South Australian Place Names

Collection Items | Internet Sites | Further Sources

The 'unknown' southern coastline was familiar to Aboriginal communities which had their own place names. After the 1802-1803 voyage of exploration, French place names remain on the south-eastern coastline, the south coast of Kangaroo Island, and the West Coast - their discoveries.

Nicolas Baudin died on the return voyage to France, so Francois Peron recorded a report of the French expedition to Terres Australes. Only Volume 1 was completed, as Peron died in 1810. It is almost certain that Peron was responsible for the naming of many South Australian features after French scientists, artists and members of the expedition, including himself.

Louis de Freycinet drew up the charts and maps of the expedition. Baudin had been discredited by both early deserters of the expedition and the returning travellers, and French authorities were embarrassed by the apparent failure of the voyage. Freycinet bestowed his own choice of place names to South Australian locations, disregarding names that Baudin had recorded earlier.

Collection items




South Australian geographical journal, vol. 99, 2000 - pages 10-15.

Brown, Anthony and Cornell, Christine. 'Legacy of the Encounter: British and French place names of the South Australian coast.'


Internet sites

Geography South Australia [The geographical nomenclature of South Australia compiled from early maps: mostly Flinders, but also Arrowsmith and Freycinet]

PlaceNames Online: South Australian State gazetteer

Further sources

Cockburn, Rodney. What's in a name?: nomenclature of South Australia: authoritative derivations of some 4000 historically significant place names. Rev. and enl. ed. [Glen Osmond, S. Aust.]: Ferguson Publications, 1984 (Adelaide: Gillingham Printers)

Cooper, H. M. French exploration in South Australia: with special reference to Encounter Bay, Kangaroo Island, the two gulfs and Murat Bay 1802-1803. Adelaide: the author, 1952 (printed by MacDougalls Pty Ltd).

Cornell, Christine. Questions relating to Nicolas Baudin's Australian expedition, 1800-1804. Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1965

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

History SA, no. 130, July 1997, pp.1-12. Savage, R.C. 'Bid to reinstate Baudin's name to islands off Robe.' [Baudin Islands, Godfrey Islands]

Manning, Geoffrey. From Aaron Creek to Zion Hill: the place names of South Australia. 2000