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Nicolas-Thomas Baudin (17 February 1754 – 16 September 1803) was a Frenchmarker explorer, cartographer, naturalist and hydrographer.

Baudin was born a communer in Saint-Martin-de-Rémarker on the Île de Rémarker. At the age of fifteen he joined the merchant navy, and at twenty joined the French East India Company. He then joined the French navy and served in the Caribbeanmarker as an officer bleu during the American War of Independence. In 1785 Baudin was captain of the Caroline taking emigrants to New Orleansmarker. After the war he captained ships transporting Austrianmarker botanists to the Indian Oceanmarker and the Pacificmarker, and slaves from Mozambiquemarker. During this time Baudin learnt about botany and how to keep plants and animals alive on board ship.

In 1791 France declared war on Austria and Baudin tried unsuccessfully to rejoin the French navy. He returned to France in 1795 and visited Antoine de Jussieu at the Museum National d'Histoire Naturellemarker to suggest a botanical voyage to the Caribbean. This voyage was a success, and Baudin returned to France with a large collection of plants, birds and insects.

In October 1800 he was selected to lead what has become known as the Baudin expedition to map the coast of Australia. He had two ships, Géographe and Naturaliste captained by Hamelin, and was accompanied by nine zoologists and botanists, including Jean Baptiste Leschenault de la Tour. He reached Australia in May 1801, and in April 1802 met Matthew Flinders, also engaged in charting the coastline, in Encounter Baymarker. Baudin then stopped at the British colony at Sydneymarker for supplies. In Sydney he bought a new ship — Casuarina — named after the wood it was made from. From there he sent home Naturaliste, which had on board all of the specimens that had been discovered by Baudin and his crew. He then headed for Tasmaniamarker, before continuing north to Timormarker. Two of his ships named Jardinière, were lost in shipwrecks, one in the Pacific and the other in Port Louismarker harbour during a hurricane.

Baudin then sailed for home, stopping at Mauritiusmarker, where he died of tuberculosis, otherwise known as "TB".

A number of monuments have been established around Australia, including eight at various locations around Western Australia [48131]. Baudin Beachmarker on Kangaroo Islandmarker, South Australiamarker was named in his honour.

Further reading

  • Bonnemains, J., Forsyth, E. and Smith, B. Baudin in Australian Waters: The Artwork of the French Voyage of Discovery to the Southern Lands 1800—1804 With a Descriptive Catalogue of Drawings and Paintings of Australian Subjects by C. –A. Lesueur and N.-M. Petit from the Lesueur Collection at the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, Le Havre, France, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1988.


  • Bonnemains, J., Argentin, J.-M. and Marin, M. (eds) Mon voyage aux Terres Australes: Journal personnel du commandant Baudin, Éditions Imprimerie Nationale, Paris, 2000.


  • Bouvier, R. & Maynial, E. Une Aventure dans les Mers Australes: L’Expédition du Commandant Baudin (1800—1803), Mercure de France, Paris, 1947.


  • Brown, A. J. Ill-starred Captains: Flinders and Baudin, Crawford House, Adelaide, 2000.


  • Cornel, C. (trans.) The Journal of Post Captain Nicolas Baudin, Adelaide, 1974.


  • Duyker, E. ‘In Search of Madame Kerivel and Baudin’s Last Resting Place’, National Library of Australia News, vol. IX, no. 12, September 1999, pp. 8—10.


  • Duyker, E. François Péron: An Impetuous Life: Naturalist and Voyager, Miegunyah/Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2006, ISBN 978 0522 85260 8.


  • Fornasiero, Jean; Monteath, Peter and West-Sooby, John. Encountering Terra Australis: the Australian voyages of Nicholas Baudin and Matthew Flinders, Kent Town, South Australia,Wakefield Press,2004. ISBN 1-86254-625-8


  • Horner, F. The French Reconnaissance: Baudin in Australia 1801—1803, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1987 ISBN 0522843395.


  • Ly-Tio-Fane, Madeleine, Le Géographe et Le Naturaliste à L’Ile-de-France 1801, 1803, Ultime Escale du Captaine Baudin: Deuxième Partie, Le Voyage de Découvertes aux Terres australes, Collection Lesueur du Muséum d’histoire naturelle du Havre, Dossier 15: Catalogue établi Jacqueline Bonnemains commenté par Madeleine Ly-Tio-fane, MSM Limited, Port Louis, 2003 [Mauritius].
  • Nicolas Baudin's Scientific Expedition To The Terres Australes by Steve Reynolds - Marine Life Society of South Australia Inc.


  • Plomley, B. The Baudin Expedition and the Tasmanian Aborigines 1802, Blubber Head Press, Hobart, 1983


  • Toft, Klaus The Navigators - Flinders vs Baudin, Sydney, Duffy and Snellgrove, 2002. ISBN 1-876631-60-0


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