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France and Australia. The "prise de possession." A new chapter in our early history


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Dunbabin, Thomas (1921) France and Australia. The "prise de possession." A new chapter in our early history. Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania. pp. 147-155.

dunbabin-france...pdf | Download (613kB)
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


When Ernest Scott, Professor of History in the University
of Melbourne, was working on his Life of Flinders,
he employed a copyist to obtain material from the Paris
archives. The copyist found so much about Australia that
the charges mounted very high. So Professor Scott pointed
out to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library and the
Mitchell Library that they ought to have copies of these
valuable historical documents. The authorities agreed, and
the cost of Professor Scott's material was one-third of what
it would otherwise have been.
This partial overhaul of the Paris archives by an intelligent
copyist has thrown a flood of light on the early
relations of France and Australia. An examination of the
papers in the Commonwealth Library, made by the courtesy
of the Speaker, reveals the hitherto unpublished fact that
a French expedition did, in 1772, take formal possession of
Western Australia. It is not in France alone that material may be found.
Hidden away in some dusty corner in Portugal, Spain, or
possibly Holland, there may be documents which upset accepted
ideas about the obscure but fascinating subject of
early exploration in Australasian regions.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, Van Diemens Land, VDL, Hobart Town, natural sciences, proceedings, records
Journal or Publication Title: Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Page Range: pp. 147-155
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Additional Information:

In 1843 the Horticultural and Botanical Society of Van Diemen's Land was founded and became the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science in 1844. In 1855 its name changed to Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science. In 1911 the name was shortened to Royal Society of Tasmania.

Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2012 04:18
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 00:59
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