Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

Laperouse and the loss of the Astrolabe and the Boussole (178

Author/s M. Stanbury (ed.)

Year of publication 2004

Report Number: No. 8

In 1788, the two ships of the French scientific and exploratory expedition led by Laperouse. the Aslrolabe and Boussole, were lost without trace. For many years, their disappearance remained a mystery, no members of the expedition ever having been found to relate their experiences after the ships departed from Botany Bay on 10 March 1788. This publication gives a brief biographical sketch of the French commander, his naval exploits and preparation for a major French voyage of exploration to challenge the successful voyages of CaptainsJarncs Cook and Phillip Carteret. Events pertaining to the expedition, up to the departure from Botany Bay, are well documented in contemporary accounts based on historical records, and these are summarised to provide a background to the archaeological reports. So too, the various accounts and theories concerning the discoveries of French relics among the Polynesian inhahitants of Tikopia, and evidence of two shipwrecks on the reefs off the soutll-west coast of Vanikoro, SolomoIslands.