A sensational episode in Australasian history that combined science, subterfuge, and scandal.
The incredible, previously untold story of Australia’s role in the creation of the world-famous Pasteur Institute.
In 1887, the desperate NSW Government of Sir Henry Parkes advertised an international competition for a biological cure for the rabbit plague then ravaging the farms of Australia and New Zealand. The competition, with a prize equivalent to $10 million today, would attract 1500 entries.
In Paris, famous microbiologist Dr Louis Pasteur, struggling to raise the funds to open his prestigious Pasteur Institute, saw the Australasian rabbit competition as the answer to his financial prayers. For Pasteur was convinced he had the biological remedy to the rabbit plague.
To Australia came Pasteur's dashing 25-year-old nephew, Adrien Loir, sent to prove Pasteur's remedy and return home within six weeks with the prize money. But Pasteur had not reckoned on sabotage by his greatest scientific rival, or on the self-interest of the competition's Australian and New Zealand judges, or the private agendas of local politicians. Young Loir, determined not to fail his uncle, was in for the fight of his life.
Pasteur's Gambit, featuring a cast of characters ranging from great names in science to legendary French actress Sarah Bernhardt and a fast-talking Sydney larrikin, is the previously untold true story of an amazing episode in both scientific and national history.