Antoine Raymond Joseph de Bruni d'
pronunciation: [ɑ̃twan ʁɛmɔ̃ ʒɔzɛf də bʁyni
dɑ̃tʁəkasto]) (8 November 1737 – 21 July 1793) was a French
naval officer, explorer and colonial governor. He is perhaps best
known for his exploration of the Australian coast in 1792, while
searching for the La Pérouse expedition. Antoine Bruni
Entrecasteaux is commonly referred to simply as Bruni
Entrecasteaux or Bruny d'Entrecasteaux, which is a compound surname
(derived from his father's surname, Bruni and the family's origins in
1 Early career
2 His explorations
3 Australian places with name
4 See also
6 Further reading
7 External links
Entrecasteaux was born to Dorothée de Lestang-Parade and Jean
Baptiste Bruny, at
Aix-en-Provence in 1739. His father was a member of
Parlement of Provence. Antoine Bruni d'
Entrecasteaux was educated
Jesuit school and reportedly intended to become a priest in the
Society of Jesus, but his father intervened and enlisted him in the
French Navy in 1754. In the action that secured the Balearic Islands
Spain (and resulted in the execution of Admiral Byng), Bruni
Entrecasteaux was a midshipman aboard the 26-gun Minerve, and in
April 1757 he was commissioned as an ensign. His further naval career
as a junior officer was uneventful, and he appears in this period to
have done general service in the French Navy.
For a time Bruni d'
Entrecasteaux was Assistant Director of ports and
arsenals, after which (1785) he was transferred to command a French
Squadron in the East Indies. During this service he opened up a new
route to Canton by way of the
Sunda Strait and the Moluccas, for use
during the south-east monsoon season. He was then appointed Governor
of the French colony of Isle de
France (now Mauritius).
The frigates Recherche and Esperance
In September 1791, the French Assembly decided to send an expedition
in search of Jean-François de La Pérouse, who had not been heard of
Botany Bay in March 1788. Bruni d'
selected to command this expedition. He was given a frigate, Recherche
(500 tons), with Lieutenant Jean-Louis d'Hesmity-d'Auribeau as his
second-in-command and Rossel among the other officers. A similar ship,
Espérance, was placed under Jean-Michel Huon de Kermadec, with de
Trobriand as his second-in-command. A distinguished hydrographical
engineer, Beautemps-Beaupré, served as the hydrographer of the
When the expedition left Brest on 28 September 1791,
promoted to the rank of rear-admiral. The plan of the voyage was to
proceed to New Holland (Australia), to sight Cape Leeuwin, then to hug
the shore closely all the way to
Van Diemen's Land
Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania),
inspecting every possible harbour in a rowing boat, and then to sail
Friendly Islands (Tonga) via the northern cape of New Zealand
Félix Delahaye to collect live breadfruit plants
for transport to the French West Indies. D'
Entrecasteaux was next to
follow Pérouse's intended route in the Pacific. It was thought that
La Pérouse had meant to explore
New Caledonia and the Louisiade
Archipelago, to pass through Torres Strait, and to explore the Gulf of
Carpentaria and the northern coast of New Holland.
However, when Bruni d'
Entrecasteaux reached Table Bay,
Cape Town on 17
January 1792, he heard a report that Captain John Hunter (later to be
Governor of New South Wales) had recently seen – off the Admiralty
Islands – canoes manned by natives wearing French uniforms and
belts. Although Hunter denied this report, and although the Frenchmen
heard of the denial, Bruni d'
Entrecasteaux determined to make directly
to the Admiralty Islands, nowadays part of Papua New Guinea, taking
water and refreshing his crew at Van Diemen's Land. On 20 April 1792,
that land was in sight, and three days later the ships anchored in a
harbour, which he named Recherche Bay. For the next five weeks, until
28 May 1792, the Frenchmen carried out careful boat explorations which
revealed in detail the beautiful waterways and estuaries in the area.
Entrecasteaux was fortunate in having good officers and
scientists, most importantly from the exploration point-of-view the
expedition's first hydrographical engineer, C.F Beautemps-Beaupré,
who is now regarded as the father of modern French hydrography. The
work this officer did in the field was excellent, and his charts, when
France as an Atlas du Voyage de Bruny-Dentrecasteaux
(1807) were very detailed. The atlas contains 39 charts, of which
Van Diemen's Land
Van Diemen's Land were the most detailed; they remained the
source of the English charts of the area for many years.
Beautemps-Beaupré, while surveying the coasts with Lieutenant
Crétin, discovered that Adventure Bay, which had been discovered by
Tobias Furneaux in 1773, was on an island which was separated from the
mainland by a fine navigable channel. On 16 May, d'Entrecasteaux
commenced to sail the ships through the channel, and this was
accomplished by the 28th. Port Esperance, the Huon River, and other
features were discovered, named, and charted, the admiral's names
being given to the channel (D'
Entrecasteaux Channel) and the large
island (Bruny Island) separated by it from the mainland.
On 28 May 1792 the ships sailed into the
Pacific to search for La
Pérouse. On 17 June they arrived off the Isle of Pines, south of New
Caledonia. From there, d'
Entrecasteaux sailed northward along the
western coast of New Caledonia. (The Bruni d'
Entrecasteaux reefs at
the northwestern end of the
New Caledonia Barrier Reef are named for
him.) He then passed the
Solomon Islands along their southern or
western coasts, sailed through Saint George's Channel between New
Ireland and New Britain, and on 28 July sighted the south-east coast
of the Admiralty Islands. After three days spent in scrutinizing the
eastern and northern coastline, Bruni d'
Entrecasteaux decided that the
rumours he had heard in
Table Bay must be false, and he therefore set
sail for Ambon, in modern-day Indonesia, where his ships replenished
Leaving Amboina on 14 October, Bruni d'
Entrecasteaux made for Cape
Leeuwin, the south-western extremity of Australia, to carry out his
original instructions of searching southern New Holland for La
Pérouse. On 6 December land was sighted near Cape Leeuwin, and named
Entrecasteaux Point. This event was celebrated by feastings and
parties, one result of which was that the smith on board Recherche,
Jean-Marie Marhadour over-indulged and died next day from an
apoplectic fit. The weather proved boisterous, and the ships failed to
find King George III Sound, originally discovered by Vancouver. As
they sailed further east, they penetrated numerous islands and
dangerous shoals, to which they gave the name D'
— later changed to the Recherche Archipelago.
While the Frenchmen were still in that dangerous area, on 12 December
a violent storm descended upon them, and both ships were nearly
wrecked. Fortunately, however, they found an anchorage where they were
able to ride out the worst of the gale. Landings took place here on
the mainland, and the locality was named in honour of Legrand, who had
spotted the anchorage, and of the ship he was on, Espérance.
Beautemps-Beaupré made a hasty survey of the off-lying islands of the
archipelago. No water was found, and on 18 December the ships
continued eastward to the head of the Great Australian Bight, but here
the coast was found to be even more arid, and the water position more
On 4 January 1793, Bruni d'
Entrecasteaux was forced to leave the coast
at a position near Bruni d'
Entrecasteaux Reef and sail direct to Van
Diemen's Land. In this decision the French explorer was unfortunate,
for if he had continued his examination of the southern coast of New
Holland, he would have made all the geographical discoveries that fell
to the lot of Bass and Flinders a few years later. Then, indeed, a
French "Terre Napoléon" might well have become a fact.[citation
The ships anchored in
Recherche Bay on 22 January, and te expedition
spent a period of five weeks in that area, watering the ships,
refreshing the crews, and carrying out explorations into both natural
history and geography. Beautemps-Beaupré, in company with other
officers, surveyed the northern extensions to
Storm Bay – the
western extension was found to be a mouth of a river which received
the name Rivière du Nord – it was renamed the Derwent River a few
months later by the next visitor to this area, Captain John Hayes in
Duke of Clarence and Duchess.
On 28 February d'
Entrecasteaux sailed from
Van Diemen's Land
Van Diemen's Land towards
the Friendly Islands, sighting
New Zealand and the
Kermadec Islands en
route. At the Friendly Islands, he found that the natives remembered
Cook and Bligh well enough, but knew nothing of La Pérouse. He then
sailed back to New Caledonia, where he anchored at Balade. The vain
search for La Pérouse then resumed with Santa Cruz, then along the
southern coasts of the Solomon Islands, the northern parts of the
Louisiade Archipelago, through the Dampier Strait, along the northern
New Britain and the southern coast of the Admiralty Islands,
and thence north of
New Guinea to the Moluccas.
By this time, the affairs of the expedition had become almost
desperate, largely because the officers were ardent royalists and the
crews equally ardent revolutionaries. Kermadec had died of phthisis in
Balade harbour, and on 21 July 1793, d'
Entrecasteaux himself died of
scurvy, off the Hermits.
Commands were re-arranged, with Auribeau taking charge of the
expedition, with Rossel in Kermadec's place. The new chief took the
ships to Surabaya. Here it was learned that a republic had been
proclaimed in France, and on 18 February 1794 Auribeau handed his
vessels to the Dutch authorities so that the new French Government
could not profit by them. Auribeau died a month later and Rossel
sailed from Java in January 1795 on board a Dutch ship, arriving at
Table Bay in April 1795. There his ship sailed unexpectedly with the
expedition's papers, leaving him behind, but this vessel was captured
by the British. Rossel then took passage on a brig-of-war, but this
too was captured by the British. After the
Peace of Amiens
Peace of Amiens in 1802,
all the papers of the expedition were returned to Rossel, who was thus
enabled to publish a narrative of the whole enterprise.
Australian places with name
Direct naming occurs at the following:
Entrecasteaux 34°50′S 116°0′E / 34.833°S
116.000°E / -34.833; 116.000
Entrecasteaux National Park 34°36′S 115°56′E / 34.600°S
115.933°E / -34.600; 115.933
Entrecasteaux Reef 31°58′S 131°55′E / 31.967°S
131.917°E / -31.967; 131.917
Bruny Island 43°22′S 147°17′E / 43.367°S 147.283°E /
Entrecasteaux Channel 43°15′S 147°15′E / 43.250°S
147.250°E / -43.250; 147.250
Entrecasteaux Monument Historic Site 43°16′S 147°14′E /
43.267°S 147.233°E / -43.267; 147.233
Entrecasteaux River 43°28′S 146°50′E / 43.467°S
146.833°E / -43.467; 146.833
Entrecasteaux Watering Place Historic Site 43°34′S 146°53′E
/ 43.567°S 146.883°E / -43.567; 146.883
European and American voyages of scientific exploration
Middle Island (Western Australia)
Australia place name search Archived July 29, 2014, at
the Wayback Machine.. ga.gov.au
Duyker, Edward and Maryse (editors and translators) (2001) Bruny
d’Entrecasteaux: Voyage to
Australia and the
Miegunyah/Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2001, pp. xliii,
pp. 392, ISBN 0-522-84932-6 [paperback edition, March 2006,
Edward Duyker (2003) Citizen Labillardière: A Naturalist’s Life in
Revolution and Exploration (1755—1834), Miegunyah/Melbourne
University Press, Melbourne, 2003, ISBN 0-522-85010-3, Paperback
reprint, 2004, ISBN 0-522-85160-6, pp. 383 [Winner, New
South Wales Premier’s General History Prize, 2004].
Horner, F. B. (1995) Looking for La Perouse : D’Entrecasteaux
Australia and the South Pacific, 1792–1793 Carlton South,
Vic. : Miegunyah Press. ISBN 0-522-84451-0
Marchant, Leslie R. (1966). "Bruny D'Entrecasteaux, Joseph-Antoine
Raymond (1739–1793)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra:
Australian National University. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
McLaren, Ian F. (1993) La Perouse in the Pacific, including searches
by d’Entrecasteaux, Dillon, Dumont d’Urville : an annotated
bibliography (with an introduction by John Dunmore). Parkville
[Vic.] : University of Melbourne Library. ISBN 0-7325-0601-8
Van Duuren, David and Tristan Mostert (2007), Curiosities from the
Pacific Ocean. A remarkable Rediscovery in the Tropenmuseum,
Amsterdam: Thirteen Ethnographic Objects from the Bruny
Entrecasteaux Expedition (1791–1794). Amsterdam:
Leiden: C. Zwartenkot. ISBN 0-522-84932-6
Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Antoine Bruni d'Entrecasteaux
Australia and the Pacific
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