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La Perouse

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La Perouse / Sydney

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January 20, 1788, witnessed the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet (of 11 ships). On January 26, saw the arrival of the French ships La Boussole and L’Astrolobe, led by La Comte de La Pérouse, who found most of the First Fleet anchored in Botany Bay. The same day, Captain Phillip cemented England’s claim to the colony of New South Wales at Camp Cove in Sydney Harbour, he had left the fleet to look for a more protected harbour in which to settle.

Located on the northern part of Botany Bay, about 15 km south of Sydney, at La Pérouse there are a number of monuments and attractions, as well as picnic areas and parking:

  • Pere Receveur’s Tomb (1822) - who was chaplain and scientist of the French expedition led by La Comte de La Pérouse is buried here.
  • La Perouse Monument - raised in honour of La Comte de La Pérouse.
  • The Macquarie Watchtower (1820) - built in by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, it is the oldest existing building on the shores of Botany Bay. Soldiers were stationed there to report on ships entering and leaving Botany Bay in an effort to prevent smuggling.
  • The Old Cable Station (1882) - in 1876 a telegraph cable was laid from La Pérouse to Nelson in New Zealand, that was to be a link in a worldwide chain. The Old Cable Station now houses the La Perouse Museum. You should check for days and times.
  • Henry Head Scenic Walk - this walk takes you along cliff tops, with breathtaking views of the bay and surrounding countryside, pass native coastal vegetation and fortifications from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Close by, just off Anzac Parade is Botany Bay National Park. If you keep driving along this access road until you hit the end, past NSW Golf Club and the pistol club, you can take a seven minute walk down a rough track and over a narrow footbridge to Cape Banks. Here is a picturesque headland with a shipwreck SS Minmi, which had ran aground in 1937.

This region was the traditional lands of the Gweagal and Kameygal Aboriginal groups. There is still a large Aboriginal community at La Perouse, for whom La Pérouse, but more so Kurnell where Cook landed, marked the start of the ‘white invasion’.

In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

Information Centre

Sydney Harbour National Park Information Centre

Sydney Visitor Centre The Rocks

La Perouse Attractions

Bare Island
• Access to Bare Island and its historic military fort and tunnels built in 1885 is by guided tour only. For tour information and bookings ring the Sydney Harbour National Park Information Centre.
Botany Bay National Park
• Covers approximately 492 ha of the northern and southern headlands of the entrance to Botany Bay.
Laperouse Museum
• Opened Wednesday through to Sunday.
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