Freycinet Collection

Louis-Claude Desaulces de Freycinet was born in 1779 at Montélimar France and joined the navy in 1793. He sailed on the French scientific expedition headed by Captain Nicholas Baudin on 19 October 1800 in Le Naturaliste as a cartographer-surveyor. During the course of the expedition he surveyed the Western Australian coast from Geographe Bay to Shark Bay. He returned to France on 25 March 1804.

Image: Drawing of a bird's nest found on Dirk Hartog's Island, September 1818

On 17 September 1817 Freycinet sailed from Toulon in L'Uranie with his wife Rose, who secreted herself aboard. During the course of this expedition he surveyed the Shark Bay area thoroughly. L'Uranie was wrecked on 13 February 1820 on the Falkland Islands, but much of the expedition's scientific work was saved. Freycinet returned to France in November 1820 and died on 18 August 1842.

The collection of 18 items was purchased at auction in London in 2002 from funds raised by the State Library Custodians, adding to the original journal of Paul Gaimard, surgeon and naturalist on L'Uranie, which was purchased in 1988. The collection contains material from Freycinet's two voyages, which were later used in the writing of the official histories and atlases of the Baudin and Freycinet expeditions. Highlights of the collection include:

The Treasure

Further reading

Virtual exhibition on Western Australia’s Freycinet Collection April 2014

Carter, Jennie, 'Stories from the Freycinet Exhibition', Knowit, Jan-Mar 2003, pp. 4-7.
'Historical acquisition for WA', Knowit, Sept-Oct 2002, pp. 4-5.


Please note: The content on this website is made available for archival purposes and may not meet the State Library of Western Australia's current standards for web accessibility, mobile device compatibility, historical accuracy and cultural sensitivity.