The Baudin Legacy Project

A New History of the French Scientific Voyage to Australia (1800-1804)

A New History of the French Scientific Voyage to Australia (1800-1804)

The project was conceived during the conference of the Australian Society for French Studies in 2002 in Sydney which celebrated the bicentenary of the visit of the Baudin expedition to that city. At that time Professor Margaret Sankey from the University of Sydney, Professor Jean Fornasiero and Professor John West-Sooby from the University of Adelaide, and Professor Michel Jangoux from the Université libre de Bruxelles, decided to work together to make the writings generated by the expedition more visible to other scholars. They have also continued to conduct their own research on the voyage in order to highlight the importance of the scientific material which was collected by Baudin, his scientists and officers, and which has been little recognised in the two centuries since the expedition’s voyage to Australia.

During the course of the project, two other scholars were recruited into the project team:

Dr Nicole Starbuck, of the University of Adelaide, completed a PhD in the context of the project and continues to research and publish in the field.

Dr Jennifer Genion, of the University of Sydney, was the project’s administrative assistant and research officer during its funding phase (2005-2009). She oversaw the transcription and translation of the journals, the preparation and distribution of the project newsletters, and the development of the website. She conducted extensive bibliographical research, documenting the holdings of the Australian Museum Research Library, the NSW State Reference Library, the Mitchell Library and the Dixson collection.

The Baudin Legacy project was funded in Australia through an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant and in Belgium from the National Funding for Scientific Research (Fonds national de la recherche scientifique [FNRS]). The five year project commenced in 2005, with its primary aim being to provide an online archive and reference guide, accessible to all those interested in the Baudin expedition and in French exploration in general. Thus the core of this online archive, the Baudin Legacy website, comprises the French transcriptions and the English translations of the writings generated by the expedition: the journals of Baudin, his officers, scientists and crew. This is supported by an iconographical archive and other reference tools such as archival sources, library holdings and bibliographies. Not all of the items listed in our menus were ready at the time the website went online, but material continues to be posted on site as it becomes available.

The project’s website has been supported by the Embassy of France in Australia. The project has entered into a partnership with the State Library of NSW and is supported by the Australian National Maritime Museum. In France, the project’s research is supported by the Muséum d’histoire naturelle du Havre the Archives Nationales de France and the Bibliothèque centrale du Muséum national d’histoire naturelle.