Explorations No 2 – Dec 1985


JIM DAVIDSON, The idea of France in Victoria

In this wide-ranging essay, the author surveys not only Melbourne society’s enthusiasm for things French but also the occasional emergence of anti-French feelings generated by the survival of traditional British hostility to France as well as the existence of tensions between the Australian colonies and France in the Pacific.

Keywords: Louise Dyer, Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre, J.A. Andrews, A.R. Chisholm, Victorian francophilia

KERRY MURPHY, Léon Caron: his Role in the Musical Life of 19th Century Melbourne

The career of 21-year old French violinist Léon Caron was cut short by the Commune in 1871, when he fled to London. After a few years in America he decided to migrate to Australia. From 1876 until his death in 1905 he worked as a violinist, a conductor, a musical director and a composer, mainly in Melbourne and in Sydney.

Keywords: Léon Caron, Victoria Cantata, 1880, opening of first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, Melbourne Exhibition Building

COLIN THORNTON-SMITH, French Perceptions of the Colony of Victoria – Facts, Fiction and Euphoria

The author has identified over thirty French books on Australia, mostly published in the second half of the nineteenth century. He discusses the difficulty of establishing the genre to which each book belongs, as the borderlines between personal reminiscences or memoirs, fictionalised autobiography and pure fiction are difficult to draw.

Keywords: travel literature, reminiscences, personal accounts, fictionalised autobiography, fiction, nineteenth-century

DIANNE REILLY, Libraries, Archives and Research: a Perspective from the La Trobe Library

An overview of the holdings, and more specifically the French-related holdings, of the La Trobe Library (established in 1965 within the State Library of Victoria for its Australiana and Pacific material). The survey covers not only books but also serials, manuscripts and pictorial material, highlighting some of the more remarkable items held by the Library and emphasising its hope to attract personal papers and family archives, including those of members of migrant communities.

Keywords: La Trobe Library, Count Lionel de Chabrillan, Napoléon III

J.F. HUESTON, Melbourne – French Plastic Surgical Connections

The author describes the early rise of his awareness of French medical science through hearing of conditions named after surgeons such as Dupuytren. His own interest in hand surgery and his admiration for Dupuytren led him to meeting French surgeons and engaging in both personal and scientific exchanges with them. The article identifies the development of international meetings and exchanges.

Keywords: Dupuytren, hand surgery, International Congress of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Association of French Plastic Surgeons

RON BURNETT, Early Australian Film and France: an Intimate Connection

In this essay on the Australian cinema industry’s French connections the author highlights the role of film in the construction of young nation-states’ image of themselves. Recognizing the overwhelming presence of American cinema in contemporary Australia, he argues that Australia was better off than other countries, in part because of the influence of French cinema in the early stages of the history of the Australian film industry.

Keywords: Marius Sestier, Melbourne Cup 1896, Pathé, Gaumont, film production in Australia, film market