Twenty-two students and their teacher from the Lycée Condorcet (French School) in Maroubra celebrated the end of the school term with a visit to La Perouse. The Laperouse story, in the Museum, has been compressed into less than a quarter of the space that it occupied when the collection was gifted to Australia by the French Government in 1988. Major items like the Receveur Tree Stump are no longer in the Museum but have been returned to France. John Winch’s tapestry (seen in background during visit of school from Villers-Bretonneux ) which marked the entry to the Museum has been moved upstairs to a room now available for hire for ‘conferences’. Stencilling, sympathetic to the architectural period of the Museum and to the Laperouse story (such as in this photograph ) has now been painted over.
The students today were very interested in the remaining items and replicas from the wreck of l’Astrolabe. The Wrecks Room, seen in this photograph , has been dismantled and some of the items from the room are now located in the two rooms which contain remnants of the original exhibition. The students lay on the floor of the former Wrecks Room so they could look at the specially commissioned mural (link to artist) and imagine the last glimpses experienced by officers, scientists and crew of l’Astrolabe.
Students at the Laperouse Monument. The monument was commissioned by Hyacinthe de Bougainville on his visit to Sydney in 1825 (the new storyboard in the Museum records this as 1824, the year of Louis Duperry’s visit)