Explorations – No 15 Dec 1993


ROGER LONDON, French Australia Relations in the Cold War

The author was French Consul in Melbourne These are reminiscences of his experiences in Melbourne during the French nuclear tests in the Pacific in the early nineteen-seventies, framed by references to the exploration of the Australian continent by Saint-Allouarn, Marion Dufresne, Lapérouse, d’Entrecasteaux, Baudin and Dumont d’Urville, and his own years of service at Washington DC.

Keywords: French nuclear tests in the Pacific, bans, French-Australian diplomatic relations, Ambassador Gabriel Van Laethem

COLETTE REDDIN, An Historic Comment on the House in Robe Street

The author, a long-time supporter and office bearer of the Alliance Française de Victoria and initiator of the ‘Maison de France Appeal’ which collected funds for the purchase of permanent accommodation for the Alliance, recalls French memories of the house at 17 Robe Street in St Kilda, a house that was to become the main seat of the Melbourne Alliance Française. Calling on her personal recollections, she evokes her acquaintance with this same house which was used by the French Naval Attaché, Commandant André Kervella, as his residence and office in 1944 and 1945 (until the end of war in the Pacific).

Keywords: War in the Pacific, French Military Mission in Australia, Alliance Française de Melbourne, French Legation in Canberra, André Kervella

IVAN BARKO, Thirty-Four Years in French Studies — Reminiscences and Reflections

After briefly describing his background, the author recalls his arrival in Australia and the beginnings of his academic career. He recounts the origin of his vocation and his first contacts with Australians and with French scholars in Australian universities.

Keywords: Léon Tauman, Monash University, University of Sydney, Ron Jackson, Roger Laufer, changes to syllabi in French, French nuclear tests in the Pacific

STEPHEN ALOMES, Beyond a Cloistered Europe: Universities and the French rediscovery of Australia

This article deals with the growing interest of French universities in Australian studies. The author analyses the emergence of courses in Australian studies in some French universities. Although these ‘few pockets of Australian studies’ are, in Professor Xavier Pons’ words, ‘islands in the ocean’, and although they are dependent on the personal involvement of individual scholars, they are not unrelated to a broader interest by the French in Australian culture and society.

Keywords: Commonwealth literature, ‘Australia and Continental Europe’ Conference (Paris 1982), Xavier Pons, multiculturalism, post-colonialism, Jean-Paul Delamotte, Australia France Foundation, French-Australian Research Centre at the University of NSW, Institute for the Study of French-Australian Relations (ISFAR)

MICHAEL TAPER, The Snows of Yesteryear Fell in Adelaide

In these personal reminiscences the author recalls his friendship at school in Newcastle with Tony Wilson, a future French scholar and diplomat, and Tony Tripp, a future theatrical designer. Shortly after Tony Wilson’s premature death, the author (having completed a university French course himself), meets one of Wilson’s French friends, Jean-Marie Laxenaire, with whom he develops a close association. The second part of the article, written shortly before its publication, describes the author’s fortuitous encounter at Adelaide Airport with Colin and Carol Nettelbeck, who had been his friends in the early nineteen-sixties in Paris. The two stories come together a few weeks later in Melbourne where the Nettelbecks, the Tapers and the Tripps reside.

Keywords: Tony Wilson, Tony Tripp, Jean-Marie Laxenaire, Colin Nettelbeck, Paris in the early 1960s, the Sorbonne.


Marc Serge Riviere & Thuy Huynh Einam, editors and translators, Any Port in a Storm: From Provence to Australia: Rolland’s Journal of the Voyage of La Coquille (1822-1825), reviewed by Edward Duyker

Margaret de Mestre, in collaboration with Neville de Mestre, Prosper de Mestre in Australia, reviewed by Wallace Kirsop