Papillon in French means butterfly and 1854 is the year this historical novel commences.
The word BUTTERFLY denotes in Aboriginal – New Life. Represents – Freedom, Change, Rebirth. Profound changes of the Soul.
Cultural myth and lore: honour to the butterfly as a symbol of transformation due to its impressive process of metamorphosis.
Set at a time when codes of honour were mainly adhered to: Matthew Flinders, as Captain of the ‘Investigator’, met at sea, the French national ship ‘Le Geographe’, under the command of Captain Nicolas Baudin. It was reported that Baudin’s First Lieutenant, Freycinet observed: “If we had not been kept so long picking up shells and catching butterflies at Van Diemen’s Land, Terre Australes could have been French.”
Flinders, faithful to the code of explorers, retained Baudin’s nomenclature from Encounter Bay to Western Port.