Fleurieu – Did you know?
A redoubtable armchair explorer
The 18thC French marine expert Charles-Pierre Fleurieu played a major role in French global exploration. This role was mainly theoretical, but he still managed to pull the carpet out from under a number of renowned non-armchair explorers. In 1790, Fleurieu showed that the Solomon Islands, discovered in 1567 by Medana, were the same as the islands ‘discovered’ by Carteret in 1767; discovered again by Bouganville in 1768, and discovered again by Shortland in 1788. All of these explorers nearly discovered Australia again too, but it was the French explorer Nicholas Baudin who arrived at a remote peninsula in what is now Southern Australia. He named it after Fleurieu, presumably in the hope that he wouldn’t expose this discovery as an error (thus avoiding the headline: ‘Fleurieu exposes Fleurieu as mistake’).