This is ‘The Lookout’ at Victoria Settlement: a beautiful but harsh landscape in far Northern Territory, where the British made their third attempt to settle the Top End.

Sadly, it quickly became known as ‘The Forsaken Settlement’, as nearly every single person who lived here died – though that didn’t stop the English from trying to settle the area again… and again. (Eventually they succeeded nearby, with Darwin. Fifth time lucky.)

This particular spot was armed by a rifleman, who was ordered to keep an eye out for any intruding boats – but only one boat ever visited, and it wasn’t from a competing empire looking to conquer northern Australia.

Instead it was a French scientific expedition, who were not only invited to shore, but shown a very good time.

We know they got on well because researchers who have since dug up the area have found a collection of English rum and French champagne bottles… Empty, of course.


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