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    Re: The lost expedition of La Perouse
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2005 Jun 8, 15:12 +1000

    > From: Frank Reed
    > The French once upon a time had a claim to Australia following the
    > explorations of Jean-Francois de Galaud, Comte de La Perouse in the 1780s,
    I don?t think so! What have you been smoking Frank? La Perouse turned up in
    Botany Bay, following Cook who made one of only two landings in Australia
    there, only a few days after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.
    Although Britain and France had been at war not long before, and were
    shortly to be at each other?s throats again, relations between the two
    expeditions were cordial. However, la Perouse was definitely too late there
    to be making any territorial claims and never did so. This was the last news
    of him, carried back to Europe some time later by the British.
    Louis XVI was very interested in this expedition. On the steps of the
    guillotine he paused and asked:
    ? Y?a-t-il, au moins, des nouvelles de Monsieur de la Perouse?
    (Is there, at least, any news of Monsieur de la Perouse?)
    213 years later we anchored for a night in the very same place in our little
    sloop, on our way further to the south. The suburb is still known as La
    Perouse, now part of the urban sprawl of Sydney. The airport runways are not
    far away.
    The revolution was a great and lasting disaster for France, as revolutions
    are wont to be. It wasn?t until they had, to some extent, recovered from it
    that they were again to make forays into the Pacific. They were sniffing
    around the southern coast of Australia but it came to nothing. It wasn?t
    until the mid nineteenth century that they secured places like New Caledonia
    and Tahiti as colonies.

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