Jervis Bay - Early Images

from the Dumont d'Urville Astrolabe Expedition 1826

Compiled by Michael Organ, with assistance from Robyn Williams and Dr. Joseph Davis

Introduction

In November 1826 the French frigate Astrolabe sailed into Jervis Bay, located on the coast of New South Wales south of Sydney. Commanded by Captain Jules Dumont d'Urville, the Astrolabe was then engaged in a three year (1826-9) round-the-world scientific expedition and voyage of discovery. The ship sailed along the southern coast of New Holland from Western Australia to Port Jackson between October and December 1826. During the brief visit to Jervis Bay, the sailors on board engaged with the Aboriginal community and the ship's artists - Louis Auguste de Sainson and Francios Edmond Paris - took various sketches of the local landscape, people and artefacts such as spears and canoes. As part of the official published account of the voyage, a number of drawings by de Sainson and Paris were published as lithographs and engravings. Additional images were subsequently prepared and used to illustrate various French, German and English publications through to the 1850s. The early official prints were large format lithographs and engravings, whilst the later works were mostly smallish line engravings used to illustrate summary accounts of French voyages of exploration. A list of known Jervis Bay works has been compiled below, and whilst it is by no means definitive, it does begin the process of better understanding the work of the Astrolobe artists and revealing some of the important images taken. Whilst the list concentrates on the original lithographs, manuscript drawings where known are listed, as are minor works and variants. Of particular interest are the portraits of local Aboriginal men, drawings of the distinctive tee-pee like dwellings, and a detailed image of a large bark canoe. In some cases, prints exist which combine Aboriginal men from Jervis Bay with those of King George's Sound, Western Australia, where the French also had intimate encounters with the local people.

Number Image Description
1

Title: Baie Jervis [The Astrolabe moored in Jervis Bay]
Artist: Louis Auguste de Sainson.
Description: Lithograph 28 x 36cm. Plate 25 in Dumont d'Urville, Voyage de la Corvette l'Astrolabe, Historie, Atlas I, Paris, 1830-4.

View of the Astrolabe moored in Jervis Bay, with three Aboriginal men appearing on the shore talking to a sailor. Two of the locals are portrayed in a separate lithograph (see below). The distinctive rock formation to the right of the view no longer exists, having collapsed over the intervening years.

2

Title: Ile boswen a l'entree de Baie Jervis [The boat at the entrance to Jervis Bay]
Artist: Louis Auguste de Sainson.
Description: Lithograph 28 x 36cm. Plate 24 in d'Urville.

A full side view of the Astrolabe under sail off Jervis Bay, heading north towards Sydney. Note the distinctive sandstone cliffs of the coastline north of Jervis Bay, with Point Perpendicular to the extreme left.

3

Title: Baie Jervis, Nouvelle Holland (Les marins de L'Astrolabe partagent leur peche avec les Naturals) [Jervis Bay, New Holland. The sailors of the Astrolabe sharing their catch of fish with the Aborigines]
Artist: Louis Auguste de Sainson.
Description: Lithograph 28 x 36cm. Plate 34 in d'Urville.

This work portrays an aAnimated gatering between the sailors of the Astrolabe and some of the local Aboriginal men. Activities presented include the eating of fish and dancing.

4

Title: Jervis Bay
Artist: Louis Auguste de Sainson.
Description: Lithograph. Plate 8, 17 x 28cm, from the German edition of the Astrolabe narrative, which was published by Schaffhausen in 1836.

Image similar to the original French lithograph.

5

Title: Ile des Kangaroos / Baie Jervis [Aborigines from Kanagaroo Island and Jervis Bay]
Artist: Louis Auguste de Sainson / Hippolyte Louis Garnier.
Description: Lithograph 28 x 36cm. Plate 12 in d'Urville.

The complete plate includes eight head portraits of Aboriginal natives from Kangaroo Island and Jervis Bay, based on images taken by de Sainson, but later redrawn in Paris by the noted portrait artist Hippolyte Louis Garnier. The two Jervis Bay men (pictured at left) are Bam / Bani and Djacamel.

6

Title:... Cabanes de la baie Jervis (6 pieds de haut) [Native Huts of Jervis Bay (6 people per hut)]
Artist: Louis Auguste de Sainson.
Description: Lithograph 28 x 36cm. Plate 18 in d'
Urville.

This plate depicts views of four native huts - two from New Holland and two from New Zealand, with the Jervis Bay hut to the top right. These huts were subsequently redrawn in a number of later publications. They are quite distinctive for Australian Aboriginal dwellings in their size and cone shaped design.

7
Title: Village a la Baie Jervis [Village at Jervis Bay]
Artist: Louis Auguste de Sainson.
Description: Engraving, 9 x 12cm, circa 1834. Variant of the Jervis Bay Aboriginal dwellings print.
8

Title: Nouvelle Hollande Naturals de la Baie Jervis [New Holland Aborigines from Jervis Bay]
Artist: Louis Auguste de Sainson.
Description: Lithograph 28 x 36cm. Plate 17 in d''Urville.

This plate depicts a group of two King George's Sound, Western Australia natives in the left half of the picture, whilst two from Jervis Bay are to the right. The Western Australian men are clothed in animal skins, whilst those from Jervis Bay are naked or in European apparel, such as wearing a jacket. The latter are also holding fish. In the background of each image is a group of local people.

9
Title: Natives of King George's Sound, and of Jervis Bay
Artist: Louis Auguste de Sainson.
Description: Lithograph. Plate 5, 17 x 28cm, from the German edition of the Astrolabe narriative, which was published by Schaffhausen in 1836. Similar to the original French lithograph.
10

Title: Pirogue de la Baie Jervis, Nouvelle Holland par Paris. [Canoe of Jervis Bay, New Holland by Paris]
Artist: Francois Edmond Paris.
Description: Coloured sketch 25 x 35 Res. S.G. fol 4, no.22. Societe de Geographie, Paris.

[The image on the left is that from the French print (see below) and most likely represents a copy of the original Paris watercolour]. Illustrated in an engraving, Paris, 1841-5, Plate 112. Descriptive quote (page 106):

"Only at Jervis Bay, south of Port Jackson, did we see a canoe on the sand, 4 to 5 metres long, if however this name may be applied to a piece of bark tied at the ends (plate 112, fig. 1) and held open in the middle by flexible saplings, curved by a cord like a bow; this frail skiff had no form and could not have been able to travel very far. We do not know how the natives succeeded in removing such large pieces of bark from the handsome trees which cover the region around their bay, where, in 1826, the English had called only briefly and had not yet established a settlement."

11

Title: [Native Weapons and Artefacts of New Holland and New Zealand]
Artist: Louis Auguste de Sainson.
description: Lithograph 28 x 36cm. Plate 36 from d'Urville. Also reproduced is the plate from the German edition of 1836, 28 x 17cm - note that the images are reversed in that plate.

This ethnographic work includes drawings of Aboriginal artefacts from Western Australia and Jervis Bay on the top part of the image. The Jervis Bay items include: 1. Spear, 2. Shell necklace, 3. Emerald necklace, and 4. Bark canoe. The latter was originally drawn by drawn by Francois Edmond Paris and is described in his subsequent publication (see below)

12

Title: [Native Weapons and Artefacts of New Holland and New Zealand]
Artist: Louis Auguste de Sainson.
description: Lithograph 28 x 17cm, plate from the German edition of 1836. Note that the images are reversed in this plate compared to the French plate, though the content is identical.

13
 

Title: Pirogue en ecorce de la Baie Jervis [Bark canoe of Jervis Bay]
Artist: Francois Edmond Paris.
Description: Engraving of a canoe from Jervis Bay. Paris, 1841-5, plate 112, figure 1.

Bibliography (1801-1887)

Dumont D'Urville, Voyage de la Corvette l'Astrolabe, Historie, Atlas I, Paris, 1830-4.

Francois Edmond Paris, Essai sur la construction navale des peuples extra-européens, ou, Collection des navires et pirogues construits par les habitants de l'Asie, de la Malaisie, du Grand Océan et de l'Amérique, dessinés et mesurés par M. Paris, Arthur Bertrand, Paris, 1841-5.

Joseph Brodtmann Schaffhausen, Entdeckungs-Reise der französischen Corvette Astrolabe unternommen auf Befehl König Karls X. in den Jahren 1826-1827-1828-1829. Aus dem Französischen mit einem lithographirten Atlas. Folio (355 x 159 mm), (1836). Mit lith. Titel von J. H. Schäfer und 60 Tafeln von J. Siebert, J. Benz, Caspar Scheuchzer und J. Werner, nach Louis Auguste de Sainson, lithographiert von Joseph Brodtmann. 118 S., 1 Bl. Index. Halblederband d. Z. mit goldgeprägtem Rückenschild und Rückenvergoldung (etwas berieben, neuere Vorsätze). Plate 5 (natives) and plate 8 (Jervis Bay).

Links

Australian Aboringal Canoes - images of canoes from the Sydney region taken during the early years of European settlement, from the time of Captain Cook (1770) and the First Fleet (1788).


Site last updated: 19 April 2011. Return to Michael Organ's Home Page. Any comments, corrections, or additions to this site are most welcome.