Elaine Forrestal

Who is Jacque Freycinet?

Portrait of Louis de Freycinet who sailed with Baudin and later Commanded the sailing ship Uranie on voyages to Australia

While reading the Review section of The Weekend Australian this morning I was startled to see someone called Jacque Freycinet mentioned – twice – in connection with a book about the French voyages of exploration in the south seas in the early 1800s. I quickly consulted all my own extensive research, plus Google and Wikipedia. There are two very modern Jacques Freycinets, who can be contacted on Facebook, but no Jacques Freycinet in any of the accounts of early voyages by the French to Australia. There are pictures and profiles of Jacques Arago and Louis de Freycinet, who both visited Australia aboard French ships in the early 1800s and who both left behind extensive reports of the time they spent here. I can only conclude that someone has mistakenly rolled these two names together. Whether it is Nicholas Rothwell, who wrote the review, or the two ‘Friends of the State Library of South Australia’ who wrote the book being reviewed, is impossible to say. I will certainly be doing some more digging. I am even tempted to buy the book, although not for a while yet. At $65 in hardback it would definitely blow my budget. The paperback edition is a bit more affordable and, surprisingly, available already. But I’m sure my library will be getting it in.

Meanwhile, if anyone can tell me who Jacque Freycinet, the French scientist and explorer who visited Sydney in the early 1800s really is, I will be very interested.