- La Perouse, New South Wales
Infobox Australian Place | type = suburb
name = La Perouse
city = Sydney
state = NSW
caption = La Perouse Monument, view to Frenchmans Bay
lga = Randwick
postcode = 2036
stategov = Maroubra
fedgov = Kingsford Smith
near-nw = Phillip Bay
near-n = Chifley
near-ne = Little Bay
near-sw = "
near-s = Kurnell
near-se = "
dist1 = 14
dir1 = south-east
La Perouse is a
suburbin south-eastern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. La Perouse is located about 14 kilometressouth-east of the Sydney central business district, in the City of Randwick.
The La Perouse peninsula is the northern headland of
Botany Bay. It is notable for its old military outpost at Bare Island and the Botany Bay National Park. Congwong Bay Beach, Little Congwong Beach, and the beach at Frenchmans Bay provide protected swimming areas in Botany Bay. La Perouse is one of few Sydney suburbs with a French title, another being Sans Souci. Kurnell is located opposite, on the southern headland of Botany Bay.
La Perouse was named after the French navigator “Laperouse” Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse (1741-88), who landed on the northern shore - west of Bare Island in Botany Bay in January 1788. Laperouse’s two ships sailed to New South Wales after some of his men had been attacked and killed in the Navigator Islands (Samoa). Laperouse arrived off Botany Bay on the 24th January just six days after Captain Arthur Phillip (1738-1814) had anchored - just east of Bare Island, in H.M. Armed Tender “Supply." On the 26th January 1788 as
Arthur Phillipwas moving the First Fleet around to Port Jackson - after finding Botany Bay unsuitable for a Settlement, Laperouse was sailing into Botany Bay. [Sydney's first four years-captain Watkin Tench 1793] [Peter Dillon's report1826] [Captain John Hunter's Journal 1793] [The voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay-printed for John Stockdale 1789] “Laperouse anchored in Botany Bay just eight days after the British”
The British received Lapérouse courteously, but were unable to help him with food as they had none to spare. Lapérouse sent his journals and letters to Europe with a British ship, the Sirius. A scientist on the expedition, Father Receveur, died in February and was buried at what is now known as La Perouse. After building a longboat ( to replace one lost in the attack in the Navigator Islands) and obtaining wood and water, the French departed for New Caledonia, Santa Cruz, the Solomons, the Louisiades. He wrote in his journals that he expected to be back in France by December 1788, but the two ships vanished. Some of the mystery was solved in 1826 when the wreckage of a French ships was found on an island in the Santa Cruz group.
The first building in the area was the round stone tower constructed in 1820-22 as accommodation for a small guard stationed there to prevent smuggling, which still stands today. By 1885, an Aboriginal reserve had been established in the suburb and a number of missions were operated in the area. The original church was dismantled and moved to the corner of Elaroo and Adina Avenues, where it still stands.
The Loop, is the circular track that was built as part of the Sydney tram terminus at La Perouse. The last service ran in 1961. A kiosk was built here in 1896 to cater for tourists who came to see the attractions, including the snake-handling shows that still operate today. During the
Great Depression, from the late 1920s, many severely affected low-income families took up residence here in settlements beside the Aboriginal reserve.
The small island, just inside the heads was described by Captain
James Cookas ‘a small bare island’. Bare Island was fortified in 1885 according to a design by colonial architect, James Barnet(1827-1904). In 1912 Bare Island became a retirement home for war veterans, which continued to operate until 1963 when it was handed over to the New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service for use as a museum and tourist attraction. ["The Book of Sydney Suburbs", Compiled by Frances Pollon, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1990, Published in Australia ISBN 0-207-14495-8, page 149] Apart from Bare Island there are two other forts located in La Perouse, one of them is Fort Banks, located on Cape Banks. This facility was part of the Eastern Command Fixed Defences unit and was constructed for the purpose of defending the approaches to Botany Bay during the World War II peroid. The other fortification located in La Perouse is the Henry Head Batteryand was also re-utilised during the Second World War. It's location is on Henry Head La Perouse. [ [http://www.nswgolfclub.com.au/guests/history.mhtml History ] ]
The Laperouse Museum contains maps, scientific instruments and relics recovered from French explorers. A walking trail from the museum to the Endeavour Lighthouse, offers spectacular views across the bay to the site of Captain Cook's Landing Place. The large La Perouse Monument is an obelisk erected in 1825 by the French, is located close to the museum and another memorial marks the grave of Father Receveur. The fortified Bare Island is linked by a footbridge. The Museum was originally a home for orphans run by the
Salvation Army, with the children attending La Perouse Public School when this first opened in the early 1950s.
Visitors can learn about the indigenous significance of the area from the Aboriginal people of the area with boomerang-throwing demonstrations often held on weekends and Aboriginal guided tours operating from Yarra Bay House during the week. Aboriginal artefacts are produced and sold by locals. An outdoor reptile show is also a well-known tourist attraction in the pit, at The Loop, on Sunday afternoons. The reptile shows were begun by George Cann in the early 1920s and the tradition has been continued by members of the Cann family ever since.
La Perouse has a few cafes and restaurants around the historic precinct, close to Frenchmans Bay.
* Several scenes from
Mission Impossible 2were filmed in La Perouse.
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