La Perouse

La Perouse is a suburb in south-eastern Sydney. It’s also the northern headland of Botany Bay, sitting pretty in Randwick city. In favourable traffic condtions, it would take hardly twenty minutes from the Sydney CBD (Central Business District) to the cliff.

Now, a little bit of history. The penninsula got its name from the French navigator Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse (1741–88), who landed on the northern shore of Botany Bay on 26 January 1788, just a couple of days after the British sailor Captain Cook had anchored off the coast. Louis XVI of France had commissioned Lapérouse to explore the Pacific. He departed Brest, France, in command of the Astrolabe and Boussole on 1 August 1785. The French stayed at Botany Bay for six weeks and built a stockade, observatory and a garden for fresh produce on what is now known as the La Perouse. After obtaining wood and water, the sailors departed for France with a hopeful ETA of December 1788. However, the expedition was wrecked a short time later on the reefs of Vanikoro in the Solomon Islands during a cyclone sometime during April or May 1788. The circumstances of the ship wreck remained a mystery for 40 years. In 1826, items associated with the French ships were found on an island in the Santa Cruz group, with wreckage of the vessels themselves discovered in 1964.

The sun drenched beaches of the penninsula are a great lure for visitors as well as the nearby city residents. The lone aircraft among the cauliflower clouds finding its way to the military outpost at Bare Island, and the departing ship from Port Botany next door, as the twilight fades over the ridge would appear quite like a live collage. Then there’s the restaurant overlooking the beach as if inadvertently edited out of a Daniel Craig movie, with the mixed odour of caviar and French wine hanging in the air.

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