Insights from Quadrant

Why we don’t speak French

Sky viewers enjoyed Margaret Cameron-Ash’s brief chat last night (Jan 26) with Rowan Dean — a conversation which, no doubt due to time constraints, neglected to mention Beating France to Botany Bay: The Race to Found Australia is published by Quadrant and available via this link.

In November 2021 at the Sydney Institute, Ms Cameron-Ash had more time to expound on her research and the resulting book, which rewrites the founding of modern Australia by revealing how the French bid to found a Pacific empire was foiled by England’s snap decision to dispatch the First Fleet as a matter of the utmost urgency.

The contestants finally met in Botany Bay, with the French just five days too late. Behind the scenes, American explorers, spies and a future US President made contributions that assisted the winners and prevented the continent becoming a French possession.

Order Beating France to Botany Bay here

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