Mass held at 11am:
Despite  rain over 250 attended the Annual Receveur Mass, celebrated by St. Andrews, Malabar.  Seating was available in a marque sponsored by Randwick City Council and a Sausage Sizzle was provided by the Lions Club with drinks from Friends of the Laperouse Museum.

The Mayor, Councillor Scott Nash and the Consul General for France, Eric Berti, each laid wreaths on the tomb.  Matt Thistlethwaite, the member for Kingsford Smith also attended.

Fr. Chris Shorrock from Melbourne officiated.

WEB  Receveur Grave 2014 MassWEB Verandah 2VerandahWEB ProcessionWEB Procession 2WEB Madeleine Matt Scott EricWEB  Priests at Grave 2WEB  Singers MassWEB GatheringWeb Musicians with Madeleine
MattWEB MonumentWEB Flag and Monument
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Mass held at 8am:

Carleton Mass 3 WEBCarleton Mass 2 WEBCarleton Mass 1  WEB

From Frank Carleton:
Views of the authentic 2014 annual Pere Receveur Commemoration, an event which has occurred every year since 1988 when was commemorated on 14th February the bicentenary of Pere Receveur’s death with the Latin Office of the Dead chanted by a Gregorian schola. In 2014 it was Mass in the ancient traditional rite of the Catholic Church celebrated by Father Sayed Elias of the Society of St. Pius X who also preached the occasional sermon. Fundamentally this annual event commemorates the inception of the Mass in Australia by the two priests of the Laperouse Expedition, Pere Laurent Receveur and the Abbe Jean Andre Mongez. Because an ordonnance of 1765 obliged chaplains in the old French royal navy to say Mass on Sundays and Holy Days except the weather prevented and given the number of Sundays (9) and Holy days (26) according to an eighteenth century Roman Calendar of 1781 between 26th January and 10th March, 1788 it seems from simple calculation that both priests of the Laperouse Expedition said up to 40 Masses including the Requiem presumed to have been said for Pere Receveur, who died on Sunday, February 17th, by his surviving confrere, the Abbe Mongez.

CLAUDE-FRANCOIS-JOSEPH RECEVEUR

“Long, long ago, his grave was made

Beside the headlands grim;

Though blossom fade, he shall not fade;

There is no death for him.”

From the poem “Pére Louis Receveur” by Roderic Quinn, The Crusader, 1st June, 1933.

Born on 25thApril1757 at Noel-Cerneux(Doubs), Receveur was given the name of Father Louis when he entered the order of Friars Minor (founded by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1109).He served in the French Navy, from 1776 to 1780, presumably as a chaplain, but it was also for his knowledge as a geologist, specialising in the study of volcanoes, that he was chosen by Lapérouse and the King as naturalist on board the Astrolabe.  Laperouse found him to be a “naturaliste infatigable”, and wrote:

“The priest Receveur discharges the sacred duties of his office with the greatest dignity and is a man of amicable manner and good sense.  At sea he is occupied in meteorological and astronomical observations and when he is in port attends to everything relating to natural history.”

He arrived in Botany Bay with the Laperouse expedition on 26th January, 1788 and died there three weeks later on 17th February, 1788.

Although the circumstances of Pére Receveur’s death remain somewhat obscure, it has been assumed that he succumbed to wounds received in the confrontation with natives at Tutuila, Samoa, on 11th December, 1787, when Captain de Langle and eleven members of the Laperouse expedition were brutally massacred.

Receveur was buried on the La Perouse headland and his grave marked by a headstone  and a board bearing the inscription:   Hic jacet Le Receveur E.F.F. Minimis Galliae Sacerdos, Physicus in circumnavigatione Mundi Duce De La Peyrouse Ob. 17 Feb. 1788  was nailed to a tree.

On the 4th April, 1788 Lieutenant William Bradley visited the site and recorded in his journal that the grave marker was found to have been torn down by the natives and that the inscription was copied by one of the gentlemen and the same ordered by Governor Phillip to be engraved on a piece of copper and nailed in the place the other had been taken from.  On 1st June, 1788 John White, Surgeon-General on the First Fleet,  visited the site and noted in his diary that the grave was  truly humble indeed, being distinguished only by a common head-stone, struck slightly into the loose earth which covered it.  He also noted that we cut down some trees which stood between that on which the inscription is fixed and the shore, as they prevented persons passing in boats from seeing it….and that  at some future day he(Governor Phillip) intends to have a handsome head-stone placed at the grave.

When Louis Isidore Duperrey’s expedition arrived in New South Wales on the Coquille in 1824, some of the officers went in search of  the Lapérouse campsite and Receveur’s grave.  One of them, Ensign Victor-Charles Lottin recorded meeting the garrison of a corporal and two soldiers and asking them whether they knew of  a French tomb in the neighbourhood of their fort.  The corporal took Lottin and his companions to a place where the earth was raised and covered with grass.  They found no marker so on the trunk of an enormous Eucalyptus which shaded the site, they carved the words: Prés cet arbre reposent les Restes du P. le Receveur visite en Mars 1824.  The tree was later used as a windbreak for a fire, but the stump with the carved inscription was saved due to the efforts of Simeon Pearce.

The Eucalyptus Stump

In 1854 it was decided to hold an Exhibition of Arts and Industry in Sydney as a preliminary to the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1855. Modelled on the Great Exhibition of Industry of All Nations held in London in 1851, the Paris exhibition had been initiated by Louis Napoleon and the colonial version too would imitate this extraordinary collection of objects. For the preliminary exhibition in Sydney, the organisers had selected the Hall of the Australian Museum. Shortly before the opening of the exhibition, the organisers ordered that the tree stump with Receveur’s epitaph be cut down, displayed at the exhibition and then sent to France. There it would be exhibited at the Paris Universal Exhibition.

The inscribed tree stump was seen by the organisers, the public and the press at the time as a symbol of the colonial ties with France. The Illustrated Sydney News proclaimed that the French would be pleased that such an object was preserved with almost sacred respect through so many years out of respect for the intelligence and enterprise of a member of their own nation.

TerryBefore its removal, a water colour depicting the stump in situ beside the tomb of Receveur, with the Lapérouse Monument in the distance, was commissioned from the Sydney artist Frederick Terry. The watercolour was displayed above the stump at the Sydney exhibition. After the Paris exhibition the stump was donated to the La Perouse Museum, then in the Louvre, Paris. The water colour was later taken by Sir William Macarthur where it too was presented to the Louvre, Paris.

 

From 1855 the stump has remained in the collection of the Louvre and the Musée de la Marine Paris. In 1988 the stump along with a collection of objects from the Lapérouse expedition were presented to the Lapérouse Museum as part of France’s gift to the Australian people for Australia’s bicentennial.  In 2008, the stump, along with the Altar Stone from the Boussole, were returned to the Musée de la Marine Paris by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service for an exhibition on Lapérouse.  Replicas of the items were not made before shipment and since the exhibition both the Tree Trunk and Altar Stone have remained in Paris.

The Brass Replica

WEB Tree Stump Artisttree trunkIn 2012, at the request of the Friends of the Lapérouse Museum, Randwick City Council commissioned a bronze replica of the original tree stump.  The work was undertaken by the Fonderie Lauragaise under the direction of Monsieur and Madame Ramon.

On 13 November , 2012, the spectacular operation of casting the eucalyptus tree trunk took place. The preparation of the double-walled mould made of graphite, resistant to molten metal at 1200o, is rather complex. A first impression is taken in élastomère and is then transferred to the mould with a vessel inside which contains a complex pipe system, to ensure a good dispersal of the bronze and the progressive elimination of air and burning gases. The mould itself is heated to 800o in  an autoclave to avoid any thermal shock. This operation, which includes rapid and dangerous handling manoeuvres is critical. In case of serious imperfections, there is nothing to do but to make another mould and a new casting.

 

After cooling, removal of the pipe system and the interior and exterior moulds, and repair of slight imperfections, the process remains a long job, in several stages, a little like that of leather [tanning] which changes a rough unattractive material into a product that is pleasant to look at and to touch, true to the original.

In April 2013, the bronze trunk was sent by diplomatic post to Australia, courtesy of the French Ambassador,  Stéphane Romatet.  It arrived at the Laperouse Museum on the 24th.

cggummiferaThe Story of the Eucalyptus- a tree of many names

 

The tree was probably a Corymbia gummifera,  named gummifera for the red resin it exudes.  Material from a specimen was first collected in Botany Bay by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander on the 1770 Cook Expedition, and described in 1788 by German botanist Joseph Gaertner as Metrosideros gummifera.  On Cook’s third expedition in 1777, botanist David Nelson collected a eucalypt on Bruny Island. This was later described by French botanist Charles Louis L’Héritier who named the genus Eucalyptus, referencing the operculum of the flower bud – from the Greek eu and calyptos, meaning well covered.

BloodwoodJames Smith described the Botany Bay tree as Eucalyptus corymbosa  in his 1793, A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland French botanist, René Louiche Desfontaines recorded it as  Eucalyptus oppositifolia  in 1804. Swiss botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle, in 1828 described it as Eucalyptus purpurascens var. petiolaris.   The Director of the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Joseph Maiden in his revision of the genus in 1920 called it Eucalyptus longifolia;   the species name referenced the length of the leaf.  Gaetner’s original species name of  gummifera was recognised in 1925 by Swiss botanist Bénédict Pierre Georges Hochreutiner.  It remained as Eucalyptus gummifera until 1995 when the Eucalyptus genus was split into three genera – Eucalyptus, Angophora and Corymbia –  by botanists Lawrie Johnson and Ken Hill from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

(Botanical Illustration by Western Australian artist Edward William Minchen, appeared in Joseph Maiden’s The Flowering Plants and Ferns of NSW).

Notes:

1.  For more about Pére Receveur see Edward Duyker’s Pére Receveur :  Franciscan, Scientist and Voyager with Lapérouse.

2.  Information regarding species provided by Doug Benson, Ecologist and Honorary Research Associate with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

3.  Research on the Botany of Botany Bay coordinated by Karen Wilson, Senior Research Scientist, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. 

WEB Henry Tom Will and Madeline
WEB Musicians 2 with Consul General
WEB At grave WEB Procession back

The Annual Receveur Mass, hosted by St Andrews, Malabar, was celebrated today with over 300 in attendance. Seating was available in a marque sponsored by Randwick City Council. A Sausage Sizzle was provided by the Lions Club and drinks from Friends of the Laperouse Museum.

The Consul-General, Mr Eric Berti and the local state MP, the Hon. Michael Daley each laid wreaths on the tomb.  (More photographs)

Invitation

The Père Receveur Mass is hosted each year by the St. Andrews Catholic Church  of Malabar to honour the memory of Père Receveur who died at Botany Bay in 1788 during the visit of the Laperouse Expedition.

It is my pleasure to extend to all members and their guests an invitation to attend this very special occasion to be held at the front of the Laperouse Museum commencing at 11.00 am sharp. Although a marquee and seating will be provided you may wish to bring your own folding chair and ensure you slip, slop, slap and dress for the conditions on the day. The Friends are assisting on the day and will be manning a table with free water, cordial, etc adjacent to the marquee. Seaside Lions Club will provide a sausage sizzle.

Dr. William Land AM, President, Friends of the Laperouse Museum

Enquirieslaperousemuseum@hotmail.com

Due to limited parking at La Perouse it is advisable to arrive at least half an hour before the event.

A replica of the Altar Stone used to celebrate the first Catholic mass in Australia was unveiled by Randwick City Mayor Councillor Tony Bowen at the Laperouse Museum today. The Altar Stone was blessed by Franciscan Father Paul Ghanem. This was followed by lunch sponsored by Randwick City Council and provided by the Friends of the Laperouse Museum.
The Altar Stone was commissioned by Randwick City Council and will be on permanent loan to the Friends of Laperouse Museum to be exhibited at the Museum. (more…)

The Annual Receveur Mass, hosted by St Andrews, Malabar, was celebrated today with over 250 in attendance.  Seating was available in a marque sponsored by Randwick City Council.  A Sausage Sizzle was provided by the Lions Club and drinks from  Friends of the Laperouse Museum.

The Mayor Councillor Scott Nash and the local state MP, the Hon. Michael Daley each laid wreaths on the tomb.

Fr. Chris Shorrock from Melbourne officiated.  Fr Chris is a member of the General Custody of Our Lady Help of Christians, Australia of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual.  In 1987 he gained a Bachelor of Theology (B.Theol.), from the Melbourne College of Divinity and in 1989 he completed a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) at the Pontifical Faculty of St. Bonaventure, Rome. In 2008 he received his Doctor of Theology (D.Theol.) from the Melbourne College of Divinity.  Publications : 1985 – Life of St. Joseph of Cupertino, Australian Catholic Truth Society (32pp) 1992 – “Mary in the Writings of St. Francis of Assisi” – Franciscan Documentation (India) 1995 – 2007, Editor and contributor, The Little Troubadour, Quarterly Publication of Order of Friars Minor Conventual, Australia. 2007 to present: Lecturer in Franciscan Studies and Church History, Catholic Theological College, Melbourne, Australia.

Photos:  Top – Fr Shorrock on verandah; Mayor of Randwick Mr Scott Nash with (L) Mr Tony Gentile Secretary of the Friends of Laperouse Museum and (R) President Dr Bill Land; Friends Refreshments Table; Second Row: – Fr Jan and Musicians; Communion; Procession with Laperouse Monument in background; Third Row – Procession and Wreath Laying at Tomb; Bottom Row – Musicians at Gravesite.
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Snapped today heritage consultant renovating the Receveur Tomb against the backdrop of the Loop renovations.

UPDATE:  July 19:

Receveur  Grave Conservation Works

 Funding:  Consulat Général de France en Australie, Sydney

 Conservators:  Lillico-Thomspon Conservation

 Commissioned by: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

To date a number of different paint colours have been uncovered.     Some of the original lettering (c. 1827) has been revealed.  The lettering was filled in when the new bronze cross was erected in 1930.   The original sandstone surface appears to be in a stable state. Further investigation will be required before a decision can be made on repainting or leaving the sandstone exposed.

 

 

 

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