Recherche Bay is an oceanic embayment, part of which is listed on the
National Heritage Register, located on the extreme south-eastern
corner of Tasmania, Australia. It was a landing place of the
d’Entrecasteaux expedition to find missing explorer La Pérouse. It
is named in honour of the Recherche, one of the expedition's ships.
1 French exploration
2 British settlement
3 Controversy since 2003
4 See also
6 Further reading
7 External links
The explorers set up a camp, made a garden and scientific observatory
Recherche Bay in April 1792 for 26 days, and again in January 1793
for 24 days. Both landings were made to seek refuge and replenish
supplies although as much time as possible was dedicated to scientific
research. The botanists Jacques Labillardière,
Claude Riche and
Étienne Pierre Ventenat, assisted by gardener botanist Félix
Delahaye, collected and catalogued almost 5000 specimens including the
blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus), which later became Tasmania's floral
emblem. The expedition also made friendly contact with the Tasmanian
Aboriginal people there in 1793.
The scientific observatory at
Recherche Bay was the site of the first
deliberate scientific experiment on Australian soil. At this
observatory, geoscientist Elisabeth Paul Edouard de Rossel conducted a
series of measurements that proved geomagnetism varied with
It will be difficult to describe my feelings at the sight of this
solitary harbour situateted at the extremeties of the globe, so
perfectly enclosed that one feels separated from the rest of the
universe. Everything is influenced by the wilderness of the rugged
landscape. With each step, one encounters the beauties of unspoilt
nature, with signs of decrepitude, trees reaching a very great height,
and of corresponding diameter, are devoid of branches along the trunk,
but crowned with an everlasting green foliage. Some of these trees
seem as ancient as the world, and are so tightly interlaced that they
— Bruni d'Entrecasteaux, Recherche Bay, January 1793.
Being isolated from the main areas of early settlement, exposed to
easterly gales, and the terrain and soils of a nature that discouraged
Recherche Bay saw only moderate activity
following the British settlement of Van Diemen's Land.
Recherche Bay was the site of the Cyprus mutiny, in which the
brig Cyprus was seized by convicts being transported from
to Macquarie Harbour Penal Station. The mutineers marooned officers,
soldiers, and convicts who did not join the mutiny, without supplies.
The mutineers then sailed the Cyprus to Canton, China, where they
scuttled her and claimed to be castaways from another vessel. On the
way, Cyprus visited
Japan during the height of the period of severe
Japanese restrictions on the entry of foreigners, the first Australian
ship to do so.
During the 1830s and 1840s it was the site of a bay whaling station as
well as a base for pilots guiding ships up the D'Entrecasteaux
Channel. Whaling ships occasionally sheltered there to try out whales,
two (the Maria Orr in 1846 and Offley in 1880) being wrecked there in
gales. The main commercial activities in the later 19th century and
into the early 20th century were timber-gathering, mostly centred on
the township of Leprena and coal mining, the latter mostly based
around the township of Catamaran. The Catamaran Coal Company employed
the former barque James Craig as a coal hulk there.
Controversy since 2003
In 2003 the private landowners of the D'Entrecasteaux expedition site
sought permission to selectively log the area, which was opposed by a
large-scale campaign to protect the site from destruction.
In January 2006 the
Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC) announced plans
to raise a minimum of A$1.3 million to purchase the site from its
private owners. Dick Smith pledged A$100,000 to the cause, and
two weeks later it was announced that over $2 million had been
raised to purchase and rehabilitate the site, and that it would be
owned by the TLC.
Part of the bay, being the north east peninsula area comprising 430
hectares (1,100 acres), was included in the National Heritage List on
7 October 2005.
South Coast Tasmania
^ a b c "
Recherche Bay (North East Peninsula) Area". National Heritage
Places. Department of the Environment, Australian Government.
Retrieved 31 July 2015.
Recherche Bay (North East Peninsula) Area" (PDF). Australia's
National Heritage. Department of the Environment, Australian
Government. 7 October 2005. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
Recherche Bay (North East Peninsula) Area, Southport, TAS,
Australia". Australian Heritage Database. Department of the
Environment, Australian Government. 7 October 2005. Retrieved 31 July
^ Landsdown, Richard (2009). Pierce, Peter, ed. Romantic aftermaths.
The Cambridge History of Australian Literature. Port Melbourne:
Cambridge University Press. p. 120.
^ "Bid to Buy Recherche". The Mercury. Tasmania. Retrieved 20 January
^ "Dick Smith joins bid to protect Recherche Bay". ABC News.
Australia. 23 January 2006. Retrieved 24 January 2006.
Recherche Bay saved from logging". ABC News. Australia. 8 February
2006. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
^ "Inclusion of a Place in the National Heritage List: Recherche Bay
(North East Peninsula) Area" (PDF). Government Gazette. Commonwealth
of Australia. 7 October 2005. ISSN 1032-2345. Retrieved 31 July
Brown, Bob (2005). Tasmania’s Recherche Bay. Green Institute.
pp. 56, illustrations, maps. ISBN 0-646-44899-4.
Clode, Danielle (2008). Voyages to the South Seas: In search of Terres
Australes (Paperback reprint ed.). Melbourne: Miegunyah/MUP.
Duyker, Edward, ed. (March 2006). Bruny d’Entrecasteaux: Voyage to
Australia and the Pacific 1791—1793. Duyker, Maryse (paperback ed.).
Melbourne: Miegunyah/Melbourne University Press. p. 392.
Duyker, Edward (2004). Citizen Labillardière: A Naturalist’s Life
in Revolution and Exploration (1755–1834) (Paperback reprint ed.).
Melbourne: Miegunyah/MUP. p. 383. ISBN 0-522-85160-6.
Duyker, Edward (December 2004). "A French Garden in Tasmania: The
Félix Delahaye (1767—1829)". Explorations: 3–18.
Duyker, Edward (December 2005). "Uncovering Jean Piron: In Search of
d'Entrecasteaux's Artist". Explorations: 37–45.
Mulvaney, John; Tyndale-Biscoe, Hugh, eds. (December 2007).
Recherche Bay (paperback ed.). Canberra: Academy of the
Social Sciences in Australia. p. 156.
Mulvaney, John (2007). 'The axe had never sounded': Place, People and
Heritage of Recherche Bay,
Tasmania (e-book ed.). Canberra: ANU E
Press and Aboriginal History. ISBN 978-1-921313-20-2.
Poulson, Bruce (2005). Recherche Bay: A Short History (Second ed.).
Southport, Tasmania: The Management Committee of the Southport
Community Centre. pp. 83, illustrations, bibliography, maps.
Tasmanian Land Conservancy
Catalyst story on Recherche Bay
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