La Boussole Cannon


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Cannon 1990 Botany Bay is not unknown to you little gun.

It was with these words that the French Ambassador, M. Roger Duzer, presented the pierrier  from La Boussole to the Laperouse Museum on behalf of Admiral Louzeau (Chief of Staff, French Navy) and the French Fleet in the Pacific. The ceremony, which was attended by crews from the Amiral Charner and La Garonne took place at the monument on Tuesday, 30th January 1990. (Front Page Southern Courier, 6 February 1990).photo 2

The pierrier was displayed in the ‘King’s Instructions’ room until 2008 when it was packed up by the National Parks staff and sent to the Maritime Museum in Paris. (Photo:  Greg Bond with cannon)

It has not been returned.



Boussole_La_Perouse_John_PendrayLeft:  La Boussole by John Pendray, French Navy artist and below:  The first edition of the Friends Newsletter in 1990 with article about the presentation of the cannon and the Wrecks Room as it used to be in the Laperouse Museum and as it is now.  WEB Wrecks Room todayOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Boussole Cannon

Millstone and pulley from L’Astrolabe



WEB Millstone

WEB Wheel







WEB Millstone from L'AstrolabeMillstone from L’Astrolabe, Stone, Retrieved from the shipwreck of L’Astrolabe in Vanikoro by Reece Discombe, 1958.  Weighing approximately 80 kilograms, this stone is the bottom half of the mill which was used for grinding grain to make bread.  The wheel was driven by a windmill on the stern of the boat as the ship sailed.  An iron peg engaged the windmill’s driving mechanism, the rusted remains of which can still be seen on the outside of the wheel.   Donanted by Reece Discombe, 1993.  Acc No. 93.2

L’Astrolabe was under the command of Langle.  In addition to fresh drinking water………………..”another of Langle’s concerns was a workable windmill to provide the flour needed daily for the crews.  Flour perished quickly in the hold and it was soon attacked by rats;  and when the French called at ports run by Europeans, they expected to buy mostly wheat and other grain, and not much flour.   Grinding wheat was a a slow and cumbersome task, difficult to carry out at all when the weather was bad.  Langle saw to the installation of windmills on the poop-deck of each ship. (from Journal of La Perouse trans. John Dunmore, Vol 1:xcviii).

Laperouse Expedition in Carmel, California

 The women are largely employed in household tasks, looking after their children, and roasting and crushing the grain, a very slow, laborious task because their only method is crushing it on a stone with a roller, more or less as is done with chocolate in Europe.  Mr de Langle who witnessed this operation gave his mill to the missionaries, and it would be difficult to render them a greater service;  four women will now do the work of a hundred, and there will be time left to spin the wool of their flocks and manufacture some rough cloth;  but until now the religious, more concerned with the interests of Heaven than with temporal matters, have been very neglectful of the need to introduce the more common crafts;  they are so austere in respect of themselves that they not have a single room with a fireplace even though the winter is quite severe, and the greatest saints have not led a more edifying life.  (from Journal of La Perouse trans. John Dunmore, Vol 1:182)

Lapérouse Day celebrated with launch of Lapérouse Sailing Through the Enlightenment



WEB Nicole and book

On Friday 13th March at the Lapérouse Museum, Randwick City Council hosted dignitaries and Friends for a very special occasion. Lapérouse Day celebrated in March of each year, remembers an extraordinary man and navigator Jean Francois de Galaup, le Comte de Lapérouse. After a 6 week stay in Botany Bay which began on January 26, 1788 Lapérouse left our fateful shore never to be heard of again. We now know that his ships met with a cyclone off the Santa Cruz archipelago, in particular the Island of Vanikoro – modern day Solomon Islands – where the wreckage of ‘La Boussole’ and ‘L’Astrolabe’ have since been found, following a series of French and international expeditions since the 19th century.

In attendance Friday evening were, Deputy Mayor of Randwick City, Councillor Anthony Andrews and Mrs. Samia Andrews, Randwick Councillor Greg Moore,  Councillor Philip Sansom (Hurstville Council), French Consul General to Sydney Mr Eric Berti and Mrs Madaleine Berti, President of the Friends of the Lapérouse Museum Dr William Land AM, Mrs Petula Samios, Member of the La Pérouse Museum & Headland Trust, and representing Thales Group Australia in his capacity as a Member of their Advisory Board, Mr Stephen Loosley AM.

BookThe evening offered the perfect occasion to present to the Museum a booklet entitled Lapérouse Sailing Through the Enlightenment written originally in French by the Parisian novelist Anne Pons, edited by Friends of the Lapérouse Museum Committee Member, Nicole Forrest Green(above).  It depicts the life and journey of Lapérouse and will be offered for sale at 10 a copy. Its publication was made possible due to the generous support of Thales Group Australia, as they celebrate a long tradition of French-Australian maritime history.  The book will be offered for sale at the Museum.
WEB Stephen Loosley  WEB Bill Nicole Eric Anthony WEB Carol Dawn Phillip Abelas WEB Carol WEB Group 3Eric NicoleWEB Councillor Greg Moore WEB Eric and staff WEB Eric Cam Carol WEB Eric Tony WEB Gail and group WEB Greg and MadeleineWEB Eric and children WEB Guests 2WEB Cliff Dawn Phillip WEB Guests WEB Madeleine WEB Tony Eric Ted