One of the principal objectives of the Baudin expedition was to chart sections of the Australian coast that were either unknown or only poorly mapped. A large number of detailed maps were thus produced by Baudin’s geographers, Charles-Pierre Boullanger and Pierre Faure, in collaboration with various officers, Joseph Ransonnet, François-Michel Ronsard and, in particular, the brothers Louis and Henri Freycinet. Most notably, this work allowed Louis Freycinet to compile and publish the first complete map of Australia. The map drawn by Matthew Flinders was published three years later, in 1814.

In addition to the maps, numerous coastal profiles were produced as navigational aids for future mariners. These are most likely the work of the young artist Nicolas-Martin Petit, though some plates are signed by his fellow illustrator Charles-Alexandre Lesueur.

Several maps and coastal profiles were published in the Atlas of the official account of the voyage, compiled by François Péron and Louis Freycinet and published as: Voyage de découvertes aux Terres Australes (Voyage of Discovery to the Southern Lands).

The original maps are located in the French National Archives, in Paris. Some of the coastal profiles, namely those representing sections of the coast of Western Australia, were incorporated into Baudin’s fair copy of his journal (published in 2000 by Jacqueline Bonnemains under the title: Mon voyage aux Terres Australes. Journal personnel du commandant Baudin). This document, still with its coastal profiles, is held in the French National Archives. The majority of the coastal profiles are to be found in the Lesueur Collection of the Museum of Natural History in Le Havre, which has undertaken an ambitious project to digitise all of the drawings in its collection. These will progressively be uploaded onto the Museum’s web site at the below links. 

A number of maps and coastal profiles are also featured on the web sites of the following institutions:

Collection Lesueur

National Library of Australia

Bibliothèque nationale de France

Comments or suggestions regarding the maps and coastal profiles are welcome. They should be addressed to: baudin.legacy@sydney.edu.au