery and cross-cultural contact. 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. In 2009, she completed her PhD thesis entitled Constructing the “Perfect” Voyage: Nicolas Baudin at Port Jackson, 1802. The thesis delves into the mechanics and culture of maritime exploration and provides insight into the character and ambition of Baudin himself through a close analysis of the expedition’s five-month stay in colonial New South Wales. It closely examines Baudin’s manner of command, his relations with the English, his supervision of the expedition’s scientific work, his preparations for the second campaign, and the role that this pivotal episode played in the French 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 Port Jackson stay, 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. West-Sooby & J. Fornasiero (eds), François Péron and the Figure of the Scientific Voyager, Mile End, Wakefield Press, 2020, forthcoming.

“Science for Science’s Sake?”, in 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.

“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.

“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.