Freycinet History

Early French Map Freycinet Peninsula 1812

The Freycinet Peninsula has a long history of human visitors and settlement dating back thousands of years to when Tasmanian Aboriginals lived on what is now called Freycinet Peninusla and Schouten Island.

The first European contact occurred in 1642 when Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman, when mapping the east coast of Van Diemen’s Land named Schouten Island after Willem Cornelisz Schouten, who was a  Dutch navigator for the Dutch East India Company.

The Freycinet Peninsula, as its now known, was at first though to be made up of a chain of Islands. However, this myth was proved incorrect in 1802-03 when the famed French explorer Nicholas Baudin visted the area on the   corvette ships  ‘Le Geographe’ and ‘Le Naturaliste’. Faure and Bailly(mineralogist), as part of an expedition party, found that the northern Schouten Islands were, in fact, a long peninsula. Only the most southern ‘island’ is now called Schouten Island.

Early French Map Freycinet Peninsula 1812
Early French Map - Freycinet Peninsula 1812

Map Credit :

High granitic mountains whose summits are almost completely barren, form the whole eastern coast of this part of Van Diemen’s Land. They rise sheer from the base. The country which adjoins them is extremely low and cannot be seen unless viewed from only a little distance at sea. It is to this strange formation that we must doubtless attribute the errors of the navigators who had preceded us into these waters and who had mistaken these high mountains for as many separate islands.”

Exact of Baudin’s 1802-03 expedition journal [1]

The brothers Freycinet were senior officers on Baudin’s expedition, although it is unclear which one the peninsula was named after.

The Freycinet Peninsula is now the main location for the Freycinet National Park, which extends south onto Schouten Island. Mount Freycinet and East Freycinet Saddle are both found on the Freycinet Peninsula.There is a Cape Baudin on the east coast of Schouten Island and a Cape Faure on the west coast of the island., named after Pierre Faure, the  geographer onboad  the French corvette Le Naturaliste[2]

Credits :
[1] Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service