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As part of the National Trust Festival the Friends of the Laperouse Museum sponsored a tour of historic sites on the La Perouse Headland. The walk and morning tea discussion was called Explorers of the Southern Skies in Botany Bay and interpreted the importance of Astronomy to the expeditions of Cook and Laperouse.  Napoleon had an unexpected connection with the history of astronomy in Australia. When at the Ecole Militaire, he applied to go to on the Laperouse expedition. Napoleon was a pupil of Dagelet. Alexander Jean des Mazis, one of Napoleon’s friends at the school, wrote about Napoleon’s application. ’Buonaparte would have liked the opportunity of displaying his energy in such a fine enterprise as an assistant astronomer.’ Napoleon made the short list but not the final which was drawn up by Condorcet, Jussieu and Buffon.  Darbaud was the only pupil of Dagelet to be selected.  Although Napoleon did not visit Australia he did maintain an interest and when appointed First Consul  commissioned the Baudin expedition. Link to letter written by Dagelet to William Dawes.

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