State Library of South Australia logo Taking it to the edge
SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future

Kangaroo Island emu
Title : Kangaroo Island emu Kangaroo Island emu
Add To My SA Memory
Creator : Lesueur, Charles Alexandre, 1778-1846
Source : Voyage de decouvertes aux terres australes, ... en 1801, 1802, 1803 et 1804; ... Atlas, pl., 36
Place Of Creation : Paris
Publisher : De L'Imprimerie Imperiale
Date of creation : 1802
Additional Creator : Peron, Francois, 1775-1810
Format : Book
Catalogue record
The State Library of South Australia is keen to find out more about SA Memory items. We encourage you to contact the Library if you have additional information about any of these items.
Copyright : Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia. This image may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires permission from the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

The dwarf emu of Kangaroo Island was recorded by the artist Charles-Alexandre LeSueur of the Baudin expedition in 1802. The expedition had been sent out by the French government to explore the unknown section of the Australian coast in 1800. The expedition took several live specimens of the bird, as well as other animals, back to France with them, where they lived in the grounds of the palace of Malmaison. The birds can also be seen in the title page vignette of the expedition account and on the map of Terre Napoleon. The bird was extinct by the time of official white settlement in 1836.

Born in Le Havre in January 1778, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur was the son of a naval officer. He loved drawing, especially natural history, and wanted to travel to far off lands. He joined the Baudin expedition as a crew member, and like Nicolas-Martin Petit was able to take over as an expedition artist when the official artists resigned. Lesueur became the natural history artist, and his images of Australia's exotic marine life are particularly striking. He was a friend of the scientist Peron, and when Peron became ill after the expedition had returned to France, Lesueur nursed him until his death in 1810. In 1815 Lesueur went to the United States and travelled extensively there and in the West Indies before he settled down in Philadelphia. Lesueur stayed in the United States for 25 years, where he discovered a number of zoological species including tortoises and fishes. He taught painting, and was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society, and of the Academy of Natural Sciences. Lesueur returned to France in 1837, and in 1845 went back to Le Havre to oversee the building of the Natural History Museum. He became this museum's first Director. Lesueur died in 1846, having been awarded the Legion of Honour in the previous year.

Related names :

Peron, Francois, 1775-1810

Baudin, Nicolas, 1754-1803

Petit, Nicolas-Martin, 1777-1804

Lesueur, Charles Alexandre, 1778-1846

Coverage year : 1802
Region : Kangaroo Island
Further reading :

Baudin in Australian waters: the artwork of the French voyage of discovery to the southern lands 1800-1804 edited by Jacqueline Bonnemains, Elliott Forsyth and Bernard Smith Melbourne Oxford University Press in association with the Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1988

Hunt, Susan Terre Napoleon: Australia through French eyes, 1800-1804 Sydney: Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales in association with Hordern House, 1999

Wallace, Colin The lost Australia of Francois Peron London: Nottingham Court Press, 1984

The Encounter, 1802: art of the Flinders and Baudin voyages [compiled by] Sarah Thomas Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia, 2002

Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

State Library of South Australia: Mortlock Wing. Taking it to the edge August 2004-



About SA Memory

Explore SA Memory

SA Memory Themes


My SA Memory


What's on