European Exploration at Western Port
Plate 23 from 'Voyage de la corvette l'Astrolabe' Vol. 1
J. Dumont D'Urville, author, 1830, Rare Book Collection, Museum Victoria.Contributors
Credits and acknowledgements - Source: Museum Victoria / Author: J. Dumont D'Urville. Reproduced from 'Voyage de la corvette l'Astrolabe : exécuté par ordre du roi, pendant les années 1826, 1827, 1828, 1829, sous le commandement de M. J. Dumont D'Urville, capitaine de vaisseau', Vol. 1, 1830.Copyright
Out of Copyright
In 1797–98, George Bass made some of the earliest recorded sightings of Victorian birds while exploring Western Port. French explorer Jules Sébastien-César Dumont d’Urville visited the Western Port region three decades later, thinking that there was more to see than Bass and others had described.
D’Urville travelled to the Pacific regions, including Australia, on three separate voyages of scientific exploration, visiting Victoria during his second voyage (1826–29), as captain of the Astrolabe. Also on the voyage were the surgeon-naturalist Jean René Constant Quoy and the illustrator and draughtsman Louis Auguste de Sainson.
D’Urville arrived at Western Port on 12 November 1826, noting a variety of seabirds as the Astrolabe approached land. The party ventured out to make observations and collect specimens to take back to France. They collected “richly coloured parrots, chattering honeyeaters, silent cuckoos, large kingfishers with their shrill cries".
Upon his return to France, d’Urville published a lavish volume on his voyage, featuring these illustrations of Australian birds.