- Letter Writer
- Letter to the Editor
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- December 2013 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
I refer to the article The Phantom Paradise in the September 2013 edition of the NHR and offer a little more information on the doctor.
In November 1882, the Queensland Medical Board received an application for registration from Dr Alexandre Baudouin. The address he gave was 5 Pitt Street, Sydney. He had probably been assisted in preparing his application by the French Consul in Sydney. He stated that he had ‘been abandoned in Sydney by the Expedition of the Marquis de Rays’ and had now been offered a position at the Hodgkinson District Hospital. The hospital was at Thornborough, then a gold mining town on the Hodgkinson goldfield near Mareeba in far north Queensland.
He had no diploma but stated that he had trained in Medicine at the University of Paris but had not finished his degree. He had been authorised by the University of Marine to serve as a physician and surgeon on French vessels and presented a certificate from a French maritime company that he had served as a doctor on steamers for two years.
Baudouin arrived in Cairns on 20 March 1882 on the steamer Génil with about 40 French, German and Italian survivors from the disastrous de Rays expedition. De Rays sent four ships with colonists from France, Italy and Germany to establish the Colonie Libre de Port Breton at Port Praslin, New Ireland. There were a number of deaths. Disease and lack of supplies resulted in the demise of the expedition and a number of the colonists came to Australia. Baudouin, one of two medical officers with the expedition, was credited as playing a big part in the rescue of survivors. The Génil left for Sydney but was forced to stop at Maryborough for about a month undergoing repairs. The ship arrived in Sydney on 30 May where she was seized by the Vice-Admiralty Court of New South Wales. She was later sold by auction and became a collier delivering coal from Wollongong to Sydney.
Baudouin was refused registration. In accordance with normal practice his papers were returned to him. He needed to work to get his fare back to France and, although he was not registered, he practised at Beenleigh for some months. In April 1883 he gave evidence, using an interpreter, in a case of manslaughter that occurred in the Beenleigh district in December 1882.
In 1883, Baudouin’s history of the de Rays’ expedition, written while he was in Maryborough, was published in France; with a copy held in the Mitchell Library. De Rays was prosecuted in Paris and Baudouin gave evidence of the suffering of the colonists and was sentenced to several years in prison.