La Perouse Memorial

La Perouse Memorial, La Perouse, Sydney, AustraliaThe La Perouse Memorial is located at Botany Bay in New South Wales and was built in honour of Jean-Francois de Galaup de La Perouse (1741-1788) a French naval officer and explorer. La Perouse had arrived at Botany Bay shortly after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 on a scientific voyage.

La Perouse (1741-1788)

La Perouse attended Naval College in Brest (France) at the age of fifteen, before becoming an Ensign and then Capitaine de Vaisseau. In his distinquished naval career, La Perouse had paticipated in several sea battles and had seen service in North America and the West Indies.

Expedition of the Pacific Ocean

In 1785 La Perouse was placed in charge of the expedition to explore the Pacific Ocean. He set off from France in the two storeships Portefaix and Autruche for an expected 4 year expedition. The ships were upgraded to frigates after modification and were renamed, which was probably not a good idea if you believe superstitions. The Portefaix was renamed La Boussole and the Autruche was renamed L'Astrolabe. La Prouse sailed on the Boussole which was 135 feet (41.15m) long, 28.7 feet (8.75m) wide and weighed between 500-600 tons. Several small boats were on each ship. Paul Antoine Marie Fleuriot de Langle was the captain of the other ship Astrolabe. Aboard the ships were several scientists whose roles were to cover subjects such as astronomy, geology and botany A few artists and a cartographer were also on aboard to record and draw.

La Perouse and His Ships Vanish

On the 26th of January 1788, two years into the journey, La Perouse arrived in Botany Bay (Australia). He had arrived only days after the arrival of Captain Phillips and the First Fleet. Ill equipped to stage a sea battle, La Prouse and his crew stayed on for another six weeks observing the establishment of the new colony and exploring the area around Botany Bay before continuing their expedition to the south pacific. It was the last time La Perouse, the ships or the crew would be seen of again. Despite attempts by Laperouse's wife and friends to organise a ship to search for the expedition it was to be in 1827 before the fate of the ship and crew would be known. In 1827 the wreckage of the ships were found by Peter Dillion near the Santa Cruz Islands.

A small suburb known as La Perouse near Phillip Bay was named in honour of the French explorer.