Uncharted: Astrolabe and Zelee in Kulkalgal country

Brian Robinson

The French vessels Astrolabe and Zelee carried Dumont D'Urville and his crew on an expedition through the Torres Strait in 1840. Sailing down a false passage in the reef the expedition team soon became stranded on Warrior Reef just to the north of Tudu on 1st June.

As the ships floundered, the Kulkalgal flocked onto the reef and from afar were watching the stranded corvettes. The following day the islanders of Tudu wasted no time in visiting the ships by walking along the reef. It took eight days before the ships were able to sail out of the channel.

By the 1840s, more than two hundred years after the first recorded European voyage to the region, Torres Strait Islanders were actively participating as brokers with Europeans. As trade constituted such an essential component of Torres Strait Island economies, Islanders quickly embarked upon the exchange of goods with Europeans.

Medium: Limited Edition Print

H  100cm x W 188cm

Edition:  eight out of 10

Catalogue Number:  22AP05