Receveur Mass 17 February 2019


This annually continuous event since its 1988 foundation will occur on the actual anniversary of this Conventual Franciscan friar’s death: 

Sunday, 17th February, 2019 at 8am. 

                                                                                                                                                                      VENUE: verandah of the Laperouse Museum      

Mass in the traditional Latin rite of the Catholic Church that was used at Botany by the two priests of the Laperouse Expedition at Botany in early 1788.

The only Mass rite known to St. Francis of Assisi  (ca.1181-1265) and to the two French priests of the Laperouse Expedition and to all the Catholic clergy of the Roman Rite in 1788. The first two Masses were celebrated either on the day of the expedition’s arrival, Saturday 26th January, 1788 ,the feast of St. Polycarp or  the next day which was Sexagesima. .Under the 1765 royal Ordonnance de la Marine,  which specified the duties of all types of French naval personnel,,chaplains in the royal navy were obliged to say Mass on Sundays and feast days without exception unless bad weather prevented it and on other days as often as possible. Here was the mandate for the introduction of the Mass to Australia in early 1788 which continued what had occurred throughout the Laperouse voyage aboard the two French frigates.

The two priests did not  concelebrate as concelebration of Mass by two or more priests did not exist in the 18th century on land or at sea.

The Mass was introduced to Australia by two French scientific savants,  a Conventual friar, whose death occasioned a Requiem Mass by his brother priest ,a canon of Ste. Genevieve in Paris and the Latin Office of the Dead which was mandatory at the funerals of naval personnel.



In the current issue of The Great Circle:Journal of the Australian Association for Maritime History (volume 41 no.1 2019) appears my article ‘The First Masses  in Australia at Botany Bay in early 1788’ (pp. 81-95). The article details and corrects egregious errors about the type and incidence of  Masses during the Botany Bay tenure of the Laperouse Expedition.

2018 Annual Pierre Roussel Lecture – Professor Robert Clancy


, ,

The Contribution of Two Exceptional Frenchmen to the Success of Australian Rural Industry in the Nineteenth Century”

Professor Robert Clancy AM provided an authoritative and entertaining presentation on scientists Adrien Loir and Eugene Nicolle, situating their contributions within the  Enlightenment tradition and the innovation culture unique to a newly established and remote country.   Robert is a  life member and past president of the Friends of the Laperouse Museum.  He was the foundation Professor of Pathology at the University of Newcastle, developed the vaccine Broncostat there in 1985, has researched and lectured extensively in cartography and recently completed a thesis on the history of science in Australia. Link to recent ABC Interview.

photos clockwise: Pierre and Carole Roussel at the opening of the Laperouse Museum in 1988; Robert Clancy and Carole Roussel; Robert  presenting on Loir and Nicolle; Robert presenting an encore – an account of the Australian influence on engineers Wolseley and Austin


Lest we forget: 11th November 2018 La Perouse


, , ,

Today in La Perouse: Monument, Receveur Tomb & millstone from L’astrolabe.


Such was the camaraderie forged on the battlefields of the Western Front that on Bastille Day, 1917, the Hon. David Storey, M.L.A. (Randwick), a member of the Holman Government, announced that the New South Wales Government intended to dedicate a portion of land, approximately 1 acre, permanently to the French nation and the French people, so that it might be kept sacred to their memory for ever. At a separate public meeting on the same day, Mr J. Garland, M.L.C., Minister for Justice and Solicitor General, announced that the Government of New South Wales had decided to make a gift to the French people, in perpetuity, of the piece of land at Botany Bay, where Laperouse landed. [Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July, 1917].  (Pictured above: Australian Diggers at the unveiling of the
First Division Memorial at Pozières, July 1917)

Since the Laperouse Monument and Receveur Tombs were constructed in 1828 the headland has been a focus for commemoration of the relationship with France.

(Pictured: left –  French sailors pay their respects on Bastille Day 1944; below – presentation of French street signs for Soldiers Settlement Matraville at the 2008 commemoration.






(Left: Street sign in Villers-Bretonneux for Victoria School named for Victoria, Australia).