Voyages to the South Seas recounts the epic journeys of French explorers to Australia and encompasses a remarkable period of French and Australian history, when Australia was France’s Mars and marsupials were her aliens. Australia may have been colonised by England, but for many years, by sheer weight of specimens and scientific documentation, Australia’s biodiversity belonged to France.
Tracing the often-tragic voyages of Bougainville, La Perouse, D’Entrecasteaux, Baudin, Freycinet, d’Urville and others to Australia from 1768 to 1828, Voyages to the South Seas brings to life the changing society that launched these ambitious endeavours and the scientific discoveries they made. It is the story of noble men impoverished by their passion, and nobodies who made their names through physical courage and intellectual achievement. It is the story of the young men who risked their lives for adventure and excitement but, above all, in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. 311 pages HB