Falkiner, Suzanne

The voyage of Rose de Freycinet, the stowaway who defied the French for love.

In 1814, in the aftermath of the French Revolution, nineteen-year-old Rose Pinon married handsome naval officer Louis de Freycinet, fifteen years her senior. Three years later, unable to bear parting from her husband, she dressed in men’s clothing and slipped secretly aboard his ship the day before it sailed on a voyage of scientific discovery to the South Seas. Living for three years as the sole female among 120 men, Rose de Freycinet defied not only bourgeois society’s expectations of a woman in 1817, but also a strict prohibition against women sailing on French naval ships.

From dancing at Governors’ balls in distant colonies, to evading pirates and meeting armed Indigenous warriors on remote Australian shores, to surviving shipwreck in the wintry Falkland Islands, Rose used her quick pen to record her daily experiences, becoming the first woman to circumnavigate the world and leave a record of her journey.

Suzanne Falkiner tells this story of courage, enduring love, curiosity and spirit of adventure, using contemporaneous accounts as well Rose’s own journal and letters.